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The Central Potteries Ltd. Vs. the Assistant Commissioner - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case Number Special Civil Application No. 137 of 1960
Judge
Reported in(1961)63BOMLR709; (1961)IILLJ546Bom
AppellantThe Central Potteries Ltd.
RespondentThe Assistant Commissioner
DispositionAppeal Dismissed
Excerpt:
.....after his reinstatement is directed, from the date of dismissal to the date of the order of the labour commissioner. - - indeed, when the employee makes an application, complaining that the order of dismissal was bad and asking for an amount for loss of wages, that amount could not be anything different from compensation. if that were so, when the labour commissioner holds that the order of dismissal was bad and directs the reinstatement of the employee and awards payment for the whole period, as has been done in the present case, that payment must necessarily refer to the amount of compensation which was originally prayed for by the employee himself. therefore, it seems to us that although what was awarded in the former proceedings was described as amount of back-wages, still in..........petitioner dismissed him on january 27, 1957. this order of dismissal was upheld by the assistant labour commissioner on july 13, 1957, but in revision the state industrial court reversed the order of the assistant labour commissioner, and directed that respondent no. 3 be reinstated and paid the back-wages from the date of the order of dismissal i.e. january 27, 1957. this order of the state industrial court was confirmed by this court in special civil application no. 388 of 1958, on april 15, 1959. thereafter, the proceedings out of which the present special civil application arises were started by respondent no. 3 for recovery of what he described as 'back-wages' computed from january 27, 1957 till april 15, 1959. the assistant labour commissioner directed that the back-wages, which.....
Judgment:

Datar, J.

1. Respondent No. 3 was an employee with the petitioner. For some misconduct, which was alleged against respondent No. 3, the petitioner dismissed him on January 27, 1957. This order of dismissal was upheld by the Assistant Labour Commissioner on July 13, 1957, but in revision the State Industrial Court reversed the order of the Assistant Labour Commissioner, and directed that respondent No. 3 be reinstated and paid the back-wages from the date of the order of dismissal i.e. January 27, 1957. This order of the State Industrial Court was confirmed by this Court in Special Civil Application No. 388 of 1958, on April 15, 1959. Thereafter, the proceedings out of which the present Special Civil Application arises were started by respondent No. 3 for recovery of what he described as 'back-wages' computed from January 27, 1957 till April 15, 1959. The Assistant Labour Commissioner directed that the back-wages, which according to his calculation came to Rs. 1,673, be recovered as arrears of land revenue. This order was confirmed by the revisional authority and it is against the order of the revisional authority that the present Special Civil Application has been filed by the employer.

2. It seems to us that in view of Rule 18 of the C. P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Rules, 1949, the amount which is described as the amount of back-wages calculated from January 27, 1957 up to April 15, 1959, can be recovered as an arrear of land revenue. The relevant rule is Rule 18, Sub-rule (2). It provides that if an employer fails to pay the employee the compensation awarded to him under Sub-section (5), Clause (ii), or wages in accordance with Sub-section (3-a) of Section 16, the amount shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue. Now, what Mr. Oke on behalf of the petitioner emphasizes is that the amount which is sought to be recovered in the present proceedings was not compensation but represented the back-wages computed from January 27, 1957, till April 15, 1959. It would be seen that when an employee is aggrieved by an order of dismissal passed against him by the employer, he can, under the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 16 of the Central Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947, make an application for reinstatement and payment of compensation for loss of wages. Sub-section (2) of Section 16 provides that:

Any employee, working in an industry to which the notification under Sub-section (1) applies, may, within six months from the date of such dismissal, discharge, removal or suspension, apply to the Labour Commissioner for reinstatement and payment of compensation for loss of wages.

Therefore, it is clear that an employee in the position of respondent No. 3 could apply for reinstatement and for payment of compensation for loss of wages. If his application is entertained and it is held by the Labour Commissioner that the dismissal was wrongful or otherwise illegal, then the employee would be entitled to an order which is contemplated by Sub-section (3), Clause (i). Sub-section (3), Clause (i), says:-

On receipt of such application, if the Labour Commissioner... finds that the dismissal. .. was in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or in contravention of a standing order...he may direct,-(i) either that the employee shall be reinstated forthwith or by a specified date and paid for the whole period from the date of dismissal.. .to the date of the order of the Labour Commissioner;

Relying upon this provision Mr. Oke contends that what was awarded to the employee under sub-cl, (i) was only an amount of back-wages. In fact, he refers to the actual words in which the orders of the authorities, as indeed the order of this Court, were expressed in the earlier proceedings. Now, we may assume that in the earlier proceedings the final order stated that the employee shall be reinstated and paid the back-wages from January 27, 1957 till April 15, 1959. Mr. Oke also refers to Clause (ii) of Sub-section (3) of Section 16 where the words are:

that the employee shall, in addition to the wages from the date of dismissal...to the date of the order of the Labour Commissioner, be paid by the employer such sum not exceeding rupees two thousand five hundred by way of compensation having regard to the loss of employment and the possibility of getting suitable employment thereafter.

Mr. Oke says that the word 'compensation' mentioned in the rule aforesaid must refer only to such compensation as is expressly mentioned in Clause (ii) of Sub-section (5) of Section 16 and not to what he describes as the amount of back-wages in regard to which there was an order in the previous proceedings in favour of the employee. It seems to us, whether in Sub-section (3-b) of Section 16 or in the rule aforesaid, the word 'compensation' has been used not only to cover such compensation as could be granted under Clause (ii) of Sub-section (3) of Section 16, but also the payment which could be made to the employee after his reinstatement is directed, from the date of dismissal to the date of the order of the Labour Commissioner. It is significant to note that the Legislature has not employed the words 'back-wages' in Clause (i). Therefore, it seems to us, particularly regard being had to the nature of the application which the employee could file and the reliefs which he could claim under Sub-section (2) of Section 16, that the payment which the Labour Commissioner could order in favour of the employee under Clause (i) of Sub-section (3) of Section 16 was only payment by way of compensation for loss of wages. That such payment is ordinarily equal to the amount of 'back-wages' does not make it any the less a payment of compensation for loss of wages. Indeed, when the employee makes an application, complaining that the order of dismissal was bad and asking for an amount for loss of wages, that amount could not be anything different from compensation. He could not claim wages for the simple reason that he was not in service from the date of the order of dismissal. Therefore, what he could apply for under Sub-section (2) of Section 16, was only an amount of compensation for loss of wages. If that were so, when the Labour Commissioner holds that the order of dismissal was bad and directs the reinstatement of the employee and awards payment for the whole period, as has been done in the present case, that payment must necessarily refer to the amount of compensation which was originally prayed for by the employee himself. Now, Mr. Oke contended that what was in fact paid was only an amount of back-wages. It would be seen by reference to Sub-section (3-a) of Section 16 that the employee would be entitled to his wages only from the date on which the order of reinstatement is passed. In this case it may be assumed that the order of reinstatement was finally passed on April 15, 1959. It is only then, in view of Sub-section (3-a) of Section 16 that the employee will be deemed to have been reinstated on the date of that order and shall from that date be entitled to the wages

at the rate to which he was entitled immediately prior to his dismissal... until his employment is lawfully terminated.

Therefore, it seems to us that although what was awarded in the former proceedings was described as amount of back-wages, still in law it must mean compensation for loss of wages for which he had made the application under Sub-section (2) of Section 16. Therefore, in our view, the word 'compensation' used in the rule as well as in Sub-section (3-b) of Section 16 includes the compensation under Clause (ii) of Sub-section (3) of Section 16, as also the amount which is directed to be paid to the employee on his being reinstated under the order of the Labour Commissioner. If that were so, there is no difficulty in the way of the employee approaching the proper authorities for an order that the amount to which he is entitled in view of the earlier decisions may be directed to be recovered as an arrear of land revenue from the employer.

3. Accordingly, the application fails and is dismissed with costs.


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