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Gungaram Tea Company Ltd. Vs. Second Labour Court and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1967)IILLJ325Cal
AppellantGungaram Tea Company Ltd.
RespondentSecond Labour Court and anr.
Cases ReferredSushil Kumar Sen Gupta v. State Transport Authority and Ors.
Excerpt:
- .....when on the next day the case was taken up for hearing, the company's lawyer was present but the union representing the workmen did not attend. on 21 april 1965, again the company's lawyer was present but the lawyer of neither the respondent-workmen nor the union attended before the tribunal. some of the witnesses of the petitioner were examined on this date. on the following day, namely, 22 april 1965, petitioner's lawyer was present and anr. witness on behalf of the petitioner was examined. on 23 april 1965, the petitioner's lawyer was present but neither the workmen nor the union cared to attend before the tribunal. the manager of the petitioner-tea garden was examined and certain documents were proved. on 23 april 1965 the tribunal recorded an order that the evidence was closed and.....
Judgment:

B.C. Mitra, J.

1. In this application under Article 226 of the Constitution the petitioner seeks appropriate writs and orders directing the respondents to set aside, revoke, cancel or rescind an order made on 19 May 1965 and also to forbear from enforcing or giving effect to the same.

2. By an order dated 24 July 1961 an Industrial dispute between the petitioner and some of its workmen at the tea garden was referred to the fifth Industrial tribunal, West Bengal. During the pendency of this adjudication some of the workmen of the petitioners in the said tea estate are alleged to have committed various acts of mis-conduct warranting their dismissal. Such misconduct, It is alleged, was not connected with the pending dispute which was awaiting adjudication.

3. On or about 21 August 1964 charge sheets were issued to the workmen involved Including respondents 2 to 5 in this petition. Some of the workmen refused to accept the chargesheets and thereupon the same were served upon them by registered post. By the chargesheets the workmen were called upon to explain by 7 a.m. on 25 August 1964, to the manager of the petitioner's tea garden why they should not be dismissed or otherwise punished. The respondents were also informed by the chargesheets that an enquiry Into their cases would be held at the garden office at 7 a.m. on 25 August 1964. The workmen, including respondents 2 to 5, however, failed and neglected to appear at the enquiry which was held on 14 and 16 September 1964 by the manager of the tea garden.

4. Witnesses were examined in respect of the charges framed by the petitioner and on conclusion of this domestic enquiry, the manager of the tea garden, who was the enquiry officer, gave his finding to the effect that the workmen Including respondents 2 to 6 herein were guilty of the offences and/or misconduct they had been charged with.

5. On the basis of the findings of the enquiry officer mentioned above, the petitioner duly dismissed the workmen including respondents 2 to 5 hereinafter serving proper notice on them and offering each of them one month's wages In compliance with the requirement of Section 33(2)(b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Thereafter, six applications were made by the petitioner In respect of the said workmen under Section 33(2)(b) of the Act before the fifth Industrial tribunal, West Bengal. These applications were transferred by the said tribunal for disposal to respondent 1. Thereafter certain proceedings took place and ultimately at the suggestion of the lawyer for the respondents the hearing of the said applications under Section 33(2)(b) of the Act was fixed at Darjeeling. Between 7 October 1964 and 15 April 1965, the lawyers of the parties appeared before the tribunal and made various submissions with regard to further hearing of the applications. It appears from the order-sheet, however, that on 19 April 1965, the company's lawyer and manager were present but no one appeared on behalf of the union. When on the next day the case was taken up for hearing, the company's lawyer was present but the union representing the workmen did not attend. On 21 April 1965, again the company's lawyer was present but the lawyer of neither the respondent-workmen nor the union attended before the tribunal. Some of the witnesses of the petitioner were examined on this date. On the following day, namely, 22 April 1965, petitioner's lawyer was present and Anr. witness on behalf of the petitioner was examined. On 23 April 1965, the petitioner's lawyer was present but neither the workmen nor the union cared to attend before the tribunal. The manager of the petitioner-tea garden was examined and certain documents were proved. On 23 April 1965 the tribunal recorded an order that the evidence was closed and directed the matter to be put up on 3 May 1985, for orders. It appears from the order-sheet that on 27 April 1965, one D. L. Sen Gupta appeared for the union and the workmen and made certain submissions and on the same day, one Anil Banerjee filed a petition for giving an opportunity to the respondent-workmen to be heard and on 19 May 1965, the tribunal recorded an order that the secretary of the union had filed a petition for hearing the case afresh and also noted that this petition for fresh hearing was seriously opposed but it went on to hold that the prayer made on behalf of the union should be allowed for ends of justice.

6. It is this order made on 19 May 1965, that has been challenged by the petitioner In the present application. It is contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the tribunal which is a statutory body has no inherent power to direct the matter to be heard afresh after evidence was closed. In support of this contention, reliance was placed on a judgment of this Court in Sushil Kumar Sen Gupta v. State Transport Authority and Ors. 70 C.W.N. 341, In which It was held by Banerjee, J.:

that the reasons which endow the Courts with the inherent powers do not apply to the tribunals. As such, It cannot be conceded that statutory tribunals have Inherent powers to make the orders not provided for by the enabling statute on the plea of Barring the ends of justice.

7. It seems to me that the contention raised on behalf of the petitioner Is well-founded. The tribunal is a statutory authority. It has, therefore, no inherent power to direct a matter to be heard afresh after an order was recorded that evidence was closed. It IB abundantly clear that the tribunal gave sufficient opportunity both to the respondent-workmen as also to the union to appear before it and present their case with regard to the application under Section 33(2)(b) of the Act. This opportunity was not availed of and there Is no reason whatsoever why the tribunal which is a statutory body should be allowed to hear a matter afresh, when the statute, by which it was created, does not expressly or by implication confer any such power upon It.

8. In that view of the matter this application succeeds. The rule Issued herein Is made absolute. There will be no order as to costs.


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