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New Khalsa Roadways Company (Private) Ltd. Vs. Sardara Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1968)IILLJ348P& H
AppellantNew Khalsa Roadways Company (Private) Ltd.
RespondentSardara Singh and ors.
Excerpt:
.....of limitation for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - the agreement of 31 may 1961, clearly envisaged that it sardara singh was acquitted, he was to be paid wages which have been determined by the labour court......to the last and final order. it cannot be said that the high court having merely given sardara singh benefit of doubt, he should still be regarded technically as a person conviction of as offence. the agreement of 31 may 1961, clearly envisaged that it sardara singh was acquitted, he was to be paid wages which have been determined by the labour court. there is no authority in support of the proposition propounded by sri sarhadi that the order of sessions judge in the last word on the subject and should be the determining factor. the order passed by the high court is the final order and this being acquittal it must be held that sardara singh was entitled to reinstatement as also to the benefit of wages.3. it is next contended by sri sardara that ' wages ' under clause (rr) of section.....
Judgment:

Shamsher Bahadur, J.

1. This is a petition of New Khalsa Roadways Company (Private), Ltd., Phagwara, under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution to challenge the validity of the order passed by the labour court, Jallundur, on 9 May 1963, awarding Sardara Singh, respondent 1, back-wages from 16 January to 9 October 1961, at the rate of Rs. 130 per mensem.

2. The facts, on which there is no dispute, are these. Sawan Singh, the managing director of the petitioner, was assaulted on 11 January 1961, while he was returning to his village from Phagwara. The managing director earned, inter alia, Sardara Singh, respondent 1, and Nirrer(sic) Singh, the respondent in the connected petition, Civil Writ No. 1580 of 1963, as his astallants. In the first information report which was lodged with the police under Sections 324/307/34, Indian Penal Code. Respondent 1 was arrested on 16 January 1961, and his services were also terminated. Respondent 1 was found guilty by the Sessions Judges, Kapurthala, on 3 June 1961 and was sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment. The termination of the services of respondent 1 led to conciliation proceedings which culminated in an agreement under Sub-section (3) of Section 12 of the Indus-trial Disputes Act, 1947, which is to this effect:

If a settlement of the dispute or of any of the matters in dispute is arrived at in the course of the conciliation proceedings, the conciliation officer shall send a report thereof to the appropriate Government signed together with a memorandum of the settlement by the parties to the dispute.

According to this settlement, which was executed on 31 May 1961 and is marked annexure A, Sardara Singh, respondent 1, was to be reinstated 'with wages if acquitted.' If he was convicted, it was agreed that he ' shall not be entitled to any reinstatement or compensation regarding his service.' The convictions of respondent 1 was get aside in appeal by the High Court on 9 October 1961. He was actually released on bail on 24 August 1961, by an order of the High Court. On the acquittal of Sardara Singh the labour court was moved to compute the benefit according to him under Sub-section (2) of Section 83C of the Industrial Disputes Act which says that:

Where any workmen is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money and if any question arises as to the amount of money due of as to the amount at which such benefit should be computed, then the question may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, he decided by such labour court as may be specified to this behalf by the appropriate Government.

Before the labour court, it was contended on behalf of the petitioner-company, as has been canvassed before me by Sri Ajit Singh Sarhadi, the learned Counsel, that the Sessions Judge who passed the order immediately after the agreement of 31 May 1961, recorded a conviction and his subsequent acquittal Should not be taken taken account. This is an argument which on the face of it is unacceptable. A conviction or acquittal of a person charged with a criminal offence has to be determined by reference to the last and final order. It cannot be said that the High Court having merely given Sardara Singh benefit of doubt, he should still be regarded technically as a person conviction of as offence. The agreement of 31 May 1961, clearly envisaged that it Sardara Singh was acquitted, he was to be paid wages which have been determined by the labour court. There is no authority in support of the proposition propounded by Sri Sarhadi that the order of Sessions Judge in the last word on the subject and should be the determining factor. The order passed by the High Court is the final order and this being acquittal it must be held that Sardara Singh was entitled to reinstatement as also to the benefit of wages.

3. It is next contended by Sri Sardara that ' wages ' under Clause (rr) of Section 2 of the Act is defined to mean

all remuneration capable of being expressed in terms of money, which would, if the terms of employment, expressed or implied, were fulfilled, be payable to a workman in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment....

It is argued that the wages are relatable to work done m employment and cannot possible include remuneration for a period which respondent 1 admittedly spent in Jail. It is submitted that respondent 1 was in Jail between 15 January and 14 February 1961. He was again in jail after his conviction from 6 June 1961 till his release on bail by the High Court on 21 August 1961. The labour court has awarded respondent 1 wages from 16 January 1961, at the rate of Rs. 180 per mensem continuously up to 9 October 1961. without taking into account the periods which respondent 1 was in Jail. No reference indeed is made by the labour court to the definition of wages in the Industrial Disputes Act and it seems that the learned Court has not applied its mind whether the period apent in Jail was work done during the course of employment to entitle respondent 1 to receive wages. The claim is challenged on behalf of the respondent on principle and also for the reason that the periods said to have been spent by respondent 1 in Jail have not been correctly stated, it is contended by Sri Bhagirath Dass that respondent 1 was in Jail because of the false charge which was brought against him by the employer. As the learned Court has not dealt with this matter, I would remand this case for determination by the labour court for competing the benefit of wages after due regard has been paid to this term which is defined in Clause (rr) of Section 9 of the Act, and also after considering the other material which may be placed before it by the parties concerned.

4. There still remains the question of delay in filing this petition. While the order of the labour court was passed on 9 May 1952, this petition was made to this Court on 12 August 1963. It is submitted by Sri Sarhadi that as stated in Para. 10 of the petition, the order of the labour court, though it purports to have been made on 9 May 1962, was never announced to the petitioner or his counsel and actually it came to the knowledge of the petitioner on as June 1963, when attachment came for realisation of the amount awarded by the labour court. Though this allegation is denied in the written statement and it is asserted that Sri Mittal, the counsel for the petitioner, knew of the order of the labour court, judging from the bitterness with which this litigation has been fought, I am inclined to think that the petitioner would not have been slow to bring this application if it had been within its knowledge that an order had been passed.

5. I would, therefore, remand this case for re-determination of the quantum of wages due to respondent 1 in accordance with law.


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