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Bharat Textile Engineering Works Vs. N.A. Athalve and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 38 of 1964 with Spl. C.A. No. 199 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1967Bom433; (1966)ILLJ582Bom
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 15; Constitution of India - Article 227
AppellantBharat Textile Engineering Works
RespondentN.A. Athalve and ors.
Appellant AdvocateC.J. Swant and ;J.P. Shah, Advs., in Spl C.A. No. 38 of 1964 and ;Y.S. Chitale, Adv. in Spl. C.A. No. 199 of 1964
Respondent AdvocateY.S. Chitale and ;J.P. Shah, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....for the dismissed employer elsewhere was relevant;c) it was ruled that if an employee is found guilty of misconduct then it cannot be the reason to deprive him of his gratuity -..........each completed year of service, to workmen who had completed seven years' continuous service. the wages paid by the petitioners are consolidated wages mr. shah has contended that gratuity is ordinarily awarded on the basis of the basic wages of a worker and dearness allowance is not ordinarily taken into consideration for the purpose. he has, therefore, contended that the tribunal was wrong in directing that gratuity should be paid at the rate of 7 days' wages for each completed year of service paragraph 18 of the award shows that the tribunal was conscious of the fact that the wages which were being paid to the workmen were consolidated wages. after taking into consideration this fact it has directed the payment of gratuity at the rate of 7 days' wages for each completed year of.....
Judgment:

(1) These two applications are between the same parties. The petitioners in Special Civil Application No. 38 of 1964 are a partnership firm doing the business of engraving textile designs on copper rolls used for textile printing. A dispute between them and their workmen the 2nd respondent was referred for adjudication to the Industrial Tribunal. The Industrial Tribunal made an award on 25th September 1963. Against the Award the employers have filed special civil application No. 38 of 1964 while the Union has filed the other application No. 199 of 1964.

(2) Mr. Shah, who appears on behalf of the petitioners in the first application, has raised three points. The Tribunal has directed the payment of gratuity at the rate of 7 days' wages for each completed year of service, to workmen who had completed seven years' continuous service. The wages paid by the petitioners are consolidated wages Mr. Shah has contended that gratuity is ordinarily awarded on the basis of the basic wages of a worker and dearness allowance is not ordinarily taken into consideration for the purpose. He has, therefore, contended that the Tribunal was wrong in directing that gratuity should be paid at the rate of 7 days' wages for each completed year of service Paragraph 18 of the Award shows that the Tribunal was conscious of the fact that the wages which were being paid to the workmen were consolidated wages. After taking into consideration this fact it has directed the payment of gratuity at the rate of 7 days' wages for each completed year of service. As the Tribunal has already taken this factor into consideration in determining the amount of gratuity payable, we do not think that we can interfere with the Award on this ground.

(3) In paragraph 28 the Tribunal has directed that the management shall pay bonus to workers for the year 1961 at the rate of 1/16th annual basic earning excluding overtime wages and dearness allowance, on the terms and conditions mentioned in the Award. No dearness allowance was actually being paid to the workers. This direction of the Tribunal, therefore, requires modification. Since we are sending back the matter on another ground, we direct that having regard to the fact that consolidated wages were being paid to the workers, the above direction that dearness allowance should be excluded from the basic earnings should be suitably modified.

(4) The petitioners had dismissed one of their workers respondent No. 3. One of the matters referred to the Tribunal was that this worker should be reinstated in the service or in the alternative he sold be paid adequate compensation. The Tribunal did not direct reinstatement of respondent No. 3. The Tribunal has, however, directed that the petitioners should pay to him compensation equal to wages from the date of his dismissal to the date of publication of the Award and also two months' wages. In addition. Mr. Shah has urged that the amount of compensation awarded is excessive, particularly having regard to the fact that respondent No. 3 was employed in some other firm for more than 9 months. It appears that respondent No. 3 had stated in his evidence in cross-examination that while he had been taking odd jobs on temporary basis, he had not taken any permanent job and had not worked in any industry of similar type after termination of his service. The Tribunal has observed that in fixing the amount of compensation, the Tribunal had taken into consideration the fact that respondent No. 3 had been earning some type of remuneration for the casual work he had down. Mr. Shah has urged that this statement of respondent No. 3 is incorrect, and that respondent No. 3 has obtained such a large compensation by misleading the Tribunal. It also appears that an application was made to the Tribunal for prosecution of respondent No. 3 for making a false statement, but the same was not granted. If respondent No. 3 was actually employed, then the compensation which may reasonably be awarded to him would naturally be less than what may be awarded if he was unemployed after the date of his dismissal. In any case, this is one of the factors to be taken into consideration in determining the quantum of compensation. Mr. Chitale has stated that he has no objection to the Tribunal investigating this question. Accordingly, we set aside the part of the Award which directs the payment of compensation to respondent No. 3, equal to his wages from the date of his dismissal to the date of the publication of the Award and two months' wages in addition. We direct that the Tribunal should ascertain whether respondent No. 3 was employed during this period and in the light of its finding on this issue should decide how much compensation should be awarded to him for his wrongful dismissal.

(5) These are all the points which are raised on behalf of the petitioners in application No. 38 of 1964.

(6) In the other application filed on behalf of the workers, an objection has been taken to a direction given by the Tribunal that 'in case a worker is dismissed for misconduct except for having gone on strike which is not already declared illegal by competent authority he will forfeit his right to earn gratuity'. This direction does not appear to be in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court. In Hindustan Times Ltd. v. Their Workmen, : (1963)ILLJ108SC . the Supreme Court has observed

'It has been pointed out by this Court in more than one case that having regard to the nature gratuity it will not be proper to deprive an employee of the gratuity earned by him because of his dismissal for misconduct and the proper provision to make in this connection is that where an employee is dismissed for misconduct which has resulted in financial loss to the employer the amount lost should be 'deducted from the amount of gratuity due.'

In view of this and other decisions of the Supreme Court, we set aside the above direction given in paragraph 21 of the Award that 'In case a worker is dismissed for misconduct, except for having gone on strike which is not already declared illegal by competent authority he will forfeit his right to earn gratuity' and direct that the Tribunal should insert a provision in the gratuity scheme on the lines suggested by the Supreme Court.

(7) In the result, therefore, we modify the Award made by the Industrial Tribunal in respect of the matters referred to above and remand the matter to the Tribunal to hear the parties and thereafter make a fresh award in regard to these matters in the light of the directions contained in this judgment. The Tribunal should dispose of the matter as soon as possible.

(8) No order as to costs.

(9) Ordered accordingly.


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