It is only for the petitioner to produce evidence to show that Respondent is liable and have no merits in the case.
Case Name: M/S Popular Steel V/S Jahangir Alam and Anr.
Case Number: W.P. (C) Nos. 7107, 7108 of 2012
Court: Delhi High Court
Bench: Justice Ms. Rekha Pillai
Decided on: February 5, 2019
Relevant Acts/ Sections: Art 226 and 226 of Constitution of India, Section 10 ofIndustrial Disputes Act
- Brief Facts and Procedural History:
- The petitions filed in the court are vide Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, seeking a common award dated 16.08.2012 passed by the Labour Court relating to two interconnected industrial disputes filed by two workmen who are the respondents in this case after the Labour Court passed an order where there termination was held illegal and unjust and each of them were granted a lump sum amount of Rs.1, 00,000/- in lieu of reinstatement and back wages.
- The procedural history of this case is the respondent no.1 had joined the services of the petitioner on 05.05.1999 as an Assistant Machineman and worked there for a period of eight years during which he met with two accidents which were result of the direct negligence on the part of the petitioner’s management.
- The respondent no.1 performed all his duties with honesty and utmost dedication till 15.07.2007, after which he wasn’t allowed to re-join the duties as he went to visit his ailing father in his native village. The petitioner had illegally terminated him without providing any reasons and thus the respondent no.1 filed a claim petition in the Labour Court challenging his illegal termination. The details of the case are same for Jahangir Alam who was also illegally terminated of his service without the petitioner providing him any reasonable reasons.
- The labour court found the evidence on the part of petitioner insufficient and upheld his dismissal from job and awarded a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh.
- Vide the present petitions under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner impugned a common Award dated 16.08.2012 passed by the learned Labour Court in respect of two inter-connected industrial disputes filed by two workmen, namely Raj Kumar and Jahangir, who had been arrayed as the respondents in W.P.(C) No.7107/2012 and W.P.(C)No.7108/2012 respectively.
- Issues before the court:
- Whether the Labour Court was correct in discarding the testimony of handwriting?
- Whether the termination of respondents was just?
- Ratio of the Court:
- The present writ petitions filed by the petitioner to impugned the Award on the basis of two grounds. The counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Satender Verma, addresses the first and foremost ground which is the appointment of respondent no.1 for a fixed tenure and this can be proved by the appointment letter dated 01.01.2002.
- The Second ground is the testimony of the Handwriting Expert which was discarded by the Labour Court which had proved through the report that the signatures of the respondent no.1 on the appointment letter and the affidavit filed before the Labour Court are of the same person.
- On the other hand, Mr H.R.Jha, counsel for the respondent no.1, supports the impugned award and contends that even the respondent hadn’t filed any letter of appointment, as the petitioner didn’t issue any such letter, still he had duly placed record on the Insured Person Card issued to him by ESIC, which in itself shows thathis date of appointment was 04.01.2001, hereafter there was nothingshow that there was any break in his service.
- Mr.Jha also states that it was for the petitioner to produce the relevant attendance registers and otherconnected documents, in support of its contention that the respondent wasn’t in continuous employment, which were deliberately not produced before the Labour Court and thus he pleads to dismiss the writ petition.
- The court opined by relying on Shalini Shyam Shetty & Anr. v. Rajendra Shankar Patil [(2010) 8 SCC 329] that even though learned counsel for the petitioner is justified in contending that the report of handwriting expert cannot be simply brushed aside by the Court, in the facts of the present case, it cannot at all be said that the report has been simply discarded without assigning any reasons. The learned Labour Court has on a close scrutiny of the documents as also the report, categorically come to a conclusion that the same did not inspire confidence.
- It needs no reiteration that while exercising its powers under Article 226, this Court is not sitting in appeal and can only interfere with the learned Labour Court’s Award if there has been a manifest failure of justice or when the principles of natural justice have been flouted.
- The respondent had failed to prove that the handwriting was his and that he had been continuously employed by the present appellant. Also the reference to sec 10 of IO Act is misplaced but doesn’t help the respondent’s case. After listening to both the counsel for the petitioner as well as the respondent, the Honorable court was of the opinion that the termination was illegal and unreasonable and the petitioner was unable to provide sufficient evidence which could prove their point.
- Decision of the Court:
The Honorable High Court of Delhi upheld the decision of the Labour Court and did not interfere with the relief of Rs. 1 lakh
Writ Petition was dismissed.