SUBIR GHOSH Vs. INDIAN IRON AND STEEL CO LTD
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
INDIAN IRON AND STEEL CO. LTD.
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(1.)This is an appeal by the defendant in a suit for recovery of money and is directed against the original decree passed by the learned Judge, 4th Bench, City Civil Court at Calcutta, dated March 18, 1969, passed in Money Suit No.161 of 1967. This appeal has been argued on two questions of law, facts not being very much in dispute.
(2.)The appellant was recruited as an officer trainee by the respondent company under its First Staff Assistant Scheme for training. He was so recruited on an agreement between the parties made on September 20, 1965. The agreement provided:
In consideration of a bond to be executed immediately after the signing hereof by the Officer trainee in favour of the Company whereby he shall bind himself to pay to the Company a sum of Rs.6,000/- by way of premium but subject to the condition provided by such bond and also to the undertakings on his part herein contained the Company undertakes to afford such training and instruction to the officer trainee as the company shall deem necessary to qualify him for employment by the Company as a First Staff Assistant in any of its work.?
The agreement proceeded to provide that the training will be for a period of two years subject, however, to the Company's approbation and subject further to the Company's right to determine the same at any time without any notice and without assigning any reason. During the period of training the Company agreed to pay the officer trainee a salary of Rs.300/- and an allowance of Rs.100/- as dearness allowance per month and provided free accommodation in one of the Company's hostels. The officer trainee was made entitled to free medical facilities similar to those available to permanent First Staff Assistants of the Company and one month's leave on full pay for every completed year of training. Under the said agreement the appellant undertook to service the company during the period of training diligently and to the utmost of his power and skill and to devote whole of his time to work and duties assigned to him and to carry out all orders and directions by his superior authority and observe and perform all service conditions and standing orders of the company for the time being in force. He further undertook not to apply for any outside appointment without a prior written permission from the company and that he would not become a member of the trade union or any other organisation of the employees. The more important undertaking given in the said agreement was to the effect that if during or at the expiration of the said term of training the company offers employment to him as a First Staff Assistant with the company on terms and conditions as prevailing for the time being, the officer trainee will accept such employment and will well and faithfully discharge the duties and observe and perform the terms and conditions of employment for a period of not less than 5 years and will not either directly or indirectly nor on his account or as servant or agent of any other person, firm or company accept any employment otherwise than with the company. The last clause in this agreement provided that in the event the officer trainee be found guilty of any misconduct as specified therein ?the company may summarily terminate the training notwithstanding any other penalty to which the officer trainee may be liable under any of the provisions contained in his agreement and in the bond referred to in clause 2 hereof.
(3.)Simultaneously, the appellant executed a bond as envisaged by clause 2 of the agreement, as aforesaid, and since it is necessary to refer to the actual terms of the bond for deciding one of the points of law raised in this appeal we set out the bond hereunder:
Whereas by an Agreement dated the 20th day of September, 1965 and made between myself of the one part and the Company of the other part (hereinafter referred to as ?the said Agreement?) I bound myself to serve the Company as a trainee in the Company's business and the Company in consideration of a bond to be executed by me in favour of the Company (being this bond) undertook to afford training and instruction to me in its business upon and subject to the terms and conditions by the said Agreement prescribed.
NOW THE ABOVE WRITTEN OBLIGATION is conditioned to e void if I shall duly and faithfully in all respects whatsoever observe and perform the undertakings on my part set forth in the said Agreement and shall accept any employment in which the Company may be desirous of offering me upon the terms stipulated by the Company in that behalf during or at the expiration of the term of my training and shall well and faithfully discharge the duties and observe and perform the terms and conditions of such employment for a continuous period of not less than Five years. But in the event of my failing at any time to observe my said undertakings or to accept such employment as aforesaid or to discharge well and faithfully the duties or to observe and perform the terms and conditions of such employment then the above-written bond shall remain in full or such reduced force and effect and to such extent as may be appropriate to the period which may elapse before such failure shall occur that is to say, if such failure shall occur: -
(a) during the period of my training to the extent of the full sum hereby secured or Rs.500 per month for the period during which I received training which ever is lower;
(b) during the first year of my service with you, to the extent of the full sum hereby secured;
(c) after expiration of the first year, but before the expiration of the second year of such service to the extent of fourteenth-fifteenth of the said sum;
(d) after expiration of the second year, but before the expiration of the third year, of such service to the extent of four-fifth of the said sum;
(e) after expiration of the third year, but before the expiration of the fourth year, of such service to the extent of three-fifth of the said sum;
(f) after expiration of the fourth year, but before the expiration of fifth year, of such service to the extent of one-third of the said sum.
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