ANNIE VARGHESE Vs. LABOUR COURT
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) Can the legal heirs of a deceased employer be impleaded in proceedings under S.33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act As far as the impleadment of the legal heirs of the employee is concerned, the question is no more res integra. In Gwalior Rayons, Mavoor v. Labour Court ( 1978 (2) LLJ 188 ) it has been held that on the death of a workman the Labour Court does not cease to exercise jurisdiction as benefits due to the deceased workman can be realised by his legal heirs. It was also held that death of the workman would be a factor in moulding the relief in such a case. In Rameshwar Manjhi v. Management of Sangramgarh Colliery ( AIR 1994 SC 1176 ) the Supreme Court again considered the issue and held that proceedings do not abate by the death of the workman and the Tribunal does not become functus officio.
(2.) S.10(8) of the Industrial Disputes Act read as follows: -
"10(8). No proceedings pending before a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal in relation to an industrial dispute shall lapse merely by reason of the death of any of the parties to the dispute being a workman, and such Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal shall complete such proceedings and submit its award to the appropriate Government."
S.18(3)(b) and (c) also make the position clear, which read as follows: -
"18(3). A settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings under this Act or an arbitration award in a case where a notification has been issued under sub-s.(3A) of S.10A or an award of a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal which has become enforceable shall be binding on -
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(b) all other parties summoned to appear in the proceedings as parties to the dispute, unless the Board, Arbitrator, Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, as the case may be, records the opinion that they were so summoned without proper cause;
(c) where a party referred to in Cl.(a) or (b) is an employer, his heirs, successors or assigns in respect of the establishment to which the dispute relates."
(3.) S.33C(2) confers jurisdiction on the Labour Court to decide the question "as to the amount of money due or as to the amount at which such benefits should be computed". Certainly the amount of money or benefit due is from the employer. Since an award or a settlement is binding on an employer, his heirs, successors or assignees in respect of the establishment to which the dispute relates, necessarily the same meaning has to be applied or extended in the case of a procedure under S.33C(2) also, in respect of the expression "employer" as otherwise it would delay justice and thereby deny justice. It is significant to note that under S.33C(3) the Labour Court is competent to appoint a Commissioner and the Court is to determine the amount of consideration of the report of the Commissioner and "other circumstances of the case".;
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