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The General Manager, Southern Railway, Madras, Represented by the Divisional Superintendent, Tiruchirapalli Vs. M.S. Sarangapani and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 4137 of 1978
Judge
Reported in(1982)ILLJ370Mad
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 2 and 33C(2)
AppellantThe General Manager, Southern Railway, Madras, Represented by the Divisional Superintendent, Tiruchi
RespondentM.S. Sarangapani and anr.
Cases ReferredIn Central Bank of India v. Rajagopalan
Excerpt:
.....if the said right is disputed the labour court must deal with that question and decide whether the workman has the right to receive the benefit as alleged by him and it is only if the labour court answered this point in favour of the workman that the next question of making the necessary computation can arise .the claim under s 33c(2) clearly postulates that the determination of the question about computing the benefit in terms of money may, in some cases, have to be preceded by an enquiry into the existences of the right and such an enquiry must be held to be incidental to the main determination which has been assigned to the labour court by sub-s. in those circumstances, it will be perfectly within the competence of the 2nd respondent to assess as to the tenability or otherwise of the..........: 'in our opinion on a fair and reasonable construction of sub-s. (2) it is clear that if a workman's right to receive the benefit is disputed, that may have to be determined by the labour court. before proceeding to compute the benefit in terms of money, the labour court inevitably has to deal with the questions as to whether the workman has a right to receive that benefit. if the said right is not disputed, nothing more needs to be done and the labour court can proceed to compute the value of the benefit in terms of money, but if the said right is disputed the labour court must deal with that question and decide whether the workman has the right to receive the benefit as alleged by him and it is only if the labour court answered this point in favour of the workman that the next.....
Judgment:

1. The General Manager, Southern Railway an employer within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 hereinafter referred to as the Act, is the petitioner. The 1st respondent is the workman within the meaning of the Act. The 1st respondent was in the services of the petitioner and ultimately he retired on the afternoon of 18-8-1973. Earlier he had been agitating for refixat on of seniority. But the order of refixing the seniority came to be passed only on 19-11-1975 and it was given effect to from (on) 22-5-1966. On 27-11-1975 an order was passed refixing the scale of pay of the 1st respondent on the basis of the refixation of the seniority. It is true that in these two orders it is stated that the arrears of salary on the basis of refixation of seniority and refixation of scale of pay would not be paid. However, armed with these two orders, the 1st respondent approached the second respondent under S. 33C(2) of the Act for computation of the benefits of arrears of salary together with interest. Before the 2nd respondent the petitioner contested the claims of the 1st respondent by stating that the claim of the 1st respondent could not be maintained under S. 33C(2) of the Act since in the very orders on the basis of which the claims of the 1st respondent were projected have made it clear that the arrears of salary would not be paid. The petitioner further contended that the 1st respondent having retired the petition under S. 33C(2) of the Act, is not maintainable. These contentions of the petitioner have been discountenanced by the 2nd respondent and he has computed the arrears of salary at Rs. 1,450-90 with interest at six per cent per annum from 19-3-1973 till date of payment. The order of the 2nd respondent is being challenged in the present writ petition.

2. Mr. K. Venkateshwara Rao, learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that though the petitioner raised the contention that the claim petition under S. 33C(2) of the Act at the instance of the 1st respondent who was not workmen of the petitioner on the date of the claim was not maintainable it has not been specifically dealt with by the Labour Court. The learned counsel made an attempt to prosecute this submission further, but he has to give it up in view of the express pronouncement of this Court, in Manicka Mudaliar v. Labour Court, Madras and another, : (1961)ILLJ592Mad . In that case a Division Bench of this Court consisting of Rajamannar, Chief Justice and Venkatadri, J., has held that there is nothing in S. 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act which says that only a workman could apply under that provision. All that it says that where a workman is entitled to receive from the employer any benefit the amount of such benefit may be determined by the Labour Court. The Bench further points out that the use of the passive in that provision contemplates that the application may be made by a person, who on the date of the application was not a workman as defined in S. 2(s) of the Act, but was a workman during the period in respect of which he was entitled to any benefit.

3. The next submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the right of the workman to receive the benefit of arrears of salary has not been accepted by the petitioner, the employer, in the absence of an adjudication over this issue by a competent authority, it is not possible to countenance the claims of the workman, the 1st respondent herein, in proceedings under S. 33C(2) of the Act. This again is the result of a misconception of the factual and the legal position. By the orders dated 19-11-1975 and 27-11-1975, there was refixing of the seniority and refixing of the scale of pay of the 1st respondent. That settles the issue with regard to refixing of seniority and refixing of scale of pay. Of course the petitioner projected a stand that arrears of salary on the basis of refixation of seniority and refixation of scale of pay would not be paid. In other words while the petitioner conceded the basis of the right of the 1st respondent, the petitioner was not prepared to concede the claims of the 1st respondent on such basis. In Central Bank of India v. Rajagopalan, 1961 II L.L.J. 89, the Supreme Court points out as follows :

'In our opinion on a fair and reasonable construction of sub-s. (2) it is clear that if a workman's right to receive the benefit is disputed, that may have to be determined by the Labour Court. Before proceeding to compute the benefit in terms of money, the Labour Court inevitably has to deal with the questions as to whether the workman has a right to receive that benefit. If the said right is not disputed, nothing more needs to be done and the Labour Court can proceed to compute the value of the benefit in terms of money, but if the said right is disputed the Labour Court must deal with that question and decide whether the workman has the right to receive the benefit as alleged by him and it is only if the Labour Court answered this point in favour of the workman that the next question of making the necessary computation can arise ......

The claim under S 33C(2) clearly postulates that the determination of the question about computing the benefit in terms of money may, in some cases, have to be preceded by an enquiry into the existences of the right and such an enquiry must be held to be incidental to the main determination which has been assigned to the Labour Court by sub-s. (2) as Maxwell has observed :

'Where an act confers a jurisdiction, it impliedly also grants the power of doing all such acts, or employing such means, as are essentially necessary to its execution,' (Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes P. 350). We must accordingly hold that S. 33C(2) takes within its purview cases of workmen who claim that the benefit to which they are entitled should be computed in terms of money even though the right to the benefit on which their claim is based is disputed by their employers.

4. If this principle is kept in mind, there is no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that in the instant case, there is no dispute about the basis of the right of the 1st respondent as found expressed in Exts. P. 1 and P. 2. But the petitioner had merely expressed a view that the 1st respondent should not be entitled to arrears of salary. In those circumstances, it will be perfectly within the competence of the 2nd respondent to assess as to the tenability or otherwise of the denial of the claim of the 1st respondent by the petitioner. This is what has been done in the instant case and no exception could be taken to the adjudication of the matter by the 2nd respondent.

5. In this view, I do not find a warrant for interference in a writ proceedings, accordingly, the writ petition fails and the same is dismissed. But there will be no order as to costs.


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