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Sunday, February 3, 2013

casual labour/daily coolie daily wages or on temporary basis. Admittedly, they were temporary workers doing the job on daily wages, as and when work was available. It is not their case that they were posted on any regular vacant posts, nor it is their case that they had gone through due process of selection. In the light of ratio laid down by the Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble the Supreme Court in the matter of Secretary, State of Karnataka and others vs. Umadevi and others, reported in 2006 AIR SCW 1991, the learned Single Judge was justified in holding that no remedy is available to the workers since they were not the workers appointed on regular vacant posts by due process of selection.” In view of the concurrent finding recorded by both the learned Single Judge and Division Bench in appeal that the appellants were temporarily appointed on daily wages as and when work was available and they were not posted on regular basis against sanctioned post, we do not find any reason and justification to interfere with the orders passed by the two courts. However, we are of the view that the direction for payment of Rs.10,000/- each to the appellants will not compensate the appellants. Hence, the appellants who approached for the conciliation after 8 to 10 years from the date of termination are entitled to a sum of Rs.50,000/- each whereas one of the appellants namely Rajkumar Rohitlal who has approached the Conciliation Officer within 2 to 3 years shall be entitled to get a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/-. 7. The impugned judgment passed by the learned Single Judge is modified to that extent. These appeals are, accordingly disposed of.


                                                                  REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                    CIVIL APPEAL NO.  855         OF 2013
      (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.22606 of 2007)


Rajkumar S/o Rohitlal Mishra                                       ….
Appellant(s)

                                   Versus

Jalagaon Municipal Corporation
….Respondent(s)

                                    With

                 CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 861-864          OF 2013
             (Arising out of SLP(Civil)Nos. 23708-23711 of 2007)

                               J U D G M E N T


M.Y. Eqbal, J.

            Leave granted.
2.          The appellants have preferred these appeals against  the  common
judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court  at
Aurangabad in Letters Patent Appeals arising out of Writ  Petitions  whereby
the order passed by the Learned Single Judge quashing the  award  passed  by
the Labour Court, Jalagaon, has been affirmed.
3.          The facts of  the  case  lie  in  a  narrow  compass.
 All  the
appellants were employed with the Respondent Corporation on daily  wages  or
on temporary basis.  One of the appellant was engaged  as  daily  coolie  in
Construction Department of the  Corporation,  some  time  in  1989  and  his
services were terminated after two years  in  1991.   Second  appellant  was
appointed as casual labour in Building  Department  of  the  Corporation  in
March 1980 and his services were terminated in 1992.  The 3rd appellant  was
appointed  as  a  labourer  in  Water  Supply   Department   of   Respondent
Corporation, some time in  July  1996  and  was  terminated  in  May,  1997.
Similarly, the 4th appellant was engaged  as  casual  labourer  in  Building
Department  of  the  Respondent  in  January  1989  and  was  terminated  in
December, 1991.  The 5th appellant was  appointed  as  supervisor  in  March
1989 and his services were terminated  in  1991.   Four  of  the  appellants
approached the Labour Commissioner (Conciliation officer) some time in  2001
and the 5th appellant approached  the  conciliation  officer  some  time  in
2000.  When the conciliation failed  the  dispute  was  referred  to  Labour
Court for adjudication  as  to  whether  the  termination  of  services  was
illegal.  The Labour Court  passed  an  award  holding  the  termination  as
illegal and directed reinstatement of  the  appellants.   Aggrieved  by  the
said order the Respondent-Corporation moved the High Court  by  filing  writ
petitions.  The learned Single Judge, after  hearing  the  parties,  allowed
the writ petitions and  quashed  the  award  passed  by  the  Labour  Court.
However, the Respondent – Corporation was directed to pay  Rs.10,000/-  each
to the appellants by way of compensation.  The learned Single Judge  noticed
that out of five, four appellants approached  the  Labour  Commissioner  for
conciliation after 8 to 10 years from the date of  termination  of  service.
Only the 5th appellant approached the Labour Commissioner after three  years
and ten months from the date of termination of service.  The learned  Single
Judge, following the earlier decisions of this Court  held  that  there  had
been gross and inordinate delay in approaching the Labour Commissioner  and,
therefore, the dispute could not have been referred to the Labour Court  for
adjudication.
4.          It was held by the learned Single Judge that  the  Labour  Court
had committed serious error of law in passing the  award  of  reinstatement.
Accordingly, the award was  quashed  with  a  direction  to  the  Respondent
Corporation  to  pay  Rs.10,000/-   each  to  the  appellants  by   way   of
compensation.  All the five appellants dissatisfied with  the  judgment  and
order passed by the learned Single Judge filed Letters Patent Appeals  which
were  numbered  as  140-144  of  2007.   The  Division  Bench  noticed   the
undisputed facts that all the appellants were temporarily employed on  daily
wages or temporary basis, and that  their  services  were  terminated  after
they  worked  for  five  years.  It  was  further  noticed  that  delay   in
approaching the conciliation officer was totally unexplained  and  there  is
nothing  on  record  to  infer  that  the   appellants   were   continuously
approaching  the  Corporation  for  their  reinstatement  in  service.   The
Division Bench, therefore, while dismissing the appeals observed:
            “We also agree with the  learned  Single  Judge  that  there  is
      another stumbling block in the path of workers/appellants.
Admittedly,
      they were temporary workers doing the job on daily wages, as and  when
      work was available. It is not their case that they were posted on  any
      regular vacant posts, nor it is their case that they had gone  through
      due process of selection. In the light  of  ratio  laid  down  by  the
      Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble the Supreme Court in the  matter  of
      Secretary, State of Karnataka  and  others  vs.  Umadevi  and  others,
      reported in 2006 AIR SCW 1991, the learned Single Judge was  justified
      in holding that no remedy is available to the workers since they  were
      not the workers appointed on regular vacant posts by  due  process  of
      selection.”

   5.         We have heard Mr. Anish R. Shah and Shivaji M. Jadhav, learned
      counsel  for  the  appearing  parties.   Mr.  Shah,  counsel  for  the
      appellant contended that the courts below have erred in  holding  that
      the Labour Court ought not to have passed an award of reinstatement in
      a case where the appellants approached  for  conciliation  about  8-10
      years of the termination.  It  is  submitted  that  while  making  the
      aforesaid observation the courts below failed to appreciate  that  the
      appellants were continuously making representation to the  Respondent-
      Corporation and only on the  basis  of  the  assurance  given  by  the
      Respondent Corporation the  appellant  had  not  taken  any  steps  to
      enforce their right through the process of the court.
   6.         In view of the concurrent finding recorded by both the learned
      Single Judge and Division Bench in appeal  that  the  appellants  were
      temporarily appointed on daily wages as and when  work  was  available
      and they were not posted on regular basis against sanctioned post,  we
      do not find any reason and justification to interfere with the  orders
      passed by the two courts.  However,  we  are  of  the  view  that  the
      direction for payment of Rs.10,000/- each to the appellants  will  not
      compensate the appellants.  Hence, the appellants who  approached  for
      the conciliation after 8 to 10 years from the date of termination  are
      entitled to a sum of Rs.50,000/- each whereas one  of  the  appellants
      namely Rajkumar Rohitlal who has approached the  Conciliation  Officer
      within 2 to 3 years shall be entitled to get a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/-.
   7.       The impugned judgment passed by  the  learned  Single  Judge  is
      modified to that extent.  These appeals are, accordingly disposed of.

                                                                  ……………………J.
                                                               (T.S. THAKUR)



                                                                  ……………………J.
                                                                (M.Y. EQBAL)

New Delhi
February 01, 2013
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