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The Madras Co-operative Printing and Publishing Society Ltd., Represented by Its Secretary Vs. O. Ramalingam and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1975)IILLJ508Mad
AppellantThe Madras Co-operative Printing and Publishing Society Ltd., Represented by Its Secretary
RespondentO. Ramalingam and ors.
Cases ReferredShrimati Jamilabai Abdul Kadar v. Shankarlal Gulabchand and Ors.
Excerpt:
.....had the express authority of the management to enter into the compromise and the allegation in the affidavit filed in support of the petition, to say the least, is incorrect and unfounded. on the other hand it is well-settled that a counsel appearing for a party is always having an implied authority to enter into a compromise on behalf of his party. ), barring the lack of good faith, implied authority of a counsel to enter into a compromise could not be denied in india, therefore, both legally and in fact, the counsel who appeared for the management before the labour court, had the necessary authority to enter into the compromise and the compromise is legal, valid and binding on the management. the respondents also contended that all the cases which dealt with the matter of justness and..........has been filed.2. though the petitioner had raised a number of objections in the affidavit, the learned counsel for the petitioner, before me, confined himself to four of those objections. the first submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the compromise entered into and filed in court on 18-7-1973 was not valid in law. this was on the ground that the counsel appearing for the management of the petitioner was not' given any authorisation to enter into a compromise and that the petitioner was also not aware of the compromise. this allegation is denied by the respondents in their counter-affidavit. they have stated that in the enquiry held subsequent to the compromise to give effect to the terms thereof, sourirajulu, the deponent to the affidavit filed in support of.....
Judgment:

V. Ramaswami, J.

1. This is a petition for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the Additional Labour Court, Madras in I.D. No. 92 of 1971. The facts leading to the filing of this writ petitios are as follows: The first respondent was the president of the petitioner-society till 30-6-1969. He was also the editor of a daily which is a publication of the petitioner. The second respondent was the news editor of that daily. The first respondent was removed from the office of president of the society and one Sourirajulu was elected as the president. It appears that there was no love lost between the new president and the two respondents. Ultimately it led to some disciplinary action by the petitioner against the respondents and an enquiry officer was appointed by the petitioner. But, unfortunately the enquiry officer could not conclude his enquiry which was, according to the petitioner, due to the unhelpful attitude of the respondents. In view of the report of the enquiry officer, the management demoted the respondents to a lower post. But the respondents failed to report to duty on and from 22-6-1971 which ultimately led to their dismissal on 28-6-1971. The dispute about their dismissal and non-employment was the subject-matter of a conciliation proceedings and on the failure report, the Government referred the dispute to the Labour Court by its order, dated 20-7-1971. The issue referred to reads as follows:

Whether the non-employment of O. Ramalingam and M. Shanmugavel is justified and if not, to what relief they were entitled to; and

(b) to compute the relief if any to be awarded in terms of money if it could be so computed.

The above reference was taken on file by the Additional Labour Court. Madras, in I.D. No. 92 of 1971. On 18-7-1973. a compromise memo was signed by the counsel for the parties. The compromise memo reads as follows:

A. The management is agreeable to rescind the order of termination, dated 30-6-71 terminating the services of Messrs. O. Ramalingam and M. Shanmugavel on the understanding that the latter would not press for Reinstatement but would be willing to take compensation in lieu of reinstatement.

B. The quantum of compensation in lieu of reinstatement would be decided by the Additional Labour Court.

C. The reliefs to be granted to Mr. C. Ramalingam would be decided by the Additional Labour Court after the disposal of W.J. 3 of 1972.

D. Both the parties agree to apply to the Government or the Additional Labour Court for transferring the W.J. 3 of 1972 to the file of the Additional Labour Court from the file of the Principal Labour Court so as to decide the question of relief to be granted to O. Ramalingam.

This compromise memo was filed before the Additional Labour Court, Madras. It may be mentioned that W.J. No. 3 of 1972 which is referred to in the compromise memo related to the payment of dearness allowance to the first respondent which was pending before the Principal Labour Court, Madras. In pursuance of this compromise, on a petition filed by the respondents, the Government, in G.O. Ms. 606, dated 30-10-1973, transferred W.J. No. 3 of 1972 from the Principal Labour Court to the First Additional Labour Court, Madras. For giving effect to the compromise and for deciding the compensation to be paid in lieu of reinstatement, an enquiry was conducted by the Additional Labour Court. The enquiry was held on 15-12-1973 when the first respondent was examined as a witness. Number of documents were filed on behalf of the respondents. On behalf of the petitioner also three exhibits were filed. Oral arguments were addressed on 22-12-1973 and the award was made on 22-12-1973. The award was published on 10-1-1974. It is to quash this award the present writ petition has been filed.

2. Though the petitioner had raised a number of objections in the affidavit, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, before me, confined himself to four of those objections. The first submission of the learned Counsel for the petitioner was that the compromise entered into and filed in Court on 18-7-1973 was not valid in law. This was on the ground that the counsel appearing for the management of the petitioner was not' given any authorisation to enter into a compromise and that the petitioner was also not aware of the compromise. This allegation is denied by the respondents in their counter-affidavit. They have stated that in the enquiry held subsequent to the compromise to give effect to the terms thereof, Sourirajulu, the deponent to the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, was actually present and was instructing his advocate and in fact, on the basis of the instructions only, the first respondent was cross-examined when he was in the box. They also stated that even on the date of the arguments, the said Sourirajulu, the president of the society was present. After filing this counter-affidavit, the learned Counsel for the respondents wrote a letter to the learned Counsel who represented the management before the Labour Court, drawing his attention to the allegations in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition and asking for his remarks, if any. The advocate, who is a senior counsel of this Bar, has written in his letter that it is Sourirajulu, the deponent to the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition who had instructed him to enter into the compromise, that he was aware of the compromise and that as soon as the compromise was signed, he was also informed of the same. He had also confirmed the statement in the counter-affidavit that the said Sourirajulu was present when the documents were filed and oral evidence was taken on 15-12-1973 and also when the arguments were advanced on 22-12-1973. In spite of the counter-affidavit and the letter of the advocate which was actually addressed to the petitioner with a copy marked to the learned Counsel for the respondents, no reply-affidavit was filed by the petitioner controverting the allegations in the counter-affidavit and the letter of the learned Counsel. I am, therefore, fully satisfied that the counsel who appeared for the management before the Labour Court had the express authority of the management to enter into the compromise and the allegation in the affidavit filed in support of the petition, to say the least, is incorrect and unfounded. The learned Counsel for the petitioner went to the extent of stating a preposterous proposition that a counsel appearing in a case could not act on the oral instructions of his party and that he could enter into a compromise only on a written authorisation. On the other hand it is well-settled that a counsel appearing for a party is always having an implied authority to enter into a compromise on behalf of his party. The only limitation is that if there was any written prohibition or limitation, he will have to act within that prohibition of limitation. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in Shrimati Jamilabai Abdul Kadar v. Shankarlal Gulabchand and Ors. (C.A. No. 43 of 1968 S.C.), barring the lack of good faith, implied authority of a counsel to enter into a compromise could not be denied in India, Therefore, both legally and in fact, the counsel who appeared for the management before the Labour Court, had the necessary authority to enter into the compromise and the compromise is legal, valid and binding on the management.

3. It was next contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the Labour Court had not given any finding that the compromise was just, reasonable, proper and in the interest of the management of the petitioner-society and in the absence of any such finding, the award could not be made the basis of such a compromise. In meeting this argument, the learned Counsel for the respondents submitted that this is a case of compromise and not a settlement, which requires an interference of the Court on the question of reasonableness. Only in the case of settlements, the Courts have held that the reasonableness of the settlement will have to be gone into by the Labour Court. The respondents also contended that all the cases which dealt with the matter of justness and reasonableness of the compromise related to the workers' claim that the compromise was not valid, and not to cases like individual disputes as in this case. In other words, it is only where the settlement binds a large number of workmen and the compromise is entered into by a representative of the workmen, the Labour Court is bound to look into the justness and reasonableness of the settlement and not otherwise. It is not necessary for me to go into these respective contentions as I have already found that it is the deponent to the affidavit filed in support of the petition who had instructed the learned Counsel appearing for the management to enter into the compromise and he took part in the subsequent proceedings which were held in pursuance of that compromise. It is not open for him to question the compromise or otherwise to invalidate the same. I may also point out that it was not the case of the petitioner's counsel and in any case, though there is some allegation in the affidavit, he did not choose to argue before me that the compromise was in any way unreasonable or not just. There is, therefore, no substance in this contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner.

4. It was next contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the compromise itself suffers from lack of clarity and it is unenforceable for vagueness. In support of this argument, the learned Counsel for the petitioner relied on the first clause of the compromise which has already been set out. According to him, there is no reference to the date from which the compensation in lieu of reinstatement is to be paid and in fact, the Labour Court had to make a reference to this and ultimately find that the compensation will have to be ascertained as on the date of the compromise. There is no substance in this contention of the petitioner either. There was a dismissal order which, by the compromise, has been rescinded and which means that the respondents shall be deemed to have been in service till the date of compromise. Certainly, therefore, the compensation, will have to be ascertained as on the date of the compromise. Further, the compensation is related to a number of other factors which we need not refer to here. On the basis of the relevant factors, the Labour Court had fixed the compensation payable. I am, therefore, unable to accept this contention of the petitioner.

5. Lastly, it was contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that one of the amounts that was directed to be paid was the share capital held by the respondents in the co-operative society. According to the learned Counsel, there was no reference of this matter to the Labour Court and, therefore, the Court had acted beyond its jurisdiction. Further. it is stated that the repayment of the share capital is governed by bye-law 8 of the Society and if any dispute arises with regard to the repayment of share capital, it will have to be decided by the Registrar of co-operative societies and it could not be a subject-matter of dispute before the Labour Court. Be that as it may, I find that the amount was directed to be returned on the basis that the management had no objection for repayment of the same. When once I do not accept the contention of the petitioner that the petitioner was not aware of the compromise or the further proceedings, the fact that there was no objection shows that he could not question it in these proceedings under Article 226. Further, it has not been challenged in the affidavit that the management did not give any consent for the repayment of the money. There were amounts belonging to the respondents and they are entitled to the same and no onerous obligation is cast by reason thereof. No other ground was raised at the time of argument. For these reasons', the writ petition is liable to be dismissed.

6. The learned Counsel for the respondents contended that in view of the fact that in the affidavit false allegations have been made against a leading counsel of this Bar and the respondents, this is the matter in which exemplary costs are allowable to the respondents. It is true that the petitioner has suppressed material facts of his presence in Court at the time of enquiry on 15-12-1973 and on 22-12-1974 and also the facts that he had instructed the counsel to enter into the compromise. These are very serious matters does call for at least a strong disapproval of the conduct of the petitioner. Though no exemplary costs could be given, certainly the respondents are entitled to their costs in this writ petition. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed with costs. Counsel fee, Rs. 150. The rule nishi is discharged.


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