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Branch Manager S.B.I. v. P.O. & Others - WRIT - C No. 1228 of 1986  RD-AH 5367 (7 March 2006)
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO.1228 OF 1986
The Branch Manager, State Bank of India ......Petitioner
Presiding Officer, Central Government,
Industrial Tribunal and others. .....Respondents
Hon'ble Bharati Sapru, J.
Heard learned counsel for the petitioner. The judgment was passed on 13.1.2006. The respondent has moved a recall application saying that his name was not printed in the cause list and therefore he could not attend the matter. I have allowed his recall application and also hearing both the parties now.
The recall application was moved on 8.2.06 stating the reasons why the learned counsel for the respondent could not attend to the matter. In view of the averments made in the said recall application, I am again allowing the recall application and today also hearing both counsel for the parties.
The present petition has been filed by the petitioner bank against an award passed by the Industrial Tribunal dated 17.9.1985 in industrial dispute no. 238 of 1983. The order of reference is quoted herein below. :-
"Whether the action of the management of State Bank of India in relation to their Kunda Branch (Pratapgarh District) in terminating the services of Shri Amar Kumar Pande Guard with effect from 12.1.1983, is justified? If not, to what relief is the workman concerned entitled?"
The facts of the case are that the respondent workman was engaged as Badli Guard at the branch of the bank at Kunda, District Pratapgarh from 27.3.1982 and worked uptil 12.1.1983.
It is the case of the bank that it could have appointed Badli Guard under the rules applicable and therefore it did so. According to the respondent workman, he worked for more than 181 days but according to the management, he worked for 117 days. The respondent workman therefore claims that bank, by not giving appointment letter and termination letter, had violated the provisions of para 493, 522(4) and 522(5) of the Shastri Award. The respondent workman claimed that he had been wrongfully terminated.
I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and have perused the entire record of the case. The respondent workman in his written statement which is on record of the case has claimed in para 6 of the written statement that
"6.........Thus the Bank Manager intentionally violated para 493, 522 (4) and 522 (5) of the Shastri Award."
Para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award is quoted below:
"(4) The services of any employee other than a permanent employee or probationer may be terminated, and be may leave service, after 14 days notice. If such an employee leaves service without giving such notice, shall be liable for a week's pay including all allowances.
From a plain reading of para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award, it is abundantly clear that status of workman under the said para is that of a temporary employee. For compliance of para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award that is required is that if an employee is covered by the said para, if his services are terminated without any notice, he is liable to get a week's pay. This suggests that if there is a breach of the said para 522 (4), the consequence thereof would be that the employee would be liable to get damages for violation of the said para. The damages would be to the extent of 14 days wages including allowance but it cannot be inferred from the said provision that it would render giving an end of service under the said para as termination illegal.
Such being the claim of the respondent workman, it was wholly wrong on the part of the Industrial Tribunal to arrive at a conclusion that the termination of the respondent workman was bad or illegal or that he would therefore be given the status of a permanent workman and could be reinstated with full back wages.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has placed before this Court a judgment rendered by this Court in the case of Management of State Bank of India vs. Presiding Officer and ors. as reported in 1999 (4) AWC 3160 in which this Court has held that for violation of para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award at the most damages could have been payable to the respondent workman.
In the present case, the interim order was passed on 2.9.1985 which was subsequently modified on 6.8.1986 and by virtue of the said interim order, the said respondent workman had continued to work since then.
A counter affidavit has been filed by the respondent workman in the year 1986 in which his age has been declared to be 42 years and since then twenty years have passed, the respondent workman must have attained the age of 62 years and therefore the question of his reinstatement even otherwise, does not arise.
The respondent workman has availed the benefit of the interim order for the last twenty years. I respectfully agree with the view taken by our High Court in the case of Management of State Bank of India (supra) and I am of the opinion that at the most the respondent workman was entitled to claim damages of the wages for the period of 14 days for the violation of para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award. Therefore the impugned award is vitiated on account of the fact that it has reinstated the respondent workman with full back wages.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has also cited the decision of Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of State Bank of India Vs.Raja Ram (2004)8 Supreme Court Cases 164 in which a similar controversy had been raised and the Supreme Court held that the workmen was not entitled to either any relief of reinstatement or back wages.
The writ petition is allowed. The impugned award of the Industrial Tribunal dated 2.9.1985 passed in adjudication case no. 238 of 1983 is hereby quashed. However no back wages shall be payable to the respondent workman in terms of the impugned award, at the most 14 days wages may be paid to him as damages under para 522 (4) of the Shastri Award but it is also made clear that salary which was drawn by the respondent workman for the last twenty years when he had worked including by virtue of the interim order granted by this Court, shall not be recovered from the respondent workman.
Dated : 7.3.06
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