Ashok Paper Mills Kamgar Union vs Union Of India & Anr on 1 September, 2000

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Supreme Court of India
Ashok Paper Mills Kamgar Union vs Union Of India & Anr on 1 September, 2000
Author: R Babu
Bench: S. Rajendra Babu, J., S.N. Phukan, J.



DATE OF JUDGMENT:	01/09/2000

S. Rajendra Babu, J. & S.N. Phukan, J.




By an order made on July 6, 1996, this Court finalised
the scheme of rehabilitation of Ashok Paper Mills in
Darbhanga in State of Bihar. However, that scheme could not
be given effect to due to one reason or the other and this
Court on April 26, 1999 considered various aspects of the
matter and made an order on I.A.No.13 in W.P. (C) No.

After considering the various circumstances, this Court
directed that State of Bihar should stand guarantee for the
supply of four diesel generating sets to the tune of three
crores so that the difficulty in getting the power supply
would stand obviated and the company should give the
proposal to the State of Bihar in that regard upon which
appropriate orders should be passed by the Government. It
was specifically noticed that the petitioner union, though
was all along prepared to enter into the agreement but some
how it could not be done but subsequently another registered
union, viz., Ashok Paper Mills Mazdoor Panchayat Union
entered into an agreement. This Court stated on the
agreement entered into with the latter Union in the
following terms :

.. Without delving into the question as to whether
the Kamgar Union itself did not participate in the
proceedings and did not enter into an agreement or the Union
was prevented by some other process since a registered Union
has already entered into an agreement and the such Union has
membership of 243, we think it appropriate to hold that the
said agreement would be valid agreement for the purpose of
implementation of the scheme. But at the same time, we also
grant an opportunity to Kamgar Union to enter into an
agreement with the same terms which has already been entered
into by the other Mazdoor Panchayat Union and this may be
done within a period of four weeks from today and if such an
agreement is entered into within this period then this will
be in accordance with the terms of the scheme itself.

If, however, Kamgar Union does not enter into any
agreement within four weeks from today then they cannot
complain of other union having already entered into the
terms with the Company and the individual members of the
Union those who are interested in abiding by the agreement
already entered into by the other Union can do so on their
own and this should be also in accordance with the scheme
that has been approved by this Court.

Thereafter a review petition was filed questioning the
correctness of this order. However, that review petition
stood dismissed.

It is the contention of the Petitioner that under the
scheme finalised by this Court on 6.7.96, clause 1.4 has not
been implemented in the true spirit thereof; that the
take-over, though was originally stated to be from 18.8.97,
subsequently the monitoring committee fixed the date to be
26.12.1997, even so within six months thereof, the work
force has not been absorbed by NCFL nor entered into a
tripartite agreement between the workers union, Government
of Bihar and NCFL much less any of the past liabilities have
been discharged; that the NCFL has also not paid workers
their monthly salary @ 50% of their last earned salary of
the month when production was not terminated; that, Shri
Umadhar Prasad Singh informed that he was agreeable to sign
the agreement provided some changes are made in the draft
tripartite agreement; that the suggestions made by him were
discussed by the monitoring committee, found to be
reasonable and should be included in the tripartite
agreement; that no such agreement was entered into but on
the other hand an agreement has been entered into with
another union; that a secret letter was sent by the Labour
Commissioner on May 4, 1998 stating that the said Shri
Umadhar Prasad Singh, President of the Petitioner union has
been adopting an attitude of non-cooperation and was taking
an aggressive stand, though there was merit in the claim
made by him in regard to fixation of wages which should be
covered by the prescribed norms of industry based on the
length of service, experience, technical knowledge,
acquisition of skills and if unskilled then the knowledge of
the work which the worker had acquired during the course of
work; that a memorandum of tripartite agreement was arrived
at by NCLF and, on behalf of the workmen, by the Ashok Paper
Mills Mazdoor Panchayat Union on May 20, 1998 had almost
surrendered their normal claims of workmen for which the
Petitioner union has been fighting all along; that the said
agreement was entered into by maneuvers of the management of
NCLF and, therefore, we should not take note of the same but
give effect to clause 1.4 of the scheme finalised by this
Court independently.

Whether there is any merit or none in the arguments on
behalf of the applicant in I.A.No.13, it is not possible for
us to go back on the order made by this Court on 26.4.1999
and the order made on the review petition. Though Ms.
Indira Jaising, learned senior counsel appearing for the
applicant, very strenuously and forcefully submitted that
the order made by this Court on 26.4.1999 is only an
interlocutory order, we do not think that it would be
correct to state so because the specific manner in which the
scheme had to be implemented has been considered by this
Court in the aforesaid order. The very arguments advanced
before us now had been raised in the review petition but
rejected. Therefore, we reject this contention too.
However, we make it clear that any of the workman who is a
member of the Petitioner union may also be permitted to join
the work in the NCFL on the terms and conditions stated
under the memorandum of tripartite agreement to which
reference has been made by this Court in the orders adverted
to above, if such claim is made within a period of one month
from the date of this order.

Interim Application No. 8/2000 in I.A.Nos.3 & 5 in
Interlocutory Application No. 13 has also been filed
seeking to restrain Shri Umadhar Prasad Singh and his
associates and/or agents from interfering or obstructing in
the reopening/rehabilitation of Ashok Paper Mills Ltd. and
free ingress and egress of personnel of the Mill and
movement of goods inside and outside of the mill and to give
direction to all the persons and concerned agencies for the
implementation of the scheme. It is now brought to our
notice that the mills have started functioning and,
therefore, it is not appropriate to pass any order on this
relief at this stage. So far as the other relief sought for
as to co-operation of other agencies is concerned, it is not
clear as to what relief the applicant wants and in respect
of whom, without which no appropriate direction can be
granted by this Court. Therefore, this relief also cannot
be granted at this stage and in the manner sought for. This
application shall stand disposed of accordingly.

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