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M/S. BHARAT EXPLOSIVE LTD. versus PRESIDING OFFICER LABOUR COURT

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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M/S. Bharat Explosive Ltd. v. Presiding Officer Labour Court-Iv, Kanpur And Others - WRIT - C No. 822 of 2006 [2006] RD-AH 17698 (13 October 2006)

 

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

    Reserved on 31.08.2006

    Delivered on 13.10.2006

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 822 of 2006

M/s. Bharat Explosive Limited

Vs.

The Presiding Officer, Labour Court (IV),

U.P. Kanpur and others

Hon'ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.

This writ petition has been filed by M/s. Bharat Explosive Limited against the award dated 12.8.2005 passed by Labour Court (IV), U.P. Kanpur in adjudication case no. 54 of 2001 and published on 21.10.2005.

In brief, the facts giving rise to this case are that the respondent no. 2 was employed as Assistant Operator in the petitioner's company on monthly salary of Rs. 2211/- since 1.8.1994. He raised an industrial dispute alleging that he has been wrongly terminated on 14.11.1998 by the management without complying the provisions pertaining to retrenchment under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as the ''Act' in short) which was referred for adjudication to the respondent no. 1. The petitioner contended that the respondent no. 2 was not terminated by the petitioner but on 14.11.98, he submitted resignation on account of some family reasons which was accepted on the same date waiving the period of notice and he was also paid his wages for November 1998 and other dues which comes to Rs. 1815/- on the same date. Since, the respondent no. 2 has resigned from service, there was no question of his termination and the dispute sought to be raised by him was incorrect. The respondent no. 2, however, took the stand that he never submitted any resignation. On the contrary, he submitted an application requesting for leave for two or three months. However, it appears that the management obtained his signatures on two blank papers and prepared the resignation letter thereon though it was never written and submitted by him.

The Labour Court after hearing the parties came to the conclusion that the petitioner could not establish the fact that the respondent no. 2 submitted resignation on 14.11.98 and, therefore, the defence that he was not terminated but resigned is incorrect. In the circumstances, the termination of the respondent no. 2 by the petitioner was declared illegal and the relief of reinstatement with full back-wages was allowed by the impugned order.

I have heard Sri Ranjit Saxena, learned counsel for the petitioner, Sri R.P. Tiwari for the respondent no. 2 and learned Standing Counsel for respondent nos. 1 and 3.

Sri Saxena has vehemently contended that there was no termination of the respondent no. 2 and since, he himself has  resigned from service, the Labour Court has erred in law by holding that the respondent no. 2 was wrongly terminated and the finding recorded by the learned Labour Court is perverse.

Sri Tiwari disputing the aforesaid contention submitted that the award of the Labour Court does not warrant any interference under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, since a finding of fact has been recorded by the Labour Court and from the material available on record, it cannot be said that the conclusion arrived at by the Labour Court is perverse and based on no evidence at all.

Judicial review in the matter of an award of Labour Court is limited to the extent as to whether the Labour Court has recorded a finding, which can be said to be perverse, based on no evidence at all or otherwise contrary to law. This Court under Article 226 does not sit in appeal. If on the basis of the material available on record, it can be said that the view taken by the labour Court could not have been taken by a person of ordinary prudence, only then the Court may interfere and not otherwise. The question as to whether the respondent no. 2 was terminated on 14.11.98 or resigned obviously depends on the question as to whether he actually tendered any resignation on the said date or not. Labour Court has recorded a finding in favour of respondent no. 2 on two grounds, namely,  that the employer could not prove the signature of the workman on the payment receipt dated 14.11.98 and they have not issued no-dues certificate. It was opined that they have got the resignation prepared on the blank papers signed by the workmen though actually no resignation has been given by the workman himself.

From the record, it appears that the signature of the respondent no. 2 on the alleged resignation letter dated 14.11.98 is not disputed. The respondent no. 2 has set up a story of signature on two blank papers and the Labour Court has proceeded on the assumption that he has signed two blank papers without considering the relevant material available on record on this aspect. From the record, it appears that the workman raised an industrial dispute by filing an application before the Conciliation Officer, Jahnsi on 16.12.98, but in the said application he did not mention any thing about his signature on blank papers and user of those documents by the management as his resignation. The management, in its reply filed before the Conciliation Officer on 10.5.99 specifically pointed out that workman has submitted his resignation on 14.11.98 and was paid Rs. 1815/- toward his dues. This is apparent from para-3 of the reply as reproduced hereunder :

"3. ;g fd izkFkhZ ds izkFkZuki= ds iSjk ¼ch-½ ds le{k eux<+Ur ,oa iw.kZ vLohdkj gSa] rFkk mu rF;k dks ek= izkFkZuk i= dk vk/kkj cukus dh xjt ls fy[kk x;k gS] D;ksafd foi{khx.k us izkFkhZ dh lsok;sa fnukad&14.11.1998 dks voS/kkfud :i ls lekIr ugh dh Fkh cfYd lgh ckr ;g gS fd izkFkhZ us viuh ikfjokfjd ifjfLFkfr;ksa ds dkj.k viuh LosPnk ls cxSj fdlh Mj o ncko ds foi{kh dEiuh ls fnukad 14.11.98 dks R;kxi= ns fn;k Fkk vkSj fnukad 14.11.98 dks gh leLr cdk;k osru udn NqV~Vh dk iSlk vkfn ,oa leLr dkuwuh ns; eqcfyx 1815/-  :i;k izkIr dj fy;k Fkk vkSj viuk lkjk fglkc foi{kh ls pqdrk dj fy;k FkkA bl izdkj vc foi{kh dks dkuwuu dksbZ Hkh ns; izkFkhZ dks nsuk ugha gSA

The respondent no. 2 filed his rejoinder statement in the said proceedings wherein he only said that he has not submitted any resignation. Neither there is any averment that the resignation letter is forged or has been prepared by the management on the blank papers signed by him nor there is a denial that he did not receive any amount from the petitioner on 14.11.98. A careful and restricted kind of reply has been given in para-3 of the rejoinder stating that no payment as per rules has been received. Para-3 of the rejoinder is reproduced as under :

"3. ;g fd izfroknh ds tokcnkok dh /kkjk&3 vlR;] cscqfu;kn o xyr gS blesa dksbZ fof/kd cy ugha gS fnukad&14.11,98 dks izkFkhZ us dksbZ R;kx i= ugha fn;k vkSj u gh fu;qfDr@lsok 'krksZ ds vk/kkj ij nks ekg dk osru dEiuh ds gd esa NksM+kA foi{kh }kjk fu;ekuqlkj dksbZ Hkqxrku ugha fy;k gSA"

It appears that Conciliation Officer did not find it a case of termination but the Labour Commissioner by its letter dated 6.1.2000 referred the matter for its review by the Regional Conciliation Officer. The workman again filed his objection before the Conciliation Officer, but there also did not point out that he has signed any blank papers and the resignation has been prepared by the management on such blank papers. It is only when a dispute was referred for adjudication to the Labour Court, the workman, in his rejoinder statement filed in reply to the written statement of the employer has said in para-4 that he is an illiterate person and it is possible that the employer may have used two blank papers signed by him. Even the averment contained in para-4 is not very categorical and clear as would be apparent from following :

";g fd lsok;kstd Ik{k ds fyf[kr dFku ds iSjk 4 esa of.kZr dFku vlR; vuxZy] eux<+ar gksus ds dkj.k vLohdkj gSaA izkFkhZ vius fyf[kr dFku ds iSjk&4. 5 o 6 esa of.kZr rF;ksa dks ;gk iqu% nksgjkrs gSaA mYys[kuh; gS fd izkFkhZ i<+k fy[kk ugh gS rks lEHko gS fd izkFkhZ ls nks :y nkj lkns dkxtksa ij gLrk{kj ;qDr dkxtksa dks lsok;kstdksa is'kcUnh djus ds fy;s vuqfpr iz;ksx dj fy;k gksA izkFkhZ us dksbZ Hkh R;kx i++= lsok;kstdksa dks izLrqar ugha fd;k gS vkSj u gh :0 1815/- rFkk dfFkr cdk;k osru uxnh NqV~Vh dk iSlk ,oa leLr dkuwuh ns; ds en esa izkIr fd;kA ;fn izkFkhZ us viuk R;kx i= lsok;kstdksa dks izLrqar fd;k gksrk rks lsok;kstdksa }kjk R;kx i= Lohdkj fd;s tkus dh lwpuk izkFkhZ dks izsf"kr dh gksrhA ftlls Lo;a Li"V gS fd lsok;kstdksa ds }kjk izkFkhZ ls lkns dkxtksa ij djk;s x;s gLrk{kj ;qDr dkxtksa dk nq:I;ksx fd;k x;k gSA izkFkhZ dks ;g fof/kd tkudkjh miyC?k gqbZ gS fd lsok;kstdksa dks R;kxi= Lohd`fr fd;s tkus dh lwpuk Hkstuk oS/kkfud nkf;Ro gSA lsok;kstdksa }kjk izkFkhZ dks fnukad 14.11.98 ls vuqfpr ,oa voS/kkfud :Ik ls lsok lekIr fd;k tkuk iw.kZr;k voS/k gS rFkk izkFkhZ ukSdjh dh v[k.Mrk ,oa ukSdjh dh vof/k ds lEiw.kZ osru lfgr lsok esa iquLFkkZfir gksus dk vf/kdkjh gSA""

A copy of the oral statement of the workman has been placed on record as Annexure CA-9 to the counter affidavit of respondent no. 2 himself. In the said statement, he has said that the company obtained his signature on two ruled papers though he has not submitted any resignation. He has also denied his signature on receipt of payment of Rs. 1815/-. In the written statement also filed before the Labour Court, he has said that he signed two ruled blank papers since he was not literate and the employer said that they will write leave application and advance thereon. Para-5 of the written statement reads as under :

";g fd lsok;kstdksa us izkFkhZ dh izkFkZuk ij fopkj fd;k rFkk izkFkhZ ls 2 :y nkj lkns dkxt ij ;g dg dj gLrk{kj djok;s fd izkFkhZ i<+k fy[kk ugh gS] vr%lsok;kstd izkFkhZ ds NqV~Vh dk izkFkZuk i= rFkk ,MokUl dh izkfIr Lo;a fy[k ysaxsA rFkk izkFkhZ dks ekSf[kd :i ls nks ekg dh NqV~Vh Lohd`r dj nhA"

It is thus not disputed that the document which was produced before the Labour Court as resignation of the respondent no. 2 did contain his signature. Further, respondent no. 2 had also received Rs. 1815/- since he did not dispute his signature on the ruled papers but he has disputed his signature on the voucher of Rs. 1815/-. Photocopy of the said ruled papers has been placed on record as Annexure CA-11 and CA-12 to the counter affidavit filed by the respondent nos. 2 and a copy of the receipt dated 14.11.98 has also been placed on record as Annexure CA-13 to the counter affidavit. The workman has categorally accepted receipt of Rs. 1815/- as is apparent from his oral statement. The relevant extract is quoted as under :

"""'kq: esa esjs osru 650/- :Ik;k FkkA ukSdjh ls NksM+rs le; esjh ru[kkg 2.011/- FkhZA lwph 11ch (1) ds isij lao 2 o 3 ij esjs gLrk{kj ugha gSaA fnukad 14.11.98 dks dEiuh ls 1816/- ysdj x;k Fkk eSaus :0 1816 izkIr dj ds fdlh jlhnh fVdV ij gLrk{kj ugha fd;k FkkA lwph 11 ch (1) ds isij la0 1 dsk ns[k ij xokg us dgk fd blds jlhnh fVdV ij esjs gLrk{kj ugha gSA

A perusal of the statement of the workman therefore makes it clear that he received Rs. 1816/- and the same is not disputed but he has disputed his signature on the stamped receipt that is Annexure CA-13 to the counter affidavit of the respondent no. 2. The learned Labour Court has completely failed to consider the fact that the workman has accepted receipt of Rs. 1816/- and has only disputed his signature on the stamped receipt. If the workman would have received a lump-sum amount, there was no occasion for payment of Rs. 1816/-, which is not a lump-sum amount. The workman has said that he was in the need of some money and advance of Rs. 1500/- or 2000/- but why he received Rs. 1816/- has not been explained at all. He has also not stated that who was the person instructed him and obtained his signature on the blank papers. The writing of the resignation in the hand writing of some other person is easily understandable since the workman himself claim to be illiterate and, therefore, he could not have written his resignation letter but the same has to be written by someone else. The contention of the workman that he raised dispute immediately after coming back on 23rd November 98 or that he wrote some letter to the Unit has not been proved at all and no material has been placed on record either before Labour Court or this Court. The Labour Court has completely failed to consider that acceptance of payment of Rs. 1816/- has not been disputed by the workman and on the other hand, he has accepted the receipt of the aforesaid amount, but this aspect has not been considered by learned Labour Court. Therefore, in my view, the Labour Court has committed error in law apparent on the face of record by ignoring to consider relevant material available on record which has material bearing on the issue. The impugned award, therefore, cannot be sustained. The matter is required to be re-considered by the Labour Court.

In the result, the writ petition succeeds and allowed. The impugned award dated 12.8.2005 (Annexure-17 to the writ petition) passed by the Labour Court is quashed and the case is remanded to the respondent no. 1 to re-consider the matter on the basis of the material available on record and in view of the observations made hereinabove.

There shall be no order as to costs.

Dt. 13.10.2006

PS-822/06


Copyright

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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