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Ram Babu Gupta v. Presiding Officer Labour Court And Another - WRIT - C No. 35099 of 2001 [2004] RD-AH 1201 (25 October 2004)


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Court No. 51

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 35099 of 2001

Ram Babu Gupta                             ------                      Petitioner


Presiding Officer, Labour Court & another      ----                Respondents.


Hon'ble V.C.Misra, J.

Sri S.N. Dube, learned counsel for the petitioner, Sri Vivek Ratan, learned counsel for the respondent no. 2 and Learned Standing Counsel for the respondent no. 1 are present. Counter and rejoinder affidavits have been exchanged. On the joint request of learned counsel for the parties, this writ petition is being heard and finally disposed off, at this stage

1. This writ petition has been filed challenging the impugned award dated 11.9.2000 (Annexure No. 5 to the writ petition) passed by the labour court Allahabad- respondent no. 1 against the petitioner holding that the petitioner had not been retrenched and was not entitled to any relief.

2. The facts of the case in brief are that the petitioner was engaged as an Apprentice in Mechanic Maintenance Chemical Plant Trade under the Apprenticeship Act, 1961 for two years with the respondent no. 2- Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Ltd. Phoolpur, District Allahabad (hereinafter referred to as the IFFCO) on a stipend of Rs. 335/- per month subject to the terms and conditions of the contract. The petitioner had accepted the offer and the terms and conditions mentioned in the said contract and thereafter appended his signature on 14.7.1981.  On completion of the aforesaid period of two years, as apprentice training, the petitioner was relieved w.e.f. 13.7.1983, as per the intimation dated 13.7.1983 sent by the respondent no. 2 to the petitioner.  The petitioner raised an industrial dispute claiming himself to be a workman, employed by the respondent no. 2, as Assistant Technician. A reference was made to the respondent no. 1 by the State Government Under Section 4-K of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, whereupon adjudication case No. 136 of 1990 was registered.

3. The Presiding Officer of the labour court- respondent no. 1 after hearing both the parties passed the impugned award dated 1.9.2000 (Annexure No. 5 to the writ petition) on the basis of findings of fact to the effect that   the petitioner had accepted the appointment letter dated 19.6.1981 and had joined in the IFFCO- respondent no. 2 accordingly on the basis of the terms and the conditions provided thereunder.  The workman had also accepted the fact that an agreement in writing had entered into between the workman and the employer though it was subsequent to the joining of the petitioner. The labour court further found that the petitioner was being paid stipend per month as agreed in the contract and if he had been required to work over time, it would not convert him into an workman.

4. Being aggrieved the petitioner has filed this writ petition challenging the impugned award dated 1.9.2000 (Annexure No. 5 to the writ petition) inter alia, on the ground that the agreement had not been registered in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the Apprenticeship Act, 1961 and he had been required to work overtime.

5. Learned counsel for the petitioner in support of his contention relied upon the decisions rendered in M/S Kanpur Electric Supply Company, Kanpur Vs. Presiding Officer, Labour Court-II, Kanpur & others (Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 19954 of 2000, decided on 26.7.2004), U.P. State Electricity Board Vs. The Presiding Officer, Labour Court-I, U.P. Kanpur (Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 19 of 1995, decided on 6.2.2001) and State of Gujarat and another Vs. Chauhan Ramjibhai Karsanbhai (2004 (102) FLR 347) on the point that it was necessary that the agreement should be registered before being enforceable.

6. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent no. 2 has relied upon the decision of the apex Court rendered in U.P. State Electricity Board Vs. Shri Shiv Mohan Singh and another (JT 2004 (8) S.C. 272), on the points as to whether the requirement of registration of the apprenticeship contract is mandatory or merely directory; whether non registration of the contract renders the apprenticeship void or illegal; whether a person appointed as an apprentice ceases to be an apprentice and becomes a ''workman' when the employer does not register the contract with Apprenticeship Advisor; and whether non registration of the apprenticeship contract results in breach of contract and, therefore, the status of an incumbent is changed from apprentice to that of a workman. The apex Court has categorically held that the expression ''shall' appearing in sub-section (4) of Section 4 of the Apprenticeship Act, 1961 is directory and non-registration of the contract will not change the character of the apprentice and the incumbent will not acquire the status of a workman. Once an incumbent is appointed as an apprentice he will continue to be apprentice unless a formal order of appointment is followed.

7. I have heard learned counsel for the parties at length and find that the facts of the present case is squarely covered with the facts and the principles laid down in the decision by the apex Court rendered in U.P. State Electricity Board Vs. Shri Shiv Mohan Singh and another (Supra) cited by the learned Standing Counsel for respondent no. 2.  In the present case, after thorough examination and critical scrutiny of the pleadings of the parties and the relevant material and the evidence adduced by the parties brought on record, the respondent no. 1- labour court has arrived at a well reasoned award dated 11.9.2000 (Annexure No. 5 to the writ petition). The petitioner has not been able to demonstrate before this Court that the findings of fact recorded in the impugned award suffers from any illegality, perversity or error apparent on the face of the record.  More so, the said findings of fact, arrived at by the labour court-respondent no. 1 on the basis of which the impugned award has been passed, being based on relevant material on record, is not open to challenge before this Court while exercising its special and extra ordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.  

Accordingly, the writ petition fails and is dismissed. No order as to costs.      

November 25, 2004



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