Management, Shree Doodhaganga … vs T.P. Pudale And Ors. on 12 September, 2000

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Karnataka High Court
Management, Shree Doodhaganga … vs T.P. Pudale And Ors. on 12 September, 2000
Equivalent citations: (2002) IVLLJ 578 Kant
Author: T Vallinayagam
Bench: T Vallinayagam


T.N. Vallinayagam, J.

1. These two writ petitions are concerned with a dispute regarding discontinuation of the employment of the workmen. Against the award passed by the Labour Court, both the workman and the management are before this Court.

2. The short facts are that the petitioner in WP No. 24832 of 1996 is a co-operative sugar factory registered under Karnataka Co-operative Societies Act, 1959. The appointment and the terms and conditions of the employees of the petitioner are governed by the provisions of the Karnataka Co-operative Societies Act and the bye-laws of the society. The sugar factory works seasonally once for six months and the exigency of work will be more only during its season. Apart from regular employees the petitioner engages some workers on daily-wage basis during the above period. The daily-wages employees will be discontinued after the completion of the work. It is further submitted that during 1986-87 season the first respondent was taken on daily-wages from November 12. 1986. He worked for 136 days during that season and he was discontinued from April 11, 1987. Again the petitioner was taken on daily-wages from June 12, 1987 and worked there up to October 14, 1987. Thereafter he was engaged on daily-wages from October 22, 1987 and discontinued from May 19, 1988. The petition makes it clear that the first respondent was engaged in the employment for a specific period on daily-wage basis. There was a circular issued by the petitioner on May 19, 1988. It appears that the first respondent on January 7, 1991 was called upon to reinstate him with back wages. On refusal by the first respondent a dispute arose and the dispute was referred to Industrial Tribunal for adjudication. Two issues were framed for being considered:

(1) Whether the management of Shree Doodhaganga Krishna Sahakari Sakkare Karkhane Niyamit Ltd., Chikodi, Belgaum, is justified in refusing to work to TP. Padale with effect from May 18, 1988.

(2) If not justified, to what relief Sri T.P. Pudale is entitled?

The Tribunal passed an order directing the petitioner to reinstate the first respondent with 40 per cent back wages and directed that the first respondent may be posted on the same post where he was working. Aggrieved by the said order, the management has come with the above writ petitions.

3. The workman first respondent also filed W.P No. 27576 of 1996 aggrieved by grant of 40 per cent back wages and claiming the entire back wages.

4. Before dealing with the merits of the case, it is brought to my notice by Sri Mahesh, the unreported order in WP Nos. 14792-14804 of 1998 C/w 14095 of 1998, dated March 9, 2000 wherein the Division Bench of this Court has held that the jurisdiction of the Labour Court is excluded and the dispute before the Labour Court is not maintainable in view of the comprehensive procedural remedy available under Co-operative Societies Act. The Division Bench has followed the dictum of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in R.C. Thiwari v. M.P. State Co-operative Marketing Federation, Ltd. wherein the High Court of Madhya Pradesh has held that in view of the provisions contained in Section 55 of Madhya Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 the Labour Court has no jurisdiction and therefore the reference is bad. The Supreme Court has held that Section 55 of Madhya Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act is similar to that of Section 70 of the Karnataka Co-operative Societies Act. The Supreme Court considered whether once a relief is provided under the Cooperative Societies Act, a dispute can be sought under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act and answered in the negative. In Sagarmal v. District Sahkari Kendriya Bank Ltd., Mandsaur the Supreme Court held that the provisions of the Central Act did not apply to the employees of the co-operative bank. Following the above, the Division Bench has held that the writ petition is not maintainable when once the issue arises out of co-operative Societies Act. However, the petitioner is permitted to file an application before the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.

5. It is also brought to my notice the dictum in R.C. Tiwari v. Madhya Pradesh, State Co-operative Marketing Federation, Ltd. (supra) wherein the Supreme Court has held at p. 238 of 1997-II-LLJ-236:

“… As a consequence, special procedure has been provided under the Act. Necessarily reference under Section 10 of the Societies Act stands excluded….”

This view was indirectly reiterated in
Balwant Singh v. State of Haryana, wherein it was held
(sic) that matter arising out of Co-operative
Societies Act
to an arbitrator is proper. In that
case the dispute was arose between employees
and co-operative societies and such dispute has
been held to be within the purview of
Co-operative Societies Act (indirectly not within
the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act).

6. In the light of the above decisions, the writ petition is liable to be allowed. Following the view of the Division Bench liberty is
granted to the first respondent to move an application to the Registrar of co-operative societies within the period of six weeks from today. On filing such application the Registrar shall entertain and dispose of the same in
accordance with law.

7. WP. No. 24832 of 1996 is allowed. WP No. 27576 of 1996 is dismissed.

8. Order accordingly.

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