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K.N. Meera Mohideen and ors. Vs. A.K. Subramania Ayyar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1980)1MLJ114
AppellantK.N. Meera Mohideen and ors.
RespondentA.K. Subramania Ayyar and anr.
Cases ReferredPremier Automobiles Ltd. v. Kamalakar Shantaram Wadke and Ors.
Excerpt:
- .....because the statute had expressly provided for a particular mode of recovery, namely, under the revenue recovery act.3. the question of bar of jurisdiction as put forward in this case falls to be determined under section 33-c of the industrial disputes act. sub-section (2) of this section provides that where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money, the computation of the amount may be decided by a labour court specified by the appropriate government. sub-section (4) provides that the decision of the labour court on the question shall be forwarded by it to the appropriate government the subsection further provides that the amount declared by the labour court may be recovered in the manner.....
Judgment:

V. Balasubrahmanyan, J.

1. The appellants in this Civil Miscellaneous Appeal are a firm of partners carrying on business under the firm name 'Nowsath Industries.' The first respondent was once an employee under the firm, but he was discharged from service. The reopon, he moved the Labour Court to compute the amount due to him from his employer. The claim before the Labour Court was made under Section 33-C (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Labour Court, after inquiry, passed an order on 30th December, 1969, computing the first respondent's dues from his employer at Rs. 1296.04 with subsequent interest. This decision of the Labour Court was forwarded to the State Government in due course. The State Government thereafter issued a certificate to the District Collector to recover the amount from the appellant-firm as arrears of land revenue. It may be observed, at this stage, that those certificate proceedings were in accordance with what Section 33-C(l) provided as a mode of recovery of the amount found due by the Labour Court. However, the certificate proceedings were not fruitful. The first respondent accordingly filed a suit in the District Munsif Court, Tirunelveli, asking for a decree against the appellant firm for Rs. 1,296-04 together with interest amounting to Rs. 258-11, on the basis of the Labour Court's order dated 30th December, 1969. The suit was resisted by the appellant firm on the main ground that it was not maintainable. The argument urged was that the only remedy of an employee for recovery of the amount computed by a Labour Court was to have it recovered as land revenue arrears by the District Collector, and this remedy at once barred a civil suit. The trial Court accepted this defence and dismissed the suit as incompetent. On appeal, the Sub-Court, Tirunelveli, disagreed with the trial Court's decision and held that the suit did lie. In this view, the Sub-Court set aside the dismissal of the suit and directed the trial Court to try and determine it on merits.

2. In this Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed by the appellant-firm the correctness of the Sub-Court's order of remand is canvassed. It is urged that the suit was barred because the statute had expressly provided for a particular mode of recovery, namely, under the Revenue Recovery Act.

3. The question of bar of jurisdiction as put forward in this case falls to be determined under Section 33-C of the Industrial Disputes Act. Sub-section (2) of this section provides that where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money, the computation of the amount may be decided by a Labour Court specified by the appropriate Government. Sub-section (4) provides that the decision of the Labour Court on the question shall be forwarded by it to the appropriate Government The subsection further provides that the amount declared by the Labour Court may be recovered in the manner provided for in subsection (1).

4. Sub-section (1) of Section 33-C of the Act provides for recovery of the amount as arrears of land revenue. It says that where the Labour Court's decision is forwarded to the State Government that Government must satisfy itself as to whether the employer had paid the amount or not to the workman. If satisfied that the amount remains unpaid, then the State Government should issue a certificate to the District Collector. The District Collector shall the reopon execute the certificate and recover the amount in question as arrears of land revenue, and turn over the amount so realised to the workman concerned. The trial Court relied on this provision in Section 33-C (1) and held that it operated as an implied bar of the jurisdiction of Civil Court to entertain and try a suit by a workman against his employee for recovery of an amount computed by a Labour Court.

5. The trial Court, however, missed one important saving provision found in Section 33-C (1) itself. The section, while providing for recovery of the amount as arrears of land revenue, nevertheless took care at the same time to expressly enact that this mode of recovery was not exhaustive, but left at large all other available modes of recovery open to the workman under the law. This saving provision is to be spelled from the words, 'without prejudice to any other mode of recovery', occurring in Section 33-C (1) of the Act. I am, therefore, satisfied that far from Section 33-C (1) operating as a bar of suit, it actually saves the suit from any such bar.

6. Learned counsel for the appellants referred to a decision of the Supreme Court in Premier Automobiles Ltd. v. Kamalakar Shantaram Wadke and Ors. : (1975)IILLJ445SC . This decision only says that where a right sought to be enforced is a right created under the Industrial Disputes Act, the remedy for its enforcement can only be under that Act. This principle, however, cannot be applied to a decision of a Labour Court, under Section 33-C (2) of that Act, since under that provision the Act creates no new right, but only provides for an additional remedy, in addition to the workman's existing remedies at law.

7. In these circumstances, I hold that the first respondent's suit does lie for the relief as he has claimed. The order of remand passed by the Sub-Court is correct. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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