ROHTAS SUGAR LIMITED Vs. MAZDOOR SEVA SANGH
LAWS(SC)-1960-2-14
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
Decided on February 12,1960

ROHTAS SUGAR LIMITED Appellant
VERSUS
MAZDOOR SEVA SANGH Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

VISAKHAPATNAM URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VS. KEMBURI GOWRI NAIDU [LAWS(APH)-2002-7-106] [REFERRED TO]
VISAKHAPATNAM URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY VS. PATNANA SEETHARAMANJANEYULU [LAWS(APH)-2003-12-18] [REFERRED TO]
ACHCHELAL S/O LALLULAL LOHAR VS. JANPADA SABHA [LAWS(MPH)-1962-9-12] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

Das Gupta, J. - (1.)These appeals are against the order of the Labour Appellate Tribunal of India at Dhanbad by which the Labour Appellate Tribunal confirmed the order of the Industrial Tribunal awarding a retaining allowance to unskilled workmen at a rate of 5 percent of the basic wages for the period of the off season of numerous sugar industries in Bihar. The appellants - companies, the employees, in these sugar industries also challenge the correctness of the order made by the Industrial Tribunal and confirmed by the Labour Appellate Tribunal awarding the workmen attending the proceedings before the Industrial Tribunal, wages, travelling allowance and halting allowance and further directing that the workmen attending these proceedings would be treated on special leave with pay for the period of such attendance.
(2.)As regards these orders the appellants contend that they run counter to the pronouncements of this Court in Punjab National Bank Ltd. vs. Sri Ram Kanwar, Industrial Tribunal, Delhi, (1957) SCR 220 . This contention, we are bound to say, is correct. Whatever might have been said in support of the view taken by the Tribunals in ordering payment of these allowances and of granting special leave to workmen attending proceedings of necessity, if the question was res integra we are bound by the authority of Punjab National Bank's Case, (supra), to hold that no such allowances are payable and no such order granting leave may be made. The order of the Tribunals below allowing travelling allowance and halting allowance and special leave to workmen attending proceedings of necessity, must therefore be set aside. Mr. Sinha, learned counsel for the appellants, however, has undertaken on their behalf that no restitution will be claimed of allowances which have already been paid.
(3.)This brings us to the main question in controversy in these appeals. That question is whether retaining allowance should be paid to unskilled workers in these industries during the off season. Disputes over this question have been going on for many years and committee after committee has wrestled with the problem for arriving at a formula acceptable to both employers and labourers but in vain. In 1950 a reference was ultimately made to Mr. Justice B. P. Sinha (as he then was) as regards these disputes about retaining allowance. The award made by him provided for retaining allowance to skilled and semi-skilled workmen but none to unskilled workmen. Before the Appellate Tribunal who heard the appeal against that award the labourers and employers came to an agreement that no retaining allowance would be payable to the unskilled workmen. This award was in operation for a period of two years but was thereafter determined by notice given by workmen followed up by similar notice by employers. The reference out of which the present appeals arise included several other matters besides retaining allowance to seasonal employees, but with those we are no longer concerned in these appeals. Nor are we concerned with the question of retaining allowance to skilled and semi-skilled workmen as that part of the award was not disputed by the present appellants.
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