BHAGWAN SAHAI TODWAL Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Bhagwan Sahai Todwal
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
Referred Judgements :-
ISHAQ MOHD. VS. JAIPUR METALS AND ELECTRICALS LTD.
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(1.)THE appellant was an employee of M/s. Jaipur Metals and Electricals Limited, Jaipur. The Company was declared to be a relief undertaking in
exercise of the power conferred on the State Govt. by S. 3 of the
Rajasthan Relief Undertakings (Special Provision) Act, 1961 (hereinafter
"the 1961 Act", for short). The effect of the notification is that so long as an
undertaking remains a relief undertaking, the provisions of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947 cease to apply to the undertaking. The Company was in
financial difficulty and therefore, services of several employees, who were
found to be surplus, were dispensed with by delivering them one month's
salary by way of compensation. The petitioner was one such employee. He
was held to be surplus on 24/9/1983.
(2.)LAYING challenge to the order dispensing with the services of the petitioner, the Workers' Union filed a writ petition registered as C.W.P. No.2017 of 1983, which was heard and disposed of by a learned Single Judge of
that Court vide the decision dtd 6/3/1984. The reliefs sought for in the
petition were: (i) declaring S. 4 of the 1961 Act as ultra vires the
Constitution; (ii) declaring the Notification dtd. 16/12/1982, whereby the
Company was declared a relief undertaking, to be ultra vires the Constitution;
and (iii) to declare and set aside the order dispensing with the services of the
employees as illegal and invalid in view of the provisions of Chapter V-A of
the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. On all the grounds the learned Single
Judge held against the petitioner. The petitioner was held not entitled to any
of the reliefs prayed for. S. 4 of the 1961 Act and the notification dtd.
16/12/1982 were held to be intra vires the Constitution. The validity of the order dtd. 24/9/1983 dispensing with the services of the petitioner was
refused to be gone into as the validity was sought to be decided by the
petitioner on the touchstone of Chapter V-A of the Industrial Disputes Act,
1947, which was inapplicable to the employer Company by virtue of its being a relief undertaking.
Subsequently, the petitioner filed another petition of his own being C.W.P. No. 1767 of 1985. Though a copy of the writ petition is not available in
the paper-book, however, the learned counsel for the petitioner has made us
available for perusal the office copy thereof retained in the counsel's brief.
Having carefully perused the relief sought for in the writ petition, we find
that the reliefs now sought for are identical with those as were sought for in
the earlier writ petition. This time too the petitioner has sought for annulment
of the notification declaring the employer Company as relief undertaking and
annulling and avoiding the order dtd. 24/9/1983 by which he was declared
surplus. The learned Single Judge held the subsequent petition to be barred
by the principle of res judicata. The view has been upheld in writ appeal.
Feeling aggrieved, this appeal has been filed by special leave.
(3.)WE have heard the learned counsel for the parties. It was vehemently submitted by the learned counsel for the appellant that the Workers' Union
had represented the case of about sixteen employees in the earlier writ
petition and they were all denied the relief consequent upon the writ petition
having been dismissed on 6/3/1984. Some of the employees filed fresh
petitions, which were heard and decided on merits by the Division Bench of
the High Court on 5/2/1988. Therein the plea of res judicata was held to be
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