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M/S S C T Limited v. State Of U.P. Thru' Secy. Ministry Of Labour & Others - WRIT - C No. 30204 of 2003  RD-AH 13903 (13 August 2007)
Judgement Reserved on 9.5.2007
Judgement Delivered on 13.08.2007
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 30204 of 2003
M/s S.C.T Limited Ghaziabad Versus State of U.P. and others.
Hon'ble S.U.Khan J
Heard learned counsel for the parties.
This writ petition is directed against order of the Governor making suo motu reference dated 12.6.2002 to Labour Court I U.P. Ghaziabad to decide that as to whether the action of the petitioner employer terminating the services of its 51 employees from different dates was valid or not. The names of employees and dates of termination of their services were mentioned in the annexure to the referring order. The reference was made under section 4-K of U.P. Industrial Disputes Act.
The respondent No.3 i.e. Engineering Kamgar Union 234 Laljhanda Bahwan Ambedkar Road, Ghaziabad through its Secretary filed application on 16.3.2001 before Deputy Labour Commissioner, Ghaziabad complaining that on 16.3.2001 the management did not permit the employees to join their duty. Thereafter another application on 16.4.2001 was filed for payment of wages under U.P. Industrial Peace (Timely Payment of Wages) Act 1978 complaining that workers whose names were given had not been paid their salary from March 2001. Union also wrote letters to D.M, SSP etc. complaining that lay off had been illegally declared by the petitioner management. Against the application dated 16.4.2001 petitioner filed objections asserting that persons mentioned therein were not its employees.
According to para 8 of the writ petition about half of the persons mentioned in the application dated 16.4.2001 gave affidavits in March 2001. Affidavits were filed before Deputy Labour Commissioner Ghazaibad. It was further stated in the affidavits that these workers left their jobs with the petitioner prior to February 2001 .
In para 10 of the writ petition, it has been stated that petitioner had not laid off any of its workers and respondent No.3 Union had not been authorised by the alleged workers on whose behalf it was making complaints to espouse their cause. Thereafter, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Ghaziabad issued a certificate on 2.8.2001 indicating therein that permanent employees had been laid off by the petitioner with effect from 16.3.2001, however, the matter had been resolved partially with effect from 6.7.2001 and some workers had resumed the duties.
The main ground of challenge raised by the petitioner against the reference order is that 51 persons mentioned in the reference order are not petitioner's employees hence there is no Industrial Dispute. In para 15 of the writ petition, it has been stated that the persons mentioned at the following serials in the annexure to the reference order have already given their affidavits to Deputy Labour Commissioner mentioning therein that they were no more employees of the petitioners.
"6 to 10, 12 to 14, 16, 19, 20, 23 to 26, 29, 30, 35, 41, 48 and 50".
In this writ petition while reserving the judgement after hearing learned counsel for the parties on 9.5.2007 the following order was passed on the order sheet:
"Heard learned counsel for the parties.
Learned counsel for the respondent No.3 Union states that inspite of letter, no one turned up for filing counter affidavit. Counter affidavit on behalf of State has been filed by Sri S.K.Misra Assistant Labour Commissioner, Allahabad. Rejoinder to that has also been filed by the petitioner."
In the counter affidavit of Assistant Labour Commissioner the fact that 21 persons out of the 51 persons regarding whom reference has been made have already filed affidavit to the effect that they were no more employees of the petitioner has not been denied. It has been stated in the said counter affidavit that even if the said allegation is correct still dispute in respect of 30 employees remains.
The Supreme Court in ANZG Bank Vs. Union of India AIR 2006 SC 296 placing reliance upon National Engineering Industries Vs. State of Rajasthan AIR 2000 SC 469 has held that if there is no dispute or apprehended dispute then reference made by the Government is wholly redundant and uncalled for and can be set-aside by the High Court in exercise of writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
In view of the fact that in respect of 21 employees there is no dispute, writ petition is allowed in part and reference order dated 12.6.2002 is set-aside in part i.e. with regard to the employees mentioned at serial No. "6 to 10, 12 to 14, 16, 19, 20, 23 to 26, 29, 30, 35, 41, 48 and 50" of the annexure to the said reference order.
Let the reference be decided in respect of remaining 31 persons.
The argument of learned counsel for the petitioner that by virtue of reference, labour court would be bound to treat the person mentioned in the reference to be the employees of the petitioner is wholly unfounded. Labour court has got full jurisdiction to decide the plea of the petitioner that all or some of the 31 remaining persons mentioned in the reference order were not the employees of the petitioner at the time when reference was made. If such a plea is raised by the petitioner and is proved then naturally labour court will not grant any relief to such persons.
Writ petition is accordingly allowed in part.
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