Decided on March 14,2002

Nitinkumar Nathalal Joshi And Ors. Appellant
Oil And Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. And Ors. Respondents


K. G. Balakrishnan, J. - (1.)Leave granted.
(2.)The judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad in Letters Patent Appeal No. 395 of 1999 is challenged before us. The appellants alleged that they were workmen employed as contract labourers in the capacity of Boiler Operators through the Contractor, Ahmedabad Electricity Co. Limited. According to these appellant-workmen, they were employed on contract labour with the first respondent-principal employer, namely, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (hereinafter being called as "ONGC Limited"). Consequent upon the notification dated 8-9-1994 under S. 10(1) of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 by the Central Government, the contract labour in the posts of Boiler Operators, Attendants, Helpers and Peons was prohibited and these appellants claimed that they should be treated as the employees of the first respondent. They filed a writ petition before the High Court of Gujarat and learned single Judge held that these appellants were persons engaged for attending different operations of the boiler in the boiler house of ONGC Ltd. through the Contractor, which was clearly in breach of the provisions of the Act. It was held that these appellants must be deemed to be performing duties directly under the first respondent-ONGC Limited and they must be given the terms of service as applicable to other employees of ONGC Limited with effect from the date of notification.
(3.)The judgment of the learned single Judge was challenged before the Division Bench and the Division Bench was of the view that there were some disputed questions of fact and an investigation into facts regarding service conditions of contract labour was necessary before granting them the relief of direct employment with the principal employer and that the proceedings under Art. 226 of the Constitution were not appropriate, it also held that there should be an investigation by the Industrial Tribunal and these appellants were directed to approach the Conciliation Officer of the concerned area and further direction was given to the Conciliation Officer to complete the conciliation proceedings within three months and if the dispute survived, the matter be referred to the Industrial Tribunal under S. 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act and the Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court to take a final decision in the matter within a period of four months thereafter. These directions are challenged before us.

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