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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Whether seasonal workers of the sugar factories stopped crushing years back would be entitled to retaining allowance

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CIVIL  APPELLATE  JURISDICTION


                     CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 3937-3938 OF 2011


Warsaliganj Sahkari Chini Mill Mazdoor Union ... Appellant (s)

                                   Versus

State of Bihar and others                          ... Respondent (s)


                                    WITH

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4201 OF 2011

South Bihar Sugar Mills Workers Union
and others                                         ... Appellant (s)

                                   Versus

State of Bihar and others                          ... Respondent (s)


                               J U D G M E N T


KURIAN, J.:





     1. Whether seasonal workers of the sugar  factories  stopped  crushing
        years back would be entitled to retaining allowance, was  the  main
        issue agitated by the appellant-union before the High Court. It was
        held by the High Court that as there was no crushing in  the  sugar
        factories, the seasonal workers will not be entitled  to  retaining
        allowance. Aggrieved, the union has come up in appeal.

     2. At the  time  of  hearing  of  the  appeals,  taking  note  of  the
        intervening development of an Exit Settlement scheme/plan,  learned
        Senior Counsel Shri Amarendra Sharan submits that at least for  the
        purpose of working out  the  benefits  under  the  said  plan,  the
        retaining allowance may be directed to be taken into account.

     3. Heard the learned counsel appearing for the respondents also.

     4. It is seen from the additional affidavit dated 10.02.2015 that  the
        seasonal workers attached to the sugar factories  which  have  been
        closed down long back are actually made to retire only on attaining
        the age of 60 years. In one of the  communications,  it  is  stated
        that the company did not require their services after the age of 60
        years. Thus, in the case of those seasonal  workers  who  had  been
        working in those sugar factories referred to in the appeals, though
        not actually provided with work after the closure of the factories,
        they  have  been  retained  till   they   attained   the   age   of
        superannuation, apparently for some pensionery benefits which  they
        are otherwise eligible. That being the position, it is  only  just,
        fair and  reasonable  that  at  least,  notionally,  the  retaining
        allowance which would have been otherwise payable to them, had  the
        factories been functional, be taken into account for the purpose of
        calculating their pensionery benefits or  the  benefits  under  the
        Exit Settlement scheme/plan.

     5. Ordered accordingly.  In  order  to  avoid  any  confusion,  it  is
        clarified that the seasonal workers attached to the sugar factories
        referred to in the appeals will not be entitled  to  any  retaining
        allowance: however, the retaining allowance, which would have  been
        otherwise payable, will only be taken into account for the  purpose
        of calculating the benefits due  to  them  in  terms  of  the  Exit
        Settlement scheme/plan or pensionery  benefits.  Needful  shall  be
        done by the respondents within a period of  four  months  from  the
        date of receipt of copy of this order.

     6. Appeals are disposed of as above. There shall be  no  order  as  to
        costs.

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


                                                ..........................J.
                                                       (KURIAN JOSEPH)
New Delhi;
February 16, 2015.
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                                                              NON-REPORTABLE


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