High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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The Haryana State Agriculture Marketing v. Labour Court-cum-Industrial Tribunal,His - CWP-11871-2006  RD-P&H 5977 (25 August 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
C.W.P. No. 11871 of 2006
DATE OF DECISION: 3.8.2006
The Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board ..PETITIONER
Labour Court-cum-Industrial Tribunal,Hisar & Anr.
CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE J.S. NARANG.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARVIND KUMAR,
Present:- Mr. Deepak Balyan, Advocate
for the petitioner.
The petitioner-Board is aggrieved by the award dated 2.3.2006 passed by the Labour Court whereby the respondent No.2-workman has been ordered to be reinstated with continuity of service and all other consequential benefits including 50% back wages from the date of issuance of demand notice i.e. 4.2.2002 till the publication of the award and full wages thereafter till his re-instatement.
It emerges out from the record that respondent No.2-workman raised an industrial dispute challenging the action of the petitioner-Board of terminating his services. It was his case that he was appointed as work charge employee in the year 1994. He discharged his duties as Driver on Road Roller and worked as such till 30.11.2001 when his services were illegally terminated in gross violation of the provisions of Section 25-F of the Act.
2 C.W.P. No. 11871 of 2006
The claim of the workman was contested by the petitioner- Board by alleging that the workman had not completed 240 days of service in any calendar year. He had worked as labourer only from September 1995 to November 1995, January 1996 to April 1996 and January 1997 to March
1997. Therefore, he is not entitled to any relief. Besides objections regarding the jurisdiction of Labour Court and questioning the maintainability of claim being time barred were raised.
The Labour Court vide the impugned award held that the services of workman were terminated without complying with the provisions of Section 25-F of the Act. The issues whether the petitioner- Board is an industry or not and that the claim of the workman is time barred, were answered against the petitioner-Board. Accordingly, the Labour Court allowed the claim of the workman, in the manner noticed above.
It is only due to this, the petitioner-Board has challenged the award dated2.3.2006 through the instant writ petition.
We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner and have also gone through the paper book as also the impugned award.
The counsel for the petitioner contends that the respondent- workman had worked with them only up to March 1997. Thereafter, he was engaged through a contractor and was not the employee of the petitioner- Board. The argument is not sustainable for variety of reasons. Firstly, no such plea had been taken by the petitioner-Board in their written statement filed before the Labour Court. No such suggestion had been put to the respondent-workman Krishan Lal when he appeared as WW-2. Secondly, the petitioner-Board neither produced any certificate of registration authorizing contractor to employ contract labour nor proved that the 3 C.W.P. No. 11871 of 2006
contractor in question was holder of a license for providing contract labour.
MW-2 Hawa Singh petitioner's own witness negatives the said plea of the petitioner-Board. He admitted in his cross-examination that there is no entry in M-2 and M-3 i.e. payment registers establishing that the workman worked through a contractor. He also admitted that the signature of Krishan Lal, respondent-workman, as a driver, is made on all the three roller log books of the petitioner-Board from the year 1994 to 30.11.2001 and that the S.D.O. was the incharge of the log book. Therefore, by virtue of said admission by MW-2, it has been rightly concluded by the Labour Court that the respondent-workman was employee of the petitioner-Board and not an employee of the alleged contractor.
Now the question arises whether the respondent-workman had completed 240 days preceding 12 months from the date of termination. No doubt, to prove the same, the onus is on the workman. However, this issue is no more res intergra. Krishan Lal, respondent-workman, when appeared as WW-2 had stated that he continuously worked from 1994 to 30.11.2001 and had completed more than 240 days in every year. The petitioner-Board could not controvert the same by any cogent evidence. Rather a bare perusal of the award shows that the petitioner's own witness i.e. MW-1 Chander Bhan has frankly conceded in his cross-examination that the workman had completed 240 days in each year. Once it is so, the respondent-workman is entitled to the protection provided in Section 25-F of the Act. In the instant case, there was no such compliance. The Labour Court has rightly held that on account of non-compliance of Section 25-F of the Act, the termination of workman was illegal and not sustainable.
The plea of the petitioner-Board that it does not fall within the 4 C.W.P. No. 11871 of 2006
definition of industry, was not pressed before the Labour nor any evidence was led. Since this issue was not pressed before the Labour Court, it is not open for the petitioner-Board to raise such a plea now, before this Court, that too without any evidence.
For the reasons aforesaid, we find no infirmity in the impugned award of the Labour Court. The petition is wholly without merit and the same is dismissed in limine accordingly.
August 3,2006 (J.S. NARANG)
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