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THE DISTRICT MANAGER & ANOTHER versus CENTRAL GOVERNMENT INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL AND ORS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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The District Manager & Another v. Central Government Industrial Tribunal And Ors - WRIT - C No. 6892 of 1999 [2007] RD-AH 10097 (24 May 2007)

 

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

(Judgment reserved on 21.02.2007)

(Judgment delivered on 24.05.2007)

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.6875 of 1999

District Manager, Food Corporation of India, District Office, Allahabad and another Vs. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Pandunagar, Kanpur and others

AND

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 6885 of 1999

District Manager, Food Corporation of India, District Office, Allahabad and another Vs. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Pandunagar, Kanpur and others

AND

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.6888 of 1999

District Manager, Food Corporation of India, District Office, Allahabad and another Vs. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Pandunagar, Kanpur and others

AND

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.6891 of 1999

District Manager, Food Corporation of India, District Office, Allahabad and another Vs. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Pandunagar, Kanpur and others

AND

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.6892 of 1999

District Manager, Food Corporation of India, District Office, Allahabad and another Vs. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Pandunagar, Kanpur and others

Hon'ble S.U. Khan, J.

Five cases of different sets of persons were filed before Presiding Officer, Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum Labour Court, Kanpur Nagar under Section 33-C(2) of Industrial Disputes Act. The cases were registered as LCA No.15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, all of 1998. All the five cases were decided by common order dated 17.11.1998. These five writ petitions are directed against the said order. All the persons, who were applicants in the LCAs before Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, had claimed that they had worked at Food Storage Depot, Fatehpur of petitioner-Food Corporation of India in between November, 1994 to December,1997 (three years) but they had not been paid their wages. Food Corporation of India out rightly denied the engagement of the applicants. The stand of FCI was that no claimant had ever worked with it. None of the applicants filed any evidence to show that they had ever worked with the petitioner, except their identity cards. The allegation that about 100 workmen were not paid single penny for their entire service period which was of three years was fantastic on the face of it.

The question is as to whether in view of the dispute regarding factum of employment engagement itself provisions of Section 33-C(2) of I.D. Act are applicable or not.

Section 33-C(2) of the I.D. Act is quoted below:-

"(2) 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 and if any question arises as to the amount of money due or as to the amount at which such benefit should be computed, then the question may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, be decided by such Labour Court as may be specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government [within a period not exceeding three months.]"

Both the parties have cited several authorities on this proposition. Learned counsel for the applicants before the Labour Court placed reliance upon the Constitution Bench of Authority of the Supreme Court reported in AIR 1964 SC 743 "Central Bank of India Ltd. v. P. S. Rajagopalan". The Supreme Court has held that Section 33C(2) is applicable, even though a right to the benefit, on which claim of the workman is based, is disputed by the employer. However, in the Constitution Bench Authority, it has also been held that in case the employer stated that he had terminated the services of the employee, then under Section 33C(2) claim is not maintainable and in the said claim validity of termination order cannot be adjudged. (Para-19) The Supreme Court clearly held that proceedings under Section 33 C(2) par take the nature of the execution proceedings and only that much adjudication is permissible, which can be done by an Executing Court.  It may be noticed that three Hon'ble Judges of the Constitution Bench Authority in Central Bank of India decided another case after about two weeks, i.e. on 09.05.1963, which is reported in Bombay Gas Com. Vs. Gopal Bhiva, AIR 1964, SC 752 (Constitution Bench Authority of Central Bank of India was decided on 19.04.1963). In the authority of Bombay Gas Com., it was held that proceedings contemplated by Section 33-C(2) are in many cases analogous to execution proceedings.

Learned counsel for the applicants before Labour Court has also cited the following authorities decided on 02.02.1962, Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Ganesh Razak and another 1995 (1) SCC 235, East India Coal Co. Vs. Rameshwar, 1968 ILLJ 218 (SC), Punjab Beverages Vs. Suresh Chand, AIR 1978 SC 995.

Recently the Supreme Court has discussed the nature and extent of Section 33-C(2) in the following authorities:-

In the authority of U.P.S.R.T.C. Vs. Virendra Bhandari, AIR 2006 SC 3220, employees of State Road Transport Corporation claimed enhanced wages on the basis of Vth Pay Commission. Labour Court held that recommendations of Vth Pay Commission were binding on Corporation, hence wages in accordance therewith could be directed to be paid under Section 33-C(2). Supreme Court did not agree with the said view.

In the authority of AIR 2006 SC 1784 "Union of India v. Kankuben", it was held that claim of railway workers for over-time allowances was not tenable under Section 33-C(2).

In the authority of State of U.P. Vs. Brijpal Singh, 2005 (8) SCC 58, it was held that right to money or benefit, which is sought to be recovered under Section 33-C(2) must be an existing one, that is already adjudicated upon and must arise in course of and in relation to relationship between industrial workman and employer.

In the authority of Tara and others Vs. Director Social Welfare, 1999 LIC 228 (SC), it was held that if status and nature of employment of appellants as Anganwari workers/helpers was disputed, then application under Section 33-C(2) was not tenable.

In the authority of State Bank of India Vs. Ram Chandra Dubey, 2001 (1) SCC 73, also Supreme Court held that under Section 33-C(2) there must be pre-existing benefit or one flowing from existing right.

In the authority of P.K. Singh Vs. Presiding Officer 1988 (3) SCC 457, also it was held that where workman's claim under Section 33-C(2) cannot be disposed of unless his right to such claim is first adjudicated on a reference under section 10(1) , then application under Section 33-C(2) is not maintainable.

In the authority of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (supra) cited by learned counsel for the alleged workmen, it was held that under Section 33-C(2), there cannot be adjudication of dispute of entitlement or basis of claim of workman and the said provision is like execution.

The latest authority of the Supreme Court on the interpretation of Section 33-C(2) is reported in Ghaziabad Zila Sahkari Bank Ltd. Vs. Additional Labour Commissioner 2007 (2) ADJ 25 (SC). The said case was decided on 17.01.2007. The said case was under Section 6-H of U.P.I.D. Act. In the said case, also it was held that highly disputed claim of the workman cannot be adjudicated under Section 6-H of U.P.I.D. Act or Section 33-C(2), I.D. Act, which are in the nature of execution. In the said authority, reliance was placed upon Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Vs. the workman and another, (1974) 4 SCC 696.

In view of the above, I am of the opinion that highly disputed claim of the applicants before the Labour Court was not tenable under Section 33-C(2) of Industrial Disputes Act, particularly when the very factum of employment of the applicants had been denied by the employer.

Accordingly, writ petitions are allowed. Impugned orders are set aside.

Date:24.05.2007

NLY


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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