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R.S. Rekhchand Gopaldas Mohta Spn. and Wvg. Mills Ltd. Vs. Laxman and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 272 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1958Bom255; (1958)60BOMLR619; ILR1958Bom1081
ActsCentral Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947 - Sections 16, 16(2), 23 and 41; Central Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Rules - Rule 36
AppellantR.S. Rekhchand Gopaldas Mohta Spn. and Wvg. Mills Ltd.
RespondentLaxman and ors.
Appellant AdvocateA.S. Bobde and ;N.A. Athalye, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS.G. Kukde, Adv.
Excerpt:
- .....he had remained absent from duty without leave. the respondent then made an application to the district industrial court under section 23 of the c.p. and berar industrial disputes settlement act, 1947 (23 of 1947), read with rule 36 of the rules made under this act, in which he prayed that his discharge order should be declared illegal and that he should be reinstated by the petitioners. the district industrial court made an order for the reinstatement of the respondent. no order was, however, passed in regard to the payment of his back wages. both the petitioners and 'the respondent appealed to the state industrial court. that court agreed with the view taken by the district industrial court that the order terminating the services of the respondent was wrong. the order of.....
Judgment:

H.K. Chainani, J.

1. The facts giving rise to this special civil application are that respondent No. 1 (whom I will hereafter refer to as the respondent, as he is the only contesting respondent in this case) was employed in the Mills of the petitioners. His services were terminated with, effect from 1st December 1953 on the ground that he had remained absent from duty without leave. The respondent then made an application to the District Industrial Court under Section 23 of the C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947 (23 of 1947), read with Rule 36 of the rules made under this Act, in which he prayed that his discharge order should be declared illegal and that he should be reinstated by the petitioners. The District Industrial Court made an order for the reinstatement of the respondent. No order was, however, passed in regard to the payment of his back wages. Both the petitioners and 'the respondent appealed to the State Industrial Court. That Court agreed with the view taken by the District Industrial Court that the order terminating the services of the respondent was wrong. The order of reinstatement of the respondent was, therefore, confirmed and a further order was passed in his favour directing the petitioners to pay him his wages from 17th June 1954 to the date of his reinstatement. Against this order passed by the State Industrial Court, the present special civil application, has been filed.

2. Mr. A.S. Bobde, who appears on behalf of the petitioners, has urged that the Industrial Court had no power to direct the reinstatement of the respondent or the payment of his back wages to him. It seems to us that this contention of Mr. Bobde must be accepted. The application of the respondent purports to have been made under Section 23 read with Rule 36 (c) of the rules. Section 23 of the Act provides that the Provincial Government may constitute a District Industrial Court to determine such industrial disputes and to deal with such other industrial matters under the provisions of the Act as may be prescribed. Rule 36 provides that the District Industrial Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate upon

(a) * * * *

(b) the propriety or legality of an order passed by an employer under the standing order;

(c) the application and interpretation of standing orders;

(d) the legality or illegality of any strike or lock-out or of any change of which notice has been given or which has taken place upon an application by any employer or employee concerned or by the Labour Officer under Section 41 provided the question concerns an industry exclusively within the local area of the Court's jurisdiction.

3. The other clauses in this rule are not material. The present applications would fall both under Clause (b) and under Clause (d). Under these clauses, the District Industrial Court can adjudicate upon the propriety or legality of the order of dismissal passed against an employee, that is to say, it can decide whether on the facts of the case, the order passed was proper and whether it was legal or illegal i.e. contrary to the provisions of the Act, the rules or the Standing Orders. But the power to adjudicate upon or decide these matters would not include the power to order reinstatement or direct the payment of compensation. Such orders imposing financial and other obligations and liabilities upon the employer cannot be passed in the absence of any provision in the Act empowering the Court to pass such orders. It is also not necessary for the Court to possess these powers for the purpose of deciding whether the order challenged is proper and legal. The fact that the District Industrial Court is empowered to decide whether the order of dismissal was proper and legal would not, therefore, enable it to order reinstatement of the employee dismissed or payment of compensation to him. The reason why there is no provision in the Act or in the rules empowering the Industrial Court to pass such orders evidently is that the Act provides separate machinery for obtaining relief of this kind. Sub-section (2) of Section 16 of the Act states that an employee, who has been dismissed, may apply to the Labour Commissioner for reinstatement and payment of compensation for loss of wages. Sub-section (3) of this section empowers the Labour Commissioner, after such enquiry as may be prescribed, to direct that the employee shall be reinstated and/or that he should be paid compensation, in case he comes to the conclusion that the dismissal was wrongful. The Legislature has, therefore, constituted a special Tribunal under Section 16 for giving relief of this kind to employees, who have been wrongfully dismissed. It is not likely that the Legislature could have intended that two different Tribunals constituted under the same Act should both have the power to entertain applications for and to grant relief of this kind.

4. We are accordingly of the opinion that the District Industrial Court, and consequently the State Industrial Court in appeal from an order made by the District Industrial Court, on an application made under Rule 36, has no power to direct reinstatement of an employee, who has been dismissed, or to order the payment of compensation to him. This view is also in accordance with that taken by my learned brother and Mudholkar J. in Anna Saheb v. The Syndicate of Nagpur, Spl. Civil Appln. No. 70 of 1957, D/- 13-8-1957 (Bom. at Nag.) (A). In that case, the application had been made to the Industrial Court under Clause (d) of R. 36 read with Section 41 of the Act. Mudholkar J. in his judgment observed:

'All the same, the relief of reinstatement must be confined to those provisions which permit such a relief being granted and it cannot be regarded that reinstatement has now become a relief which could be awarded by any tribunal and in every case of wrongful dismissal. The reinstatement being merely a creation of the statute could only be claimed by complying with the particular provisions of the statute which provide for making a reinstatement. Under the local Act not only reinstatement but compensation also could be granted by the Labour Commissioner alone under Section 16. The State Industrial Court has no jurisdiction to grant either relief.''

The application is, therefore, allowed. The orders passed by the District Industrial Court and the State Industrial Court are set aside and the application made by the respondent is dismissed. The rule will accordingly be made absolute. Mr. Bobde has, however, informed us that even though the petitioners have succeeded in the present application, they are willing to take back the respondent in service, provided he produces a certificate of fitness from the Civil Surgeon, Akola. There will be no order as to costs.

5. Application allowed.


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