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Shaw Wallace and Co. Ltd. Vs. Workmen and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 777(NL) of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1978SC977; [1978(36)FLR219]; 1978LabIC707; (1978)ILLJ482SC; (1978)2SCC45; 1978(10)LC143(SC)
ActsConstitution of India - Article 136
AppellantShaw Wallace and Co. Ltd.
RespondentWorkmen and ors.
Excerpt:
.....terminated from service when management was in hand of appellant - appellant claimed that receiver was appointed and so appellant not responsible for termination - award of compensation was passed in favour of respondent - held, receiver was acting as agent of appellant and so appellant responsible for such termination and liable to pay compensation to respondent. - - after having heard counsel elaborately, we are satisfied that this jurisdiction cannot be exercised on any of the above grounds. therefore, our jurisdiction stands repelled unless there are special circumstances which we fail to discern. 3. in an affirming judgment, the facts and the law need not be elaborately set out by this court an brevity is the better course. were effectively in management, were giving..........the appellant was managing the gardans at the relevant time. if they did act as an agent of the receiver-the receiver had been appointed by the court in a suit filed by one of the craditors of the tea estates-the only question to be considered is whether the said agent in management did commit the offending act of illegal termination of services of the workmen. there is enough material on record to show that while there was a receiver in office during the period the termination took place, m/s. shaw wallace & co. were effectively in management, were giving instructions to the superintendent of the estate, were financing operations, were negotiating for the sale of the estates and otherwise involving themselves in all that a management would undertake. we need not set out in detail.....
Judgment:

V.R. Krishna Iyer, J.

1. This appeal by special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution has been argued at some length by the Management, the appellant, against whom an award has been made for payment of compensation to fifteen workman whose services, according to the Labour Court, have been improperly terminated. The compensation was Rs. 2,000/- per head so that the total subject matter is Rs. 30,000/-, although the case itself has reached the Supreme Court on an earlier occasion with the result that the costs of the litigation for exceed the value of the subject-matter, in all probability. This is the besetting sin of Indian litigation, especially in the industrial jurisdiction.

2. Be that as it may, the special jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 can be invoked ordinarily only where there is manifest injustice, fundamental flaw in law or perverse findings of facts. After having heard counsel elaborately, we are satisfied that this jurisdiction cannot be exercised on any of the above grounds. Basically justice has been done. There is some basis, some material to validate the award. Therefore, our jurisdiction stands repelled unless there are special circumstances which we fail to discern.

3. In an affirming judgment, the facts and the law need not be elaborately set out by this Court an brevity is the better course. More over, the facts have been once fully set cut in the earlier order of this Court and a repetition in narration is notices. Pithly put, the facts are that the Brahmaputra Tea Estate Company had employed the fifteen workman who raised a dispute when their services were terminated on the score of alleged superannuation. It was found by the Labour Court that the termination of services was improper and instead of directing reinstatement or the workman, compensation was awarded. The short question is, whether M/s. Shaw Wallace & Co. Ltd., the appellant, was at all responsible for the termination of serves of employees of the Brahmaputra Tea Estates. The Labour Court spelt out such liability on the foundation that the Management was in the hands of Shaw Wallace & Co. at the relevant time. It is fairly conceded in the written statement of the appellant that as agent of the receiver, the appellant was managing the gardans at the relevant time. If they did act as an agent of the receiver-the receiver had been appointed by the Court in a suit filed by one of the craditors of the Tea Estates-the only question to be considered is whether the said agent in management did commit the offending act of illegal termination of services of the workmen. There is enough material on record to show that while there was a receiver in office during the period the termination took place, M/s. Shaw Wallace & Co. were effectively in management, were giving instructions to the Superintendent of the Estate, were financing operations, were negotiating for the sale of the estates and otherwise involving themselves in all that a management would undertake. We need not set out in detail documentary and oral evidence which backs this finding of the Labour Court. Once it is seen that there is some suppertive testimony, it is not for us to interfere and demolish the finding. Therefore, the factual position, to sum up, is that a receiver was in charge of Tea Estate, but presumably with the permission of the court the management had been left to M/s. Shaw Wallace & Co. and under instructions from this management the termination of services of the fifteen workman was affected. Once it is found-and it has been so found-that the termination was illegal, the liability flowing there from is on him who was responsible for such termination. M. Niceties of law cannot extricate the appellant from an obligation that flows directly from his act. We are, therefore, unable to acceds to the many contentions put forward by the appellant and held that the appeal deserves to be dismissed.

4. May be Ms. Shaw Mallace & Co. may have a claim against the receiver but we are not concerned to pursue that liability if it exceeds at all. That is a matter to be worked out between the appellant and the court receiver or any other party who may be found in appropriate proceedings to be responsible. We do not pronounce on that except to state that we are not deciding against the appellant in any claim that he may have against any other party. Suffice it to say that vis-a-vis the workmen, the appellant's liability found by the award cannot be upset by this Court. We dismiss the appeal with costs. One set. And in view of the order of this Court earlier we further direct that the sum awarded shall carry 6 per cent interest.


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