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Shantilal Bafna Vs. the Rajasthan State Electricity Board and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2103 of 1980
Judge
Reported in1982WLN(UC)37
AppellantShantilal Bafna
RespondentThe Rajasthan State Electricity Board and ors.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases Referred(Brijlal v. Rajasthan State Electricity Board
Excerpt:
.....february 22, 1972. the aforesaid settlement only provides one grade (scale no. 3, item no. 21) for meter reader/checker, and, therefore, the petitioner is entitled to be fixed in that grade.;(c) estoppel and industrial disputes act, 1947 - section 18 (2)--no estoppel against statute--petitioner not knowing that second settlement is invalid--held, no case of estoppel is made out.;there can be no estoppel against statute. the petitioner was not knowing and could not know that it is the first settlement dated february 22, 1972 which was in force and the second settlement dated december 6, 1972 was not invalid, and, therefore, no case of estoppel is made out against the petitioner.;(d) constitution of india - article 226-delay--employee entitled to fixation--petition filed after decision of..........civil writ petition no. 2103 of 1980. the petitioner is a graduate and came to be appointed as meter reader vide order dated june 19, 1973 of the executive engineer (dd), jaipur, rajasthan state flactricity board (short 'board' here in after). he joined as such on june 19, 1973 and since then he is continuing in the pay scale of rs. 80-5-110-6-152-7-194. prantiya vidhjut mandal mazdoor federation was a recognised trade union of the board some where in the year 1970. it presented a demand before the labour department of the government of rajasthan. while the industrial dispute was pending between the union and the board, on february 22, 1972 during the course of conciliation proceedings a settlement was arrived at and it was agreed that the existing scales of pay of various categories.....
Judgment:

M.B. Sharma, J.

1. The points involved in all the writ petitions are identical and therefore they are being disposed of by a common order.

2. It will be suffice to give the facts in S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2103 of 1980. The petitioner is a Graduate and came to be appointed as Meter Reader vide Order dated June 19, 1973 of the Executive Engineer (DD), Jaipur, Rajasthan State Flactricity Board (short 'Board' here in after). He joined as such on June 19, 1973 and since then he is continuing in the pay scale of Rs. 80-5-110-6-152-7-194. Prantiya Vidhjut Mandal Mazdoor Federation was a recognised Trade Union of the Board some where in the year 1970. It presented a demand before the Labour Department of the Government of Rajasthan. While the industrial dispute was pending between the Union and the Board, on February 22, 1972 during the course of conciliation proceedings a settlement was arrived at and it was agreed that the existing scales of pay of various categories of post would be revised with effect from 1st April, 1969 in accordance with pay scale set out in Annex. 'A' to the settlement (to be referred here after as the past settlement). Pay Scale No. 2 was Rs. 80-5-110-6-152-7-194. Pay scale No. 3 was of Rs. 126-8-150-10-250. In the past settlemtnt the post of Meter Reader/Checker was placed under the aforesaid pay scale No. 3 at item Ho. 21. The aforesaid settlement was sought to be modified by an amendment dated December 6, 1972 (Annsxure 3) (to be referred here after as second settlement) and in schedule to Annexre 'A' of the first settlement under pay scale No. 2 Technical, category No. 7 Meter Reader II/Meter Checker II and a note to the following effect was inserted:

Meter Reader II/Meter Checker II appointed/promoted/adjusted/ fixed on or before 31-3-1968 will be fixed in pay scale No. 3 instead of pay scale No. 2.

In Schedule 'A' to the first settlement under pay scale No. 3 Technical for category So. 21 Meter Reader/Meter Checker 'No. 21, Meter 'Reader 1/ Meter Checker 1' was substituted.

3. The case of the petitioner is that the validity of the notification dated December 6, 1972 (second settlement) was challenged by way of a writ petition before this Court, and ultimately this Court allowed the writ petition vide judgment dated March 21, 1979 (Brijlal v. Rajasthan State Electricity Board, Jaipur) 1979 Weekly Law Notes UC 221 and notification dated December 6, 1972 was quashed.

4 The Board in reply to the show cause notice issued to it does not dispute that in the aforesaid case this Court had quashed the notification dated December 6, 1972. According to the Board so far as the petitioners are concerned, they were appointed even after the second settlement. The posts were advertised as Meter Reader [[ in the scale of Rs. 80-194. The petitioner Shantilal was selected and joined on the said post so he is thus estopped now from challenging the grades which were offered to him and which he accepted.

5. This Court in the case of Brijlal (supra) has dealt with the first settlement dated February 22, 1972 and the second settlement dated December 6, 1972 by which the first settlement was amended. It held,

The second settlement thus modifies the conditions of service of the workmen, i.e. Meter Readers, as laid down in the first settlement. It cannot be regarded as a settlement which resolves any difficulty or doubt arising as to the interpretation of any provisions of the first settlement and therefore it was not permissible for the management of the respondent Board and the Prantiya Vidhyut Mandal Mazdoor Federation, the recognised Trade Union, to enter into Second Settlement so long as the First Settlement was in operation.

It also observed:

The result is that the second settlement and the notification dated 6th December, 1972 which seeks to implement the second settlement where by the Meter Readers have been divided into two categories and Meter Readers II have been given a lower pay scale cannot be upheld.

6. In the aforesaid case the classification of Meter Reader (II) on the basis of an arbitrary date, that is, 1st April, 1968 was held to be irrational having no basis and no nexus what soever with the object sought to be achieved by the impugned notification viz. improvement in the conditions of service of the employees of the respondent Board. It was also quashed on this ground,

7. In view of the aforesaid authority of this Court, it cannot be disputed that the first settlement dated February 22, 1972 arrived at during the course of conciliation proceedings was binding not only on the Union but also on the workmen, who were then employed with the Board and also on those who were to join later on. Under Section 18(3) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 the settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings under the Act shall be binding on (a) parties to the industrial dispute, (b) all other parties summoned to appear in the proceedings as parties to the dispute, (c) on the employer, his heir successor or assignee in respect of the establishment to which the disputt relates and (d) to workmen, that is all persons who were employed in the establishment or part of the establishment, as the case may be, to which the dispute relates on the date of the dispute and all persons who subsequently were employed in that establishment or part.

(emphasis added).

8. Once the second settlement dated December 6, 1972 no longer exists in view of noncompliance with Section 19(2) of the aforesaid Act and in view of the decision of this Court in Brijlal's case (supra), the only settlement which can be said to be in existence is the first settlement dated February 22, 1972. The aforesaid settlement only provides one grade (scale No. 3, Item No. 21) for Meter Reader/Checker, and, therefore, the petitioner is entitled to be fixed in that grade. Merely because the post of Meter Reader II/Checker II was advertised with pay scale No. 2 and the petitioner applied and was selected, it cannot be said that the petitioner is estopped now from challenging his fixation in the aforesaid pay scale. There can be no estoppel against Statute. The petitioner was not knowing and could not know that it is the first settlement dated February 22, 1972 which was in force and the settlement dated December 6, 1972 was not valid, and, therefore, no case of estoppel is made out against the petitioner.

9. Once this Court had quashed the second settlement dated December 6, 1972 and held that the first settelement dated 22-2-72 was in force, it was necessary for the Board to have fixed the Meter Reader/Checker in scale No. 3 Item No. 21 of Schedule 'A' to the first settlement. The Board inspire of demand made to it by the petitioner in this behalf refused to do it.

10. Even if an employee is entitled for fixation in a particular pay scale, then it gives him a continuing cause of action if the employer does hot do so. Therefore, merely because the writ petition was filed in this Court after the decision of Brijlal's case (supra) I am not inclined to dismiss the writ petition only on the ground of delay.

11. In the result, I allow all the writ petitions and issue a writ of mandamus to the respondents to fix the petitioners in the pay scale No. 3 as revised from time to time. Costs are made easy.


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