NANI GOPAL SARKAR AND Vs. HEAVY ENGINEERING CORPN LIMITED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PATNA)
NANI GOPAL SARKAR
HEAVY ENGINEERING CORPN. LIMITED, RANCHI
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(1.)SPECIAL leave granted.
(2.)THE appellants have filed this appeal against the judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Patna, Ranchi Bench dated 6/09/1988. THE appellants had approached this Court under Art. 32 of the Constitution of India for redressing their grievances but on 27/07/1986 the Writ Petition was withdrawn with liberty to approach the High Court. THE appellants thereupon filed a Writ Petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India in the High Court praying for a writ of mandamus directing the Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited (HEC) and its officers to forthwith implement the recommendations of Dr. Binad Kumar and to implement the Circular No. 53/85 dated 14th Oct., 1985 and to prohibit them from giving effect to orders contained in Annexures 6 to 10 and to promote the appellants to the posts of Junior Executives, they, however did, not press their prayer for quashing Annexures 6 to 8 by which the accountants had been promoted to the posts of Junior Executives.
Briefly stated the relevant facts are that in view of certain demands of the employees of the HEC having not been met, they went on strike on 9/08/1984 which gave rise to an industrial dispute. In order to resolve the dispute, the Labour Commissioner called a joint meeting of the unions of the workers and the management and a settlement was arrived at between the parties on 29/08/1984. Under the settlement parties agreed to refer the disputes to an expert, with a further agreement that his decision would be binding on both the parties, and promotions would be on. the basis of his recommendations. Dr. Binod Kumar, a Professor of Behavioural Sciences, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta was agreed upon by both the parties to give the award. Dr. Binod Kumar submitted his report on 27/07/1985 and the management accepted the recommendations and issued Circular No. 53 / 85 dated 14/10/1985 (Annexure 5) which reads as under :
"In view of the agreement arrived at between the HEC Trade Union Abhiyan Samiti and HEC management on 29/08/1984, wherein it was agreed that the recommendations of Dr. Binod Kumar shall be binding on both parties, and all future promotions shall be on the basis of the same. Accordingly, the management has accepted report of Dr. Binod Kumar.
Accordingly all employees workmen (non-executives) whose promotion is due in the year 1985, as per recommendation of Dr. Binod Kumar's report, will be promoted on or before 31/12/1985."
Orders were issued on 30/12/1985 promoting all the accountants to the posts of Junior Executives (Officer) in the grade of Rs. 1075-50-1375-1795 in compliance of the report given by Dr. Binod Kumar. But so far as the appellants are concerned who were working as Office Superintendents or Personal Assistants were promoted to the posts of Asstt. Personnel Officers and Private Secretaries respectively in the grade of Rs, 790-30-949-34-1289. The. appellants' grievance has been that the Management has acted contrary to the report of Dr. Binod Kumar, in refusing to promote the appellants as Junior Executives as was done in the case of accountants.
(3.)THE High Court dismissed the writ petition, holding that no Writ of Mandamus could be issued to the respondents as the Award did not comply and fulfil the procedure prescribed under S. 10A of the Industrial Disputes Act and the same being void no legal right could accrue to the appellants under the Award. THE High Court in our opinion committed error in taking the above view inasmuch as the respondents themselves had not taken the stand that such Award was not binding on them or that they did not want to enforce the same. On the contrary the stand taken by the respondents was that recommendations of Dr. Binod Kumar shall be binding on both the parties and in compliance to the said Award they had issued orders on 30/12/1985 and had given relief to all the employees. Even before us Learned counsel for both the parties made their submissions on the basis that the report/award given by Dr. Binod Kumar was binding on, them and the dispute was only with regard to its proper implementation. THE question whether the Award is void or that it is not enforceable has not been canvassed before us. In the circumstances, we proceed on the assumption that the Award is binding on the parties. THE question thus arises whether the management has acted contrary to the Award in refusing to promote the appellants to the Junior Executive posts.
In order to understand the grievance raised by the appellants we would refer to the following observations made by Dr. Binod Kumar, in the Award under the heading
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
"There was, however, no agreement among them with regard to the proposed promotion policy, though they wholeheartedly welcomed this endeavour that a clear cut promotion policy be framed.
Though almost all the non executives have expressed their feelings against need based promotions, and suggested time bound promotion, there were divergent views about the number of years one should work in a particular post. Some suggested three years and others four years.
There was also no agreement among them with regard to the role of qualifications in the overall promotion policy, while the workers rejected the concept of promotion based on qualifications, the degree / diploma holders demanded recognition of qualifications and weightage to be given to the diploma holders., in matters of promotions. To some extent the supervisors also opposed the concept of qualification. The Supervisors Association was of the view that there is discrimination between one discipline, i.e. Finance and other discipline i.e. Administration & Personnel on the ground that in the finance discipline there is only one supervisory cadre, on the other there are two supervisory cadres in other disciplines. In order to remove this discrimination they suggested only one Supervisory cadre."
"since the inception recruitment procedure has not been scientific. As my terms of reference promotion policy, I would not elaborate the recruitment procedure except this that people were recruited centrally and placed in different units. Thus, if one goes with the need based promotion system, it may happen that a person recruited along with another will find himself left out while his batch people get promoted in other plants. By the time the person reaches a level when he can be on centralised seniority list he may find even his juniors above him. In course of my discussions several such cases came to my notice. This naturally is highly demoralising and demotivating."
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