CHACKO A. V. Vs. LABOUR COURT
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Chacko A. V.
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(1.) The question for consideration was whether an application for relief" under S.33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act (hereinafter referred to as. 'the Act') could be made by the representatives of the workmen.
(2.) Respondents 2 and 3 the Secretaries of two Beedi Thozhilali Unions filed a petition under S.33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act before the Labour Court, Ernakulam, claiming the terminal benefits due to 12 workers who were retrenched as per agreement between the employers and the union dated 11th October 1995. The petitioners, employers raised a contention that the claim petition under S.33(c)(2) of the Act had to be filed only by the employee or group of employees and not by the union or by representatives and such petition filed by the representatives or by the union, was not maintainable. Further, they wanted to have the above question decided as a preliminary issue and the Tribunal decided the above preliminary issue by Ext. P - 2 order in favour of the workmen. The above preliminary order is under challenge at the instance of the employers.
(3.) The learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that a claim petition under S.33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act cannot be filed by the representatives of the employees but it should be filed by the employee or group of employees in view of R.62A(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act (Kerala Rules). S.33(c)(2) under which the petition was filed would read as follows:
"Where any workmen is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money and if any question arises as to the amount of money due or as to the amount at which such benefit should be computed, then the question may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, be decided by such Labour Court as may be specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government (within a period not exceeding three months):
PROVIDED that where the presiding officer of a Labour Court considers it I necessary or expedient so to do, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend such period by such further period as he may think fit."
S.33(c)(2) did not say that the application should be filed by the employee or group of employees and it did not prohibit the union or the representatives of the employees making a claim under the above provision. R.62A of the Kerala Rules also did not specifically impose any restriction regarding the filing of an application or claim petition by the representatives. The claim petition filed under S.33(c)(2) is in fact an industrial dispute which would come within the definition of an Industrial Dispute as defined in the Act.
S.36 of the Act permit any industrial dispute be raised by the union or the representatives of the employees. In view of the specific provision under S.36 of the Act, the representatives of the employees are fully competent to move an industrial dispute before the Labour Court. A claim under S.33(c)(2) of the Act being an industrial dispute, the union or representatives of the employees are fully competent to raise such disputes before the Labour Court. Hence, I do not think that the claim petition filed by the representatives of the workmen can be rejected on that ground.;
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