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Merla Jagannayakulu Vs. the Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Madras and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 1133 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1965Mad219; (1965)1MLJ320
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act - Sections 33-C(2); Revenue Recovery Act
AppellantMerla Jagannayakulu
RespondentThe Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Madras and ors.
Cases ReferredCentral Bank of India Ltd. v. Rajagopalan
Excerpt:
.....confined to computation of benefits arising out of award or settlement--employee claiming arrears of salary before labour court relying on contract of service--labour court no jurisdiction to award arrears of pay--employee can seek other remedies;the fifth respondent was a firm of partnership constituted on or about 25th september 1958. on 12th of september 1959 according to the petitioner he went out of partnership and ceased to be a partner. the fourth respondent claimed that he was employed in the firm from april 1958 to december 1959 and on 31st december 1959, the management terminated his services without any reason and without any notice. he claimed before the labour court retrenchment compensation, a fixed sum in lieu of notice and another lump sum as arrears of salary..........another sum of rs. 200 in lieu of notice, the sum being his salary for a month and rs. 4200 as arrears of salary from april 1958 to december 1959. the labour court allowed the entire claim. the petitioner states that he, having gone out of the partnership as early as september 1959, knew nothing about the proceedings under s. 33-c(2) and he had no notice of them. the first notice that he had was in or about august 1962, when the order of the labour court was sought to be executed against him under the provisions of the revenue recovery act by the collector of east godavari, on a request for the purpose from the collector of madras. he has, therefore, applied to this court to quash the order of the labour court.(2) it is argued for the petitioner that, nowhere in its order, the labour.....
Judgment:
(1) The fourth respondents on the ground that he had been retrenched from the service of the fifth respondent of which the petitioner was a partner applied to the Labour Court, Madras under S. 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, for computation of the benefits of retrenchment compensation, notice pay and arrears of wages. The fifth respondent was a firm of partnership constituted on or about 25-9-1958. On 12-9-1959, the petitioner went out of the firm and ceased to be a partner, as he claims. The first firm was engaged in production of a picture by name "Samajam" in Telugu. The fourth respondent claimed that he was employed in the from April 1958 to December 1959, and, on 31-12-1959, the management terminated his service without any reason and without any notice. He claimed Rs. 200 as retrenchment compensation, another sum of Rs. 200 in lieu of notice, the sum being his salary for a month and Rs. 4200 as arrears of salary from April 1958 to December 1959. The labour Court allowed the entire claim. the petitioner states that he, having gone out of the partnership as early as September 1959, knew nothing about the proceedings under S. 33-C(2) and he had no notice of them. The first notice that he had was in or about August 1962, when the order of the Labour Court was sought to be executed against him under the provisions of the Revenue Recovery Act by the Collector of East Godavari, on a request for the purpose from the Collector of Madras. He has, therefore, applied to this court to quash the order of the Labour Court.

(2) It is argued for the petitioner that, nowhere in its order, the labour court has directed its mind to find whether this was a case of retrenchment at all. I has not found that the services of the fourth respondent were dispensed with on the ground of surplus labour. It is only in such a case, according to the petitioner, the termination could be called as retrenchment.

(3) I think this contention is well founded, in Murugesa Naicker Co. v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court, 1963-1 Mad LJ 158 this court held that termination of services in order to be retrenched should be of surplus labour and in an industry which was continuing and not closed or transferred.Rathinaswami Nadar v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Madurai, also took the same view. In this case, as in the first of those cases, the labour court assumed that it automatically followed from its finding that the services of the workman had been terminated that he was retrenched from service. That is a misdirection, and the labour court's order in so far as it related to notice pay and retrenchment compensation, should be quashed.

(4) The further contention for the petitioner is that the lower court had no jurisdiction to compute arrears of salary. In Daniel Dorairaj v. Management, Buckingham and Carnatic Co, Ltd., this court, dealing with the scope of S. 33-C expressed the view that there was no special reason why sub-section (2) of Sec. 33-C should be read de hors the purpose of the section, namely to provide a machinery for speedy execution and as comprehending any benefit whatever awarded outside the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. I held that the words "any benefit" in S. 33-C(2) meant only that which flowed from a settlement or an award or under the provisions of Ch. V-A of the Industrial disputes Act. But Daniel Dorairaj v. Management of Buckingham and Carnatic Co. Ltd.,which was an appeal from took a different view following Central Bank of India v. Rajagopalan, .The learned Judges referring to the view in observed:

"The view taken by the learned Judge can no longer be supported having regard to the decision in . Their Lordships of the supreme Court, after exhaustively dealing with the scope of the section, held that sub-section (2) of S. 33-C was wider in scope than sub-section(1)".

was a case in which S. 33-C(2) was invoked for

computing the benefit arising from a private arbitration award. It has, therefore, to be taken that sub-section (2) of S. 33-C is wider in scope than sub-section (1) and not confined to computation of the benefits arising out of an award, settlement or under the provisions of Ch. VA of the Industrial Disputes Act. But how wider is sub-section (2) and what classes of cases will fall within its ambit is a matter which has to be decided in each case, and it is not possible to comprehensively lay down the classes of cases which may fall within its ambit. In fact in Central Bank of India Ltd. v. Rajagopalan, the supreme Court considered such an attempt to be not desirable. This is what the Supreme Court observed:

'Thus, our conclusion is that the scope of S. 33-C(2) is wider than S. 33-C(1) and cannot be wholly assimilated with it, though for obvious reasons, we do not propose to decide or indicate what additional cases would fall under S. 33-C(2) which may not fall under S. 33-C(1)".

But, their Lordships, at the same time, indicated:

"If an employee is dismissed or demoted and it is his case that the dismissal or demotion is wrongful, it would not be open to him to make a claim for the recovery of his salary or wages under section 33-C(2). His demotion or dismissal may give rise to an industrial dispute which may be appropriately tried, but once it is shown that the employer has dismissed or demoted him, a claim that the dismissal or demotion is unlawful and, therefore, the employee continues to be the workman of the employer and is entitled to be benefits due to him under a pre-existing contract, cannot be made under S. 33-C(2)."

This, no doubt, is a case where the fourth respondent claimed to have been retrenched from service. I have already held, that, in the absence of a finding that his termination of service was consequent upon the fact that he became a surplus, his claim did not fall within Ch. VA. He is no longer an employee of the firm; but he could have raised an industrial dispute on his non-employment. He is relying on his former contract of employment. He will have other remedies to realise his arrears of salary. In my opinion, to such a case, S. 33-C(2) will not be applicable for computation of arrears of salary. In fact, there appears to have been no dispute as to the quantum of salary per month which the fourth respondent was receiving, and hardly any problem can arise which could justifiably be brought under sub-section (2) of S. 33-C. No computation of any benefit in terms of money would arise in this case.

(5) On that view, the petition is allowed, and the order of the Labour court is quashed. There will be no order as to costs.

(6) Petition allowed.


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