MANAGEMENT OF RAJENDRA MILLS LIMITED IN C AS NOS 295 AND 296 OF 58 MANAGEMENT OF JAWAHAR MILLS LIMITED IN C A NO 294 OF 58 Vs. THEIR WORKMEN:THEIR WORKMEN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
MANAGEMENT OF RAJENDRA MILLS LIMITED,MANAGEMENT OF JAWAHAR MILLS LIMITED
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(1.)(1) whether the appellate Tribunal was justified in disallowing any amount on account of rehabilitation costs in the calculation of the available surplus and (2) even assuming the available surplus to have been correctly determined by the Appellate Tribunal whether the distribution thereof was fair. In all these three cases the Industrial Tribunal had allowed considerable sums on account of rehabilitation costs in consequence of the deduction of which as prior charges no available surplus remained for distribution of any further amount as bonus. The Appellate Tribunal being of opinion that a claim for rehabilitation costs has to be established by proper evidence as regards the several factors which enter into the computation of such costs held that as the employer in each of these cases had failed to adduce evidence on the point nothing could be allowed on account of rehabilitation costs in addition to what was already deductible as depreciation charges. The position in law is now well settled by a series of decisions of this Court that the burden of proving what amount, if any, should be allowed as rehabilitation costs is on the employer and this burden has to be discharged by adducing proper evidence and giving the other party an opportunity to test the correctness of the evidence by cross-examination. Admittedly that was not done in any of these cases. The mere fact that certain balance-sheets were placed on the record is of no assistance to the employer in discharging the burden. We must hold therefore that the Appellate Tribunal was right in its view that in the absence of proper evidence the claim for any deduction on account of rehabilitation costs must be rejected.
(2.)This brings us to the question of distribution of the available surplus. On this matter it is necessary to consider the three appeals separately.
Civil Appeal No. 294 of 1958 :
(3.)In Appeal No. 294 of 1958 which is by the management of Jawahar Mills Ltd., the amount that remained available for distribution was admittedly Rs. 1,10,573; out of this a sum of Rs. 64,901 inclusive of the amount voluntarily paid goes to the share of workmen as a result of the Labour Appellate Tribunal's award. This leaves to the employer a sum of Rs. 45,672 and on adding the amount available on income-tax rebate in respect of the bonus paid i.e. a sum of Rs. 28,394, the management's share for the shareholders as well as the industry comes to Rs. 74,066. On behalf of the appellant it is contended that the Company carries a considerable debenture loan in respect of which a sum of Rs. 40,000 was provided for, in the debenture redemption fund. It is rightly urged that the fact that provision has to be made for redeeming the debenture should properly be taken into account when distributing the available surplus between workmen and management. The Labour Appellate Tribunal has taken no account of this fact.
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