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Management Of Messrs Orissa Oil … vs Presiding Officer, Labour Court … on 28 February, 1975

Orissa High Court
Management Of Messrs Orissa Oil … vs Presiding Officer, Labour Court … on 28 February, 1975
Equivalent citations: (1975) IILLJ 523 Ori
Author: R Misra
Bench: R Misra, B Ray


JUDGMENT

R.N. Misra, J.

1. This is an application for a writ of ceriorari asking for quashing the award in Industrial Dispute Case No. 8 of 1973 given by the Labour Court of Orissa.

2. The State Government referred the following dispute for adjudication:

Whether termination of employment of Sri Ramesh Chandra Meher, workman (opposite party No. 2), with effect from 2-8-1972 by the Management of Orissa Oil Industries, Kairangnur Mayurbhanj, is legal or justified? If not, to what relief he is entitled?

The workman claimed that he was employed as an electrician with effect from 12-5-1971 on a monthly salary of Rs. 150, Suddenly on 2-8-1972 he was served with a notice of termination of service on false allegations that after the erection work of the factory had been completed, his services were no more required. He claimed that he was a permanent hand and completion of the erection work had nothing to do with his service. Conciliation proceedings were taken and a failure report was submitted by the conciliation officer. Ultimately Government referred the dispute in the manner indicated above.

3. The stand of the Management, was that the workman had been appointed for a specified purpose, namely, construction of the factory and when that was completed, he had no right to continue. His services were also found unsatisfactory and, therefore, his services had been terminated. It was specifically pleaded that the workman had given a “no claim” certificate on 3-8-1972 and, therefore, was not entitled to raise his present claim.

4. The Labour Court on the pleadings raised before it framed three questions for consideration, namely–

(i) Whether the workman was appointed for a specified period?;

(ii) Whether the reasons of termination of service were legal and justified?; and

(iii) To what relief, the workman was entitled?

In the proceeding before the Labour Court, on the side of the Management, the Manager was examined and the workman examined himself in support of his claim. Three documents were exhibited on the side of the Management being the “no claim” certificate of the workman (Ext. 1), the letter of termination (Ext. 2) and a complaint of the workman addressed to the Electrical Inspector (Ext. 3).

5. The Labour Court found that there was no order of appointment to indicate the purpose of the period of the appointment; the employment was not for the purpose of erection of the factory only and the services of the workman were terminated on account of the alleged misconduct which had not been proved. Examining the correctness of the stand of the Management that it was a case of retrenchment, the Court came to hold that it was not a fact and the workman had not been paid his legitimate dues under the Industrial Disputes Act. The Court, however, accepted the plea of the Management that it had lost confidence in the workman and that, therefore, there should be no restoration to the service. Accordingly it awarded full back wages from the date of termination of service till the award became enforceable and an amount equivalent to two years’ wages.

6. Mr. Patnaik for the employer contends that the award of the Labour Court is vitiated on account of non-consideration of the “no claim” certificate and not giving it its true import. He also contends that the quantum of compensation awarded in this case is excessive and unjustified.

7. The contention that the “no claim” certificate furnished by the workman has not at all been noticed by the Labour Court is not correct. In paragraph 8 of the award, the “no claim” certificate (Ext. 1) has been specifically referred to and the contention has been dealt with. As there was some controversy as to what the contents of Ext. 1 were, we sent for the record. The contents of Ext. 1 are as follows:

This is to inform you that I have got no dues in this company, till to-date,

and it is, dated 3-8-1972. All that the workman intended to say under the document was that unto the date of the document he had no dues. This does not mean that claims admissible under the law had been satisfied. As against this, there is a clear admission by the Manager of the employer (M.W. 1) that no retrenchment compensation had been paid to the workman. The first contention of Mr. B.M. Patnaik must, therefore, be rejected.

8. The Labour Court has come to a categorical finding that the termination of service was wholly unauthorised. The finding is not seriously challenged before us obviously because it. has been recorded by taking into consideration the entire evidence and clear circumstances appearing on the record. On the said finding the workman was entitled to restoration of service with full back wages. The Labour Court has not awarded restoration of service on the ground that the Management has lost confidence in the workman. Since no arguments have been advanced by the workman against this part of the direction in the award, we need not examine the propriety of the Labour Court’s action in not allowing restoration of service. The award of back wages, however, appears to be fully legitimate.

9. The next aspect for examination is as to whether compensation on the basis of two years’ salary for loss of service is appropriate. Mr. Patnaik relying on a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of G.M.D. Corporation v. P.H. Brahmabhatt (1974) 1 S.C.W.R., 157, contended that this was excessive and we should interfere in the matter. Opposite party No. 2 was aged about 22 or 23 by the time of termination of service. He had a long period of service. The Management terminated his service without justification and on collateral grounds. The salary paid to the workman was not heavy. Taking these aspects into consideration, we do not think, the award of two years’ salary by way of compensation for loss of service on permanent footing is in any manner excessive so as to warrant our interference.

10. The writ application accordingly fails and is dismissed. Opposite party No. 2 shall be entitled to costs of this proceeding. Hearing fee is assessed at rupees fifty.

B.K. Ray, J.

11. I agree.

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