ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA LTD Vs. ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA SERVICE ENGINEERS UNION
LAWS(SC)-2006-8-12
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
Decided on August 21,2006

ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
ELECTRONICS CORPORATION OF INDIA SERVICE ENGINEERS UNION Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Arijit Pasayat, J. - (1.)Challenge in this appeal is to the order passed by a learned single Judge of the Bombay High Court allowing a Writ Petition filed by the respondent.
(2.)The respondent filed a Writ Petition before the High Court challenging the award dated 18th August, 1995 passed by the Industrial Tribunal, Bombay (in short the Tribunal) rejecting the reference made to it by the Government of Maharashtra under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the Act) on the ground that the respondent-Union was not able to establish master and servant relationship between the alleged workmen represented by the Union and the present appellant (hereinafter referred to as the Company). The entire dispute arose on account of the services of the alleged workmen represented by the Union, being terminated.
(3.)Stand of the Union in a nutshell is as follows: The Reference was in respect of about 30 workmen involved in the dispute. The Union represents the employees who are called "Retainers" by the Company. These employees sought permanent absorption and other reliefs from the Company. The Company is engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling and servicing of electronic items, mainly Televisions. Between the years 1972 and 1978, the Company engaged these 30 persons as Technicians initially on a contract basis for a period of four years. Some of these Technicians were then made permanent as either Tradesmen or Scientific Assistants or Assistant Technical Officers. These 30 employees obtained employment after responding to an advertisement issued by the Company for engaging Service Engineers on retainer basis. The employees were selected pursuant to a written test and oral interview. After selection, they were required to undergo practical training which was imparted by the Company for a period of three months. After the training period was completed, contracts were entered into between the Company and each of these 30 employees. According to them, the contract which labels each of them as "Retainer" was nothing but a paper arrangement between themselves and the Company who did not want to implement certain labour laws. Although the service contracts were treated as individual contracts, the Union has averred that the workmen were under the supervision of the Company and no independent decision could be taken by these employees. The employees raised a demand for permanent absorption in employment and for all other service conditions which were applicable to other employees. As this was not granted by the Company, the Union approached the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short the Constitution) by filing Writ Petition No.2689 of 1983. This petition was dismissed as the petitioner had an alternate remedy by approaching the machinery provided under the Act. Accordingly, the Union raised a dispute against the Company which was referred for adjudication by the Tribunal. The dispute pertained to the claim of regularization as well as certain other demands including wage revision made by the Union on behalf of the employees.


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