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Union of India Representing the Central Railway Administration Vs. Samuel Peters and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appeal No. 845 of 1969
Judge
Reported in(1975)IILLJ185Bom; 1975MhLJ390
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 33C(2)
AppellantUnion of India Representing the Central Railway Administration
RespondentSamuel Peters and anr.
Excerpt:
.....act as well as under s. this ground, therefore, also must..........till february, 1962 when he was removed in the fresh enquiry. in the court of the payment of wages authority the claim of the respondent no. 1 for the months of january and february 1962 was granted and the claim prior to it was held to be barred by limitation. the appeal filed by the respondent no. 1 was dismissed by the assistant judge so far as the dismissal of his claim on the ground of limitation was concerned and the writ petition on the same point was also dismissed by the high court. 3. having failed to get his claim for the period prior to january, 1962 from the payment of wages authority, the respondent no. 1 applied on 1-7-1965 to the labour court for the recovery of this claim under s. 33c(2) of the industrial disputes act. after giving credit for the amount of the.....
Judgment:

Padhye, J.

1. This petition arises out of proceedings filed by the respondent No. 1 Samuel Peters by an application under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The respondent No. 1 was an employee in the Central Railways as a Train Examiner and was at Ballarsha when he was suspended from service with effect from 13-12-1952. There was an enquiry against him and he was removed from service by order dated 22-8-1953 with effect from 26-8-1953. Subsequently there was a suit filed by the respondent No. 1 being Civil Suit No. 495B of 1959 for declaration that his dismissal or removal from service was wrongful and claiming reinstatement and back wages. This suit was said to have been filed on 9-4-1958. Soon after the filing of this suit the earlier order of removal from service passed on 22-8-1953 was set aside in appeal by order dated 17-4-1958 and the respondent No. 1 was asked to join duty in view of the setting aside of the order of his removal. The respondent No. 1's claim in the civil suit so far as the claim for declaration regarding wrongful dismissal and back wages was concerned, was decreed and a decree for Rs. 5,824 was passed in his favour. This decree was passed on 27-6-1960. By this decree he was ordered to be reinstated and paid back wages. After this decree the respondent No. 1 was asked to join the duty which he joined on 27-10-1960. It appears that during the pendency of this suit a de novo enquiry was again started against the respondent No. 1 and he was again removed from service by the order dated 28-2-1962.

2. On 30-7-1962 the respondent No. 1 moved the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act for payment of his wages and the claim made by him was for the period 13-12-1952 i.e., the date of his suspension, till February, 1962 when he was removed in the fresh enquiry. In the Court of the Payment of Wages Authority the claim of the respondent No. 1 for the months of January and February 1962 was granted and the claim prior to it was held to be barred by limitation. The appeal filed by the respondent No. 1 was dismissed by the Assistant Judge so far as the dismissal of his claim on the ground of limitation was concerned and the writ petition on the same point was also dismissed by the High Court.

3. Having failed to get his claim for the period prior to January, 1962 from the Payment of Wages Authority, the respondent No. 1 applied on 1-7-1965 to the labour Court for the recovery of this claim under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. After giving credit for the amount of the decree amounting to Rs. 5,824 the respondent No. 1 made a claim for Rs. 14,858.58 P. From the statement of claim in which the details have been given, it appears that the claim was for the period 13-12-1952 to 31-3-1961 less the decretal amount.

4. Before the labour Court some preliminary objections were taken and the Labour Court framed two preliminary issues;

1. Are the claims cognisable by this Court under S. 33C(2)

2. Are the claims beyond 2 years barred by limitation

No evidence was adduced in the case and after considering the submissions made by the parties, the preliminary objections were overruled and the cases were set down for hearing on merits. This preliminary order is challenged by the present petitioner, the Union of India.

5. It has now been held by the Supreme Court that there is no limitation for making an application under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. See : Town Municipal Council, Athani v. Presiding Officer Labour Court, Hubli, : (1969)IILLJ651SC .

6. Though the only other question that was raised before the labour Court was whether the claim made by the respondent No. 1 could be entertained or was cognisable by the Labour Court under S. 33C(2), the learned counsel for the petitioner has also raised some more points and they being questions of law we permitted the learned counsel to argue those points.

7. So far as the first question that is urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner and which was the only objection taken besides the question of limitation is concerned, the point has been well-settled by now. The jurisdiction under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act is very wide and takes in within its scope a large number of cases regarding the recovery of claims and for that purpose the Court can also go into the questions which are incidental for the decision of those claims. Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act operates in cases where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any money or benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money. It further provides that if any question arises as to the amount of money due or as to the amount of money due or should be computed, then the question may be specified. We may refer in this connection to R. B. Bansilal Abirchand Mills Ltd. v. Labour Court, Nagpur 1972 1 L.L.J. 231. The earlier cases on the point have been referred to in this decision.

8. It is then urged, though for the first time, by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the claim which the respondent No. 1 made under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act could properly be made before the Payment of Wages Authority under the Payment of Wages Act and in fact it was so made by the respondent No. 1 and in view of this Special Act, such as the Payment of Wages Act was, the general provisions of S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act would not be applicable to the respondent No. 1 and the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court under S. 33C(2) of the Act would be barred. There cannot be any dispute that the claim, as in the present case in the absence of anything could be made under the Payment of Wages Act as well as under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. It is, however, contended by Mr. Palshikar that since this claim could be made under the Payment of Wages Act, which is a Special Act, the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court under S. 33C(2) in respect of such a claim is barred by necessary implication. There is no provision in the Payment of Wages Act excluding the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court under S. 33C(2) and, therefore, the contention is raised that by necessary implication such a jurisdiction is barred. In fact in S. 22 of the Payment of Wages Act a specific provision has been made to exclude the jurisdiction of civil Court from entertaining a claim which could be made under the Payment of Wages Act. If it was intended to exclude the jurisdiction also of the Industrial Court under S. 33C(2) a similar provision could have been made in respect of this also. When a specific provisions has been made expressly barring the jurisdiction of some Courts there is no scope of any implication in respect of other Courts. We are, therefore, not in a position to accept the contention of Mr. Palshikar that the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court is barred by necessary implication since there is a provision for determination of such claims under the Payment of Wages Act. This question in fact is also no longer open and has been decided by the several decisions of High Courts including this High Court. There is also a decision of the Supreme Court so far as the Minimum Wages Act is concerned. The Minimum Wages Act contains similar provisions to those of the Payment of Wages Act and the principles laid down in the decisions which considered the provision of S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, the Payment of Wages Act and the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act would apply in the instant case also : See : Balaram Abaji v. M. C. Raghojiwalla. : (1960)IILLJ491Bom : M/s. Ambica Tobacco Gondia v. Labour Court, Nagpur (1968) Mh. L.J. 10, Ambica Mills Ltd., Ahmedabad v. 2nd labour Court : (1967)IILLJ80AP Lal and Company v. R. N. Kulkarni : (1968)IILLJ518Bom and Indersingh v. Labour Court, .

9. The next contention that was raised was that the decision of the Payment of Wages Authority operates as res judicata and the Industrial Court could not award the claim of the respondent No. 1 which was made by the respondent No. 1 before the Payment of Wages Authority and rejected by it though on the ground of limitation. The claim prior to January, 1962 was rejected by the Payment of Wages Authority on the ground that the said claim could not be entertained as it was beyond a period of limitation and on that ground that claim was rejected. It is contended that since that claim has been rejected by the Payment of Wages Authority, the Industrial Court could not go into that question. Here no question of any res judicata can arise. The Payment of Wages Authority could not entertainment a claim which was beyond the period of 6 months and could not exercise any jurisdiction so far as that claim was concerned unless it thought fit to condone the delay. Under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. there is no question of any limitation. Such a claim could be entertained at any time and in a proceeding under S. 33C(2) no issue could arise as to whether a particular claim is barred by limitation or not. The issue in the earlier case before the Payment of Wages Authority was whether the claim prior to January, 1962 was barred by limitation. Such an issue could not be entertained in a proceeding under S. 33C(2). Therefore, there is no question of trying the same issue as was tried and decided in the earlier proceeding, even assuming that that prior Court was a Court of exclusive jurisdiction. In the first place in order that a decision of an Authority which is not the same as a subsequent Authority that earlier Authority must be the exclusive Authority of competent jurisdiction. This is not the case here. As we have said earlier, the Payment of Wages Authority, is not the exclusive authority but is an alternative and independent Authority but the Labour Court is an Authority under S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. Secondly, the issue which was tried in the proceedings before the Payment of Wages Authority does not arise in the proceeding under S. 33C(2) and in such a case the question of operation of the principles of res judicata cannot also arise. This ground, therefore, also must fail.

10. These were all the grounds which were urged on behalf of the petitioner and we do not find any substance in any of them. The petition, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.


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