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Workmen of the Sri Ranga Engineering Works Vs. Principal Labour Court and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1977)ILLJ80Mad
AppellantWorkmen of the Sri Ranga Engineering Works
RespondentPrincipal Labour Court and anr.
Cases ReferredLtd. v. Industrial Tribunal Gujarat and
Excerpt:
- - ultimately, the matter was considered by the conciliation officer and the conciliation officer submitted a failure report on 8-1-1973. the workers demanded a reference. these twenty workmen who are referred to in the reference were employed in the second respondent's company prior to its closure on 20th september, 1972. they were not in the employment after the company revived its work on 11th of december, 1972. in the conciliation proceedings they were claiming reinstatement and the conciliation officer also sent a failure report......in the light of these circumstances only we have to understand the ratio of the judgment. the question referred to being only with reference to the parent-company, the supreme court held that the question could not nave been referred for adjudication by the industrial tribunal. this decision would in no way help the second respondent4. on the facts of this case, there could be no doubt that the workers demanded the reinstatement and the management refused to reinstate them. the reference was, therefore, properly made and the rejection of the reference by the labour court was illegal. the labour court also went wrong in holding that if thiru k.s. narayanan was not legally competent to represent the workman, the reference would have to be rejected. the labour court over-looked that in.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V. Ramaswami, J.

1. The petitioners are certain workmen employed in the second respondent-company, Sri Ranga Engineering Works, which is a foundry. On the happening of certain incident on 16th September, 1972, the workers appear to have protested to the management about the alleged ill treatment of a workman which resulted in ' the closure of the factory by the management on and from 20th September, 1972. All the workers received notice of lock-out on the afternoon of 19th September, 1972. The workers tried to negotiate with the management to lift the lock-out and take them into employment. Ultimately, the matter was considered by the Conciliation Officer and the Conciliation Officer submitted a failure report on 8-1-1973. The workers demanded a reference. The Government agreeing with their demand, referred the following question for adjudication by the Labour Court in G.O. Rt. No. 976 dated

Annexure I

Whether the non-employment of the Workmen mentioned in Annexure II from 2-9-72 is justified ; If not, to what relief each would be entitled?Annexure II

1. Thiru G. Sundafavelu

2. Thiru K. Raju

3. Thiru P. Narayanan

4. Thiru A.V. Ganesan

5. Thiru C. Mari

6. Thiru E. Natesan

7. Thiru L. Munirathinam

8. Thiru Thangamani

9. Thiru V. Devaraj

10. Thiru S. Jayavelu

11. Thiru N. Rangasamy

12. Thiru S. Dandt-pani

13. Thiru G. Krishnan

14. Thiru C. Appathrai

15. Thiru Ram

16. Thiru Rajabather

17. Thiru K. Sankar

18. Thiru Jayavelu

19. Thiru S. Mannar

20. Thiru M. Prakasam

It is unnecessary to traverse into the facts prior to the incident on 16-9-1972. After the closure, the second respondent-management is alleged to have executed a lease deed in favour of one Jeevaratna Mudaliar and the factory itself came to be opened on 11-12-1972. : When the Labour Court took up the reference for adjudication, the management came forward with a case of lease in favour of Jeevaratna Mudaliar. Immediately, the workmen filed two applications LA. Nos. 246 of 1971 and 245 of 1974, one for impleading the alleged lessee in the dispute pending before the Labour Court and other for leave to file additional statement questioning the genuineness and validity of the lease deed itself. The Labour Court considered that it was not open for the workers to attack the validity or otherwise of the lease deed in the reference and that the workmen also should not be permitted to attack the validity of the lease deed on the ground that they had not disputed the same earlier. The Labour Court also thought that the question of non employment of the said twenty workmen was never raised as a dispute and that, therefore, the Government would not have referred that matter for adjudication. The Labour Court was also of the view that since the workmen were not members of a registered union, they are not competent to authorise Thiru K.S, Narayanan, B.A..B.L., to represent them before the Labour Officer and if Thiru K.S. Narayanan could not legally represent the workmen, the reference had to be rejected On these grounds, the Labour Court held that the reference made by the Government was invalid and dismissed the reference. Questioning the legality pf this award this writ petition has been filed.

2. The lease deed purported to have been executed by the second respondent manage, meat in favour of Jeevaratna Mudaliar is dated 11th December, 1972 and it is an un-registered lease deed. It was the case of the workers that they were never aware of the existence of this lease deed at any time before such a claim was made by the management at. the time of the trial before the Labour Court. They also questioned the genuineness of the lease deed itself. It is not the case of the management that either at any time earlier had they informed the workmen about the lease deed or that there was any occasion for the workmen to know about that document. It is an unregistered lease deed and, therefore, no question of presumption of notice even would arise. The Labour Court went wrong in thinking that the management could create a document pending ;. dispute and take away the jurisdiction of the Labour Court from adjudicating on the dispute. The question of legality, genuineness or validity of the lease deed executed subsequent to the closure is certainly a matter which could be gone into by the Labour Court and it is the Labour Court which could properly adjudicate that dispute also. The rejection of the application for impleading the lease, in those circumstances, was not justified to say the least. I am also surprised to note how the Labour Court could say that there was no depute relating to the non-employment of the workmen in this case. These twenty workmen who are referred to in the reference were employed in the second respondent's company prior to its closure on 20th September, 1972. They were not in the employment after the company revived its work on 11th of December, 1972. In the conciliation proceedings they were claiming reinstatement and the Conciliation Officer also sent a failure report. The Government considered that the dispute shall be referred to for adjudication by the Labour Court. I am at a loss, in those circumstances, to find how the Labour Court could come to a conclusion that there was no demand or dispute relating to the non-employment. The Labour Court had confused the issue by referring to the demands made by the workers on earlier occasions relating to the implementation of the Employees' State Insurance Scheme and other conditions of service with the dispute of non-employment. that was referred to for adjudication.

3. The learned Counsel for the second respondent while trying to support the order of the Labour Court relied on a decision of the Supreme Court reported in Sindhu Resettlement corporation Ltd. v. Industrial Tribunal Gujarat and other That was a case in which one Ambwaney was originally employed by Sindhu Resettlement Corporation Ltd., the appellant before the Supreme Court, as an accounts clerk. Later when another company called Makenzies Heinrich Bulzer (India) Ltd., in which the appellant-company was a principal share-holder was formed, the workmen became an employee of that company. His services in the new company were terminated after payment of retrenchment compensation from the appellant-company also. This was refused by the appellant-company. Thereafter, the Government referred the following question to the Industrial Tribunal:

Demand 1: R.S. Ambwaney should be reinstated in the service of Sindhi Resettlement Corporation Ltd., and he should be paid his wages from 21st February, 1958.

Sindhu Resettlement Corporation Ltd., referred to in this question is, as already stated, the original company in which the workman was employed. The Supreme Court held that the services of the workman under the Appellant-Corporation had come to an end when he was employed in Makenzies Hainrich Bulzar (India) Ltd., and, therefore, no industrial dispute, as was purported to be referred to by the Government had existed between the workmen and the Corporation. It is seen from the facts and the decision that the question of reinstatement of the workman in the original company could not have formed as a dispute between that company and the workman as he had already ceased to be a workman and became an employee of a different company and had also received retrenchment compensation from the later company. Therefore, in the light of these circumstances only we have to understand the ratio of the judgment. The question referred to being only with reference to the parent-company, the Supreme Court held that the question could not nave been referred for adjudication by the Industrial Tribunal. This decision would in no way help the second respondent

4. On the facts of this case, there could be no doubt that the workers demanded the reinstatement and the management refused to reinstate them. The reference was, therefore, properly made and the rejection of the reference by the Labour Court was illegal. The Labour Court also went wrong in holding that if Thiru K.S. Narayanan was not legally competent to represent the workman, the reference would have to be rejected. The Labour Court over-looked that in the reference itself, the Government has mentioned the names of twenty workmen in Annexure II and the question referred was whether the non-employment of those twenty workmen was justified. Each of these workmen were therefore, entitled to put forward their case before the Labour Court which the Labour Court is bound to consider and make its award. The award of the Labour Court is. therefore, illegal and liable to be set aside and it is accordingly set aside.

5. The result is that the Labour Court will now take up I.D. No. 63 of 1973 and go into the question on merits and dispose of the same according to law, There will be no order as to costs.


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