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Friday, May 13, 2016

thousands of employees have been discharged on VRS by the Management and having regard to the fact that out of the 65 people who pursued the litigation, 59 people have already gone on VRS or otherwise, and having regard to the age factor of the appellants, we are of the view that the interest of justice would be advanced if the appellants are paid a lump sum amount towards settlement of all their dues. Though neither the Management nor the workmen could agree on the offers made from either side, having regard to all the aspects which we have referred to above, we feel that to do complete justice between the parties, it will be appropriate that the appellants are given an amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs (Rupees Ten Lakhs) each. The said amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs will be paid to the appellants within six weeks from today and in case of default in making the payment, the amount shall carry interest at the rate of 18% from the date of the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal. We make it clear that the said amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs will not include the claim of the workmen for Gratuity and Provident Fund. We also clarify that the Gratuity will be calculated on the basis of the wages drawn by the workmen as of now and with continuous service till today.

                                                              NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs 4858-4859 OF 2016
             [@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) 35984-35985 OF 2015]

      GHANSHYAM SUKHDEO GAIKWAD AND ORS            Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

      BAJAJ AUTO LTD. & ORS.                       Respondent(s)
                                    WITH

                     CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 4860-4862 OF 2016
             [@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) 35986-35988 OF 2015]

                               J U D G M E N T


KURIAN, J.
1.    Leave granted.
2.    The appeals have a chequered  history.   The  appellants  started  the
litigation way back in the year 1991 by  approaching  initially  the  Labour
Court and thereafter, the  Industrial  Court  at  Pune.   The  Labour  Court
dismissed their complaint.  The Industrial Court remanded the matter to  the
Labour Court, which was pursued by the Management  before  the  High  Court.
The High Court set aside the orders of the Labour Court and  the  Industrial
Court by consent, and the matter was remanded to the Labour Court  by  order
dated 09.04.1996.  The Labour Court, by order  dated  12.12.1997,  dismissed
the complaint.  The appellants pursued  the  matter  before  the  Industrial
Tribunal.  The  Industrial  Tribunal  allowed  the  complaint  and  directed
reinstatement of the workmen,  however,  without  backwages,  by  its  order
dated 22.01.1998.
3.     Both  sides,  feeling  aggrieved,  approached   the  High  Court   of
judicature of Bombay, which has led  to  the  impugned  Judgment  and  Order
dated 07.05.2015, by which the High Court has dismissed  the  writ  petition
filed by  the  appellants  and  allowed  the  writ  petition  filed  by  the
Management, holding that the retrenchment was in order.
4.    Thus aggrieved, the workmen are before this Court in these appeals.
5.    We have heard the learned counsel on both sides  extensively.   During
the course of hearing, it was noticed by this Court that in the  year  2007,
one of the appellants (according to the learned counsel for the  Management,
all the  appellants)  was  offered  Voluntary  Retirement  (VRS),  by  which
Scheme, the appellant  would  be  receiving  an  amount  of  Rs.20,40,981/-,
inclusive of Provident Fund and Gratuity.  It appears that the  workman  was
not happy with the offer.  According to Mr. Sanjay Singhvi,  learned  senior
counsel appearing for the appellants, some of  them  were  not  offered  the
said Scheme.
6.    Be that as it may, it is not in dispute that all the  appellants  have
been getting regular wages ever  since  2002,  as  applicable  to  permanent
workers.  According to Mr. Singhvi, learned senior  counsel,  the  wages  of
regular workers did not actually include certain  allowances.   It  is  also
not in dispute that the Management has not been  extracting  any  work  from
the appellants since April, 2003, though according to the  appellants,  they
have been reporting everyday for work and they  have  been  sitting  in  the
premises of the Company only.
7.    Having regard to the background of the litigation,  having  regard  to
the fact that thousands of employees have been  discharged  on  VRS  by  the
Management and having regard to the fact that  out  of  the  65  people  who
pursued the litigation, 59 people have already gone  on  VRS  or  otherwise,
and having regard to the age factor of the appellants, we are  of  the  view
that the interest of justice would be advanced if the appellants are paid  a
lump sum amount towards settlement of all their dues.   Though  neither  the
Management nor the workmen could agree on the offers made from either  side,
having regard to all the aspects which we have referred to  above,  we  feel
that to do complete justice between the  parties,  it  will  be  appropriate
that the appellants are given an amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs (Rupees  Ten  Lakhs)
each.  The said amount of Rs. 10  Lakhs  will  be  paid  to  the  appellants
within six weeks from today and in case of default in  making  the  payment,
the amount shall carry interest at the rate of 18%  from  the  date  of  the
award passed by the Industrial Tribunal.
8.    We make it clear that the  said  amount  of  Rs.  10  Lakhs  will  not
include the claim of the workmen for Gratuity and Provident Fund.   We  also
clarify that the Gratuity will be calculated  on  the  basis  of  the  wages
drawn by the workmen as of now and with continuous service till today.
9.    In view of the above observations  and  directions,  the  appeals  are
disposed of with no order as to costs.
10.   It is made clear that we have invoked our special  jurisdiction  under
Article 142 of the Constitution and, therefore, this Judgment  will  not  be
treated as a precedent.
                                                   .......................J.
                                                           [ KURIAN JOSEPH ]


                                                   .......................J.
                                                   [ ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN ]

      New Delhi;
      May 05, 2016.

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