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Tata Oil Mills Company Ltd. Vs. Dominic Gomez and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)ILLJ626Ker
AppellantTata Oil Mills Company Ltd.
RespondentDominic Gomez and ors.
Excerpt:
.....open to the appellant to contend that the question of reinstatement could not arise at all as the finding of the tribunal about the propriety of the dismissal is without jurisdiction and illegal and the refusal of the relief of reinstatement has occasioned no failure of justice. it will interfere (i) when there is a want of good faith, (ii) when there is victimization or unfair labour practice, (iii) when the management has been guilty of a basic error or violation of a principle of natural justice, and (iv) when on the materials the finding is completely baseless or perverse. 1 we are satisfied that the approach made by the tribunal in considering the nature of the dismissal was not correct and the finding has to be set aside. we are satisfied even on this aspect the tribunal has made..........so long as the appellant was content to accept the award refusing the relief of reinstatement and awarding compensation, the appellant was not bound to seek to quash the finding relating to the dismissal of the respondent. but should the finding of the tribunal regarding propriety of the reinstatement is to be disturbed in a proceeding under article 226, we feel that it must be open to the appellant to impeach the finding of the tribunal about the nature of the dismissal and to contend that there can be no reinstatement.8. moreover, the effective part of the award impeached by the respondent in the petition under article 226 was the refusal to reinstate him. in view of this it is open to the appellant to contend that the question of reinstatement could not arise at all as the finding of.....
Judgment:

Krishnamoorthi Ayyar, J.

1. This is an appeal by the management of the Tata Oil Mills Company, Ltd., Ernakulam, against the judgment of Justice Sri Mathew in O.P. No. 711 of 1863 Sled under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by a dismissed workman Dominic Gomez for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the award Ex. P. 1 passed by, the industrial tribunal, Ernakulam, to the extent it is adverse to him and for directions to reinstate him and for other reliefs.

2. An industrial dispute between the management of the Tata Oil Mills Company, Ltd., Ernakulam, and their workmen, was referred for adjudication to the industrial tribunal, Ernakulam, by the 'appropriate Government.' Of the eight issues referred for adjudication, a part of issue 8 which arose out of the dismissal of the worker Dominic Gomez (herein referred to as respondent) was alone decided, the other issues having been left out on consent of parties. As a result Ex. P. 1 award dated 7 December 1962, was passed by the industrial tribunal setting aside the order of dismissal but refusing his reinstatement and allowing him Rs. 492 as compensation.

3. That part of issue 8 which was adjudicated by the tribunal is in the following terms:

Is the dismissal of Dominic Gomez unjust and an act of victimization If so, to what relief he is entitled

In passing the award Ex. P. 1, the industrial tribunal held that the respondent 'is not liable to be punished' and therefore set aside the order of dismissal passed by the management. The relief granted to the respondent is stated in Para. 9 of Ex. P. 1 award thus:

As to the question of relief Gomez is now employed in the naval base and he is a permanent worker there. So, no question of reinstatement arises. It is stated that he has twelve years of service in the Tata Company and at the time of dismissal he was getting Rs. 82 monthly. Towards compensation for past service he will be given 6 months' salary, amounting to Rs. 492. He is not entitled to any other compensation. So the worker Gomez will be paid Rs. 492 compensation.

The learned Judge came to the conclusion that the tribunal did not make a proper approach to the question of reinstatement of the respondent and that the principles of natural justice have been violated, as the respondent was not given suffient opportunity to rebut Ex. M. 11 produced by the management. The learned Judge also held that the finding as to the quantum of compensation required reconsideration.

4. It was contended by the learned Counsel for the appellant that the tribunal has given proper reasons for refusing reinstatement of the respondent and that the compensation awarded is reasonable and no grounds have been made out for interference by the learned Judge.

5. We are satisfied that the view taken by the learned Judge in directing the tribunal to reconsider nature of the relief to be given to the respondent is correct. We agree with the learned Judge in thinking that the approach made by the industrial tribunal to the question of reinstatement and compensation is not correct. In refusing the relief of reinstatement and in fixing the quantum of compensation in lieu of wrongful dismissal, the tribunal has decided the matter without taking notice of the principles of law stated by the Supreme Court in the decisions referred to in the judgment under appeal. We therefore agree with the learned Judge on this point.

6. The next point raised on behalf of the appellant was that the industrial tribunal misconceived the scope of its jurisdiction to interfere with the finding of the domestic tribunal dismissing the respondent and made a wrong approach to the question before it. He pointed out that if the award refusing reinstatement and directing payment of compensation has to be reconsidered by the tribunal, the finding in the award relating to the propriety of the dismissal must also be reopened and directed to be reconsidered by the tribunal. Though the appellant had not taken steps to set aside the finding in the award holding that the dismissal of the respondent is wrongful by filing a separate petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, it is submitted that this was pressed before the learned single Judge. This is mentioned in the appeal memorandum and was pressed before us at the time of the hearing by the learned advocate for the appellant. The fact that the appellant's advocate pressed before the learned Judge for a reconsideration of the finding in the award as to the propriety of the dismissal of the respondent, in case the award is to be reopened in any respect and sent back is not disputed before us by the learned advocate for the respondent.

7. Bat then it was argued that the appellant was bound to prefer a petition under Article 226 to quash the findiner of the industrial tribunal that the respondent was ' not liable to be punished' and that it is not open to him to challenge it in the manner he has done. On the wide terms in which Article 226 is couched, we do not think that by allowing the appellant to take the point any jurisdictional principle or express procedural rule is violated. Though perhaps the procedure contained in the Code of Civil Procedure may be of some guidance in these proceedings, they cannot apply strictosensu. So long as the appellant was content to accept the award refusing the relief of reinstatement and awarding compensation, the appellant was not bound to seek to quash the finding relating to the dismissal of the respondent. But should the finding of the tribunal regarding propriety of the reinstatement is to be disturbed in a proceeding under Article 226, we feel that it must be open to the appellant to impeach the finding of the tribunal about the nature of the dismissal and to contend that there can be no reinstatement.

8. Moreover, the effective part of the award impeached by the respondent in the petition under Article 226 was the refusal to reinstate him. In view of this it is open to the appellant to contend that the question of reinstatement could not arise at all as the finding of the tribunal about the propriety of the dismissal is without jurisdiction and illegal and the refusal of the relief of reinstatement has occasioned no failure of Justice. In the nature of the approach by the industrial tribunal to the question of dismissal which we shall indicate presently, we feel that in exercising the Jurisdiction under Article 226, substantial Justice requires that the issue relating to the propriety of the dismissal has also to be reopened and remitted back for reconsideration. We do not express ourselves on the correctness of the finding of the tribunal on this part of the issue.

9. The grounds for interference by the industrial tribunal against an order of a domestic tribunal dismissing a worker are stated thus in Indian Iron and Steel Company v. their workmen 1958 -- 1 L.L.J. 260:

In cases of dismissal on misconduct, the tribunal does not, however, Act as a Court of appeal and substitute its own Judgment for that of the management. It will interfere

(i) when there is a want of good faith,

(ii) when there is victimization or unfair labour practice,

(iii) when the management has been guilty of a basic error or violation of a principle of natural justice, and

(iv) when on the materials the finding is completely baseless or perverse.

On a perusal of Ex. P. 1 we are satisfied that the approach made by the tribunal in considering the nature of the dismissal was not correct and the finding has to be set aside.

10. It was pointed out by the learned advocate for the respondent that the tribunal has pointed out in Ex. P. 1 that the action taken against his client is discriminatory and he is not liable to be punished and in view of this finding the tribunal was Justified in setting aside the dismissal order of the domestic tribunal. We are satisfied even on this aspect the tribunal has made a wrong approach. Unless the tribunal comes to the conclusion that the action of the management in dismissing the respondent was mala fide as it was based on irrational and unreasonable discrimination, the fact that one employee was proceeded against while another was not, is no justification for disturbing the finding of the domestic tribunal. We are of the view that this contention of the respondent is without any force.

11. We therefore set aside the finding in Ex. P. 1 award that the dismissal of the respondent is wrongful and accept the plea of the appellant that the tribunal may be directed to reconsider the matter. In the result, we allow the appeal in part and direct the industrial tribunal also to reconsider the question whether the dismissal of the respondent was wrongful along with the other matters remitted for consideration by the learned single Judge. The appeal is dismissed in other respects. We make no order as to costs.


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