BUSINESS MANAGER ANDHRA PRINTERS LIMITED Vs. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL CUM LABOUR COURT
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
ANDHRA PRINTERS LIMITED, HYDERABAD
INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL-CUM-LABOUR COURT
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(1.)A preliminary objection raised by the Management of M/s. Andhra Printers Limited with regard to the maintainability of the application under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the I.D. Act') filed by a journalist has led to the filing of this writ petition by the Management. The Labour Court over-ruled the preliminary objection and held that Section 17 of the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as 'W.J. Act') does not bar a claim under Section 33-C(2) of the I.D. Act made by a working journalist.
(2.)The 2nd respondent in the writ petition was the applicant before the Labour Court. He was a part-time Correspondent of Andhra Jyothi daily newspaper at Warangal. The 2nd respondent who was being paid a consolidated salary had claimed before the Labour Court scales of pay, Dearness Allowance, House Rent Allowance, Variable Dearness Allowance, Bonus and wages in lieu of earned leave, for the period between 1975 and 1986. The Management (petitioner herein) apart from denying entitlement of the petitioner to the monetary benefits claimed, took the plea that the remedy of the 2nd respondent lies under the provisions of the W.J. Act but not under the I.D. Act. The Labour Court rejected this plea of the Management recording its conclusion as follows :
"In view of the decision of the Karnataka High Court reported in 1982 - I - LLJ page 189, in view of the use of the words "without prejudice to any other mode of recovery" in Section 17(1) of the Working Journalists Act, in view of the scope of Section 33-C(2) of I.D. Act and in view of the fact that this Court alone has to decide the dispute between the parties either in a reference made by the Government or on a petition filed by the petitioner, I am of the opinion that M.P. 115/87 filed by petitioner is maintainable. Hence this petition is dismissed."
It is against this order of the Labour Court in I.A. No. 274/87 dated November 27, 1987 that the present writ petition has been filed with a prayer to quash the order of the Labour Court.
(3.)The learned Counsel for the petitioner Mr. G. Ramachandra Rao has argued that the 2nd respondent being a working journalist whose conditions of service are governed by the Act, should work out the remedies under the Act because his claim falls within the purview of the Act. The learned Counsel relying upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Punjab v. Labour Court, Jullundur 1981 - I - LLJ - 354 has contended that the Act impliedly bars the jurisdiction of the Labour Court under Section 33-C(2) in relation to working journalists and other newspaper employees governed by the Act. The proper remedy of the journalists, according to the learned Counsel, is to move the State Government under Section 17(2) of W.J. Act to refer the question in dispute to the Labour Court and it is only after the Labour Court decides the question that the petitioner can approach the Government under Section 33-C(2) of I.D. Act for recovery of the money due as per the order of the Labour Court. The learned Counsel assailed the approach of the Labour Court in thinking that the Labour Court can decide a dispute of this nature whether it be on a reference under Section 17(2) of the W.J. Act or under Section 33-C(2) of the I.D. Act, and hence the objection raised by the Management is not one of substance. The learned Counsel for the 2nd respondent has countered the argument of the petitioner that the Labour Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction under Section 33-C(2) in the face of the remedy available to the journalist under Section 17 of the W.J. Act. The learned Counsel for the respondent submits that undisputedly the 2nd respondent comes within the definition of 'Workman' under the Industrial Disputes Act and if so, both the remedies can be availed of by the journalist-workman. The learned Counsel has also relied upon the Full Bench judgment of this Court in A.P.S.W.I. Co-op. Society Ltd. v. Labour Court, Hyderabad AIR 1987 A.P. 182. and M. Radhakrishna Reddy v. Sri. B.V. Bus Service AIR 1986 A.P. 102. to emphasise his point that the journalist-workman has a concurrent remedy. The Learned Counsel for the respondent supported the reasoning of the Labour Court based on the expression 'without prejudice to any other mode of recovery' occurring in Section 17(1) of the W.J. Act.
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