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Management of Natraj Cottage Industries, Delhi Vs. the Presiding Officer, - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 292 of 1971
Judge
Reported in8(1972)DLT171; 1972LabIC390
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 33C(2); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 11
AppellantManagement of Natraj Cottage Industries, Delhi
RespondentThe Presiding Officer, ;labour Court, Delhi and ors.
Advocates: D.N. Vohra and; M.L. Srivastava, Advs
Cases ReferredR. Sarojini v. B. Lakshmana Rao. It
Excerpt:
the case discussed the applicability of the principle of res- judicata, on the application filed by the petitioner that was dismissed in of appearance - the court held that since the application was not on the merits basis, the principle of rest judicata was not applicable to it, under section 11 of the civil procedure code, 1908. - - 140.00 by way of compensation for four years service at the rate of 15 days wagesper year were as well claimed. (7) the above case is clearly distinguishable. in the present case the order dismisingt the petition not being on merits but clearly in default there was no question of applying the principle of rest judicata......ano. 356 of 1968, was directed to be struck off. (3) the workman, on march 14, 1970, submitted a fresh application, also under section 33-c(2) of the industrial disputes act. in that application the amount claimed for wages, overtime v ages, leave wages and bonus was shown to be exactly the same as in the previous application but additional amounts of rupees 70.00 as pay for one month in lieu of notice period and rs. 140.00 by way of compensation for four years service at the rate of 15 days wagesper year were as well claimed. in all the claim for rupees 1,677.60 was made. (4) the management raised a preliminary objection that the previous apblication (no. 356 of 1968) having been dismissed a fresh application on the same cause of action did not lie. the objection was, however, held.....
Judgment:

Jegjit Singh, J.

(1) The management of Natraj Cottage Industries, Sadar Bazar Delhi asked for issuing a writ of the nature of certioiari to quash an order of the Labour Court dated February 2, 1971.

(2) Through an application under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 19

Wages for nine months 15 days at Rs. 70.00 per month ... Rs. 665.00 Overtime wages for nine months ... Rs. 665.00 Leave wages for two years ... Rs. 70.00 Bonus for two years ... Rs. 67.60

That application was dismissed in default by the Labour Court, Delhi, on March Ii, 19'/0. In the order by which the application was dismissed it was mentioned that Shri D. N. Vohra was present for the management but no one was present on behalf of the workman and even on the last date of hearing no one had appeared for him. Inview of the absence of the workman or any one to represent him the application, which had been registered aNo. 356 of 1968, was directed to be struck off.

(3) The workman, on March 14, 1970, submitted a fresh application, also under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. In that application the amount claimed for wages, overtime v ages, leave wages and bonus was shown to be exactly the same as in the previous application but additional amounts of Rupees 70.00 as pay for one month in lieu of notice period and Rs. 140.00 by way of compensation for four years service at the rate of 15 days wagesper year were as well claimed. In all the claim for Rupees 1,677.60 was made.

(4) The management raised a preliminary objection that the previous apblication (No. 356 of 1968) having been dismissed a fresh application on the same cause of action did not lie. The objection was, however, held not to be tenable by the Labour Court on the ground that there was no bar to the filing of a Second application.

(5) By relying upon a judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in R. Sarojini v. B. Lakshmana Rao. It was contended by Shri D. N. Vohra for the management, before the Labour Court that there was no power to set aside an ex parte order. This contention was not opposed from the other side and was acceptad by the Presiding Officer of the Labour Court. The Presiding Officer of the Libour Court, ho .wever refused to draw an inference that because he had no power to restore the appliction which had been dismissed for default ho hid also no jurisdiction to entertain a fresh petition substantially on the same causs of action on which the petition dismissed in default had been made It was remarked that the previous application not having been decided on merits and there being no specific bar to the finding of a second application, the subsequent application could be tried.

(6) In this Court reliance was placed by Shri D. N. Vohri, the learned counsel for the management on a judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Madras High Court in Supper Surgical Co. v. S Desikan. In that case a petition under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act was made by a workman claiming a certain amount under various heads, which was opposed by the management of the firm of which that workman was an employee. When the petition came up for hearing the employee stated that he was not pressing it, on which it was dismissed. Subsequently a fresh petition base I on the same grounds was made to which objection was taken that it was not maintainable. On behalf of the employee it was urged that he had 'made an endorsement to the effect that he was withdrawing the petition without prejudice to the right to file a fresh petition' and the fresh petition filed by him was in accordance with the endorsement. The learned Judge repelled the conteion by observing that the Labour Court dismissed the petition and neither referred to the endorsement nor granted leave to with draw the petition and to file a fresh petition, it was further observed that under the Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules or the Madras Industrial Disputes Rules the Labour Court was not empowered to grant leave to withdraw the petition with liberty to file a fresh petition and such apower could not therfor be exercised by the Labour Court. As it was not disputed that the principle of rest judicata was also applicable to a Labour Court it was held that the Labour Court could not entertain a fresh pstition on the same cause of action unless it was empowered to do so.

(7) The above case is clearly distinguishable. In that case the order of dismissal of the petition was made on the statement of the em ployee concerned that he was not pressing his pstitioa an J there bieng no power to allow withdrawal of the petition with permission to fib afresh petition on the same grounds the dismissal of the petition hid to be treated as on merits The principle of rest judicate was, thereforee, applicable and in the absence of a provision for entertaining a fresh petition the objection regarding non-maintainability of the fresh petition had to be accepted. In the present case the order dismisingt the petition not being on merits but clearly in default there was no question of applying the principle of rest judicata.

(8) As already stated above the Labour Court held that it had no power to restore the previous application dismissed in default. In that Court or even before me the correctness of that view was not dispute I from either side. The Labour Court not having the power to restore the application dismissed in default it did not follow that even a fresh application on substantially the same grounds was not maintainable. The dismissal of the application on March 11, 1970 being in default of the appearance of the applicant or any one on his behalf, the order of dismissal was evidently not on meris and the principle of rest judicata could have no application. The fresh application would only hive been barred if there was aspecific provision to that effect. There being no provision either in the Industrial Disputes Act or the Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules to preduce an applicant whose earlier application under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act was dismissed in default from filing a fresh application even on the same grounds, the view taken by the Labour Court was, in my opinion correct. The petition filed on behalf of the management of Natraj Cottage Industries is, thereforee, dismissed. In the circumstances of the case I make no order as to costs.


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