GODAVARI SUGAR MILLS LTD Vs. D K WORLIKAR
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
GODAVARI SUGAR MILLS LIMITED,FORT BOMBAY
Click here to view full judgement.
Gajendragadkar, J. -
(1.)This appeal by special leave raises a short question about the construction of the notification No. 1131-46 issued by the Government of Bombay on October 4, 1952, under S. 2(4) of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act XI of 1947 (hereinafter called the Act). The respondent, who was a stenographer employed by the appellant, the Godavari Sugar Mills Ltd., at its head office in Bombay was dismissed by the appellant on April 22, 1955. He had been working as a stenographer for some years past on a salary of Rs. 135/- plus Rs. 27/- as dearness allowance. He was charged with having committed acts of disobedience and insubordination, and after a proper enquiry where he was given an opportunity to defend himself, he was found guilty of the alleged misconduct; that is why his services were terminated; that is the appellant's case.
(2.)The respondent challenged the legality and propriety of his dismissal by an application before the Labour Court at Bombay; he purported to make this application under S. 42 (4) read with S. 78 (1) (a) (i) and (iii) of the Act. The appellant in reply challenged the competence of the application on the ground that the Act did not apply to the respondent's case, and so the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to entertain it. Both the parties agreed that the question of jurisdiction thus raised by the appellant should be tried as a preliminary issue; and so the Labour Court considered the said objection and upheld it. It held that the notification in question on which the respondent relied did not apply to the head office of the appellant at Bombay; accordingly the Labour Court dismissed the respondent's application. The respondent challenged the correctness of this decision by preferring an appeal before the Industrial Court. His appeal, however, failed since the Industrial Court agreed with the Labour Court in holding that the notification did not apply to the head office of the appellant The matter was then taken by the respondent before the Labour Appellate Tribunal and this time the respondent succeeded, the Labour Appellate Tribunal having held that the notification applied to the head office and the respondent was entitled to claim the benefit of the provisions of the Act. On this finding the Labour Appellate Tribunal set aside the order passed by the courts below and remanded the case to the Labour Court for disposal on the merits in accordance with law. It is this order which has given rise to the present appeal; and the only question which it raises for our decision is whether the notification in question applies to the head office of the appellant at Bombay.
(3.)The Act has been passed by the Bombay Legislature in order to regulate relations of employers and employees, to make provision for settlement of industrial disputes and to provide for certain other purposes. It has made elaborate provisions in order to carry out its object, and has conferred some benefits on the employees in addition to those which have been conferred on them by the Central Industrial Disputes Act XIV of 1947. Under S. 42(4) of the Act, for instance, an employee desiring a change in respect of any order passed by the employer under standing orders can make an application to the Labour Court in that behalf subject to the proviso which it is unnecessary to set out. Section 78 (1) (a) (iii) requires the Labour court to decide whether any change made by an employer or desired by an employee should be made. An order of dismissal passed by an employer can, therefore, be challenged by the employee directly by an application before the Labour Court under the Act, whereas under the Central Act a complaint against wrongful dismissal can become an industrial dispute only if it is sponsored by the relevant union or taken up by a group of employees and is referred to the industrial tribunal for adjudication under S. 10 of the Act. Since the respondent claims a special benefit under the Act he contends that his case falls under the notification. It is common ground that if the notification applies to the case of the respondent the application made by him to the Labour Court would be competent and would have to be considered on the merits; on the other hand, if the said notification does not apply then the application is incompetent and must be dismissed in limine on that ground.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.