of Nilpur Tea Estate Vs. State of Assam & Ors  INSC 704 (17 November
N.P. (J) Singh N.P. (J) Ahmadi A.M. (Cj) Kirpal B.N. (J) N.P. Singh. J.
1996 AIR 737 1996 SCC (1) 60 JT 1995 (8) 272 1995 SCALE (6)504
appeal has been filed on behalf of the Management of Nilpur Tea Estate for
setting aside the order dated 8.2.1995 passed by a learned Judge of the Guwahati
High Court, dismissing the writ petition filed on behalf of the appellant, for
quashing the order passed by the Labour Court under Section 33-C(2) of the
Industrial Disputes Act (hereinafter referred to as the `Act'). The order
aforesaid has been affirmed by the Division Bench by dismissal of the writ
appeal by its order dated 15.5.1995.
charge-sheet was issued by the appellant on 9.10.1981 against the third
respondent (hereinafter referred to as the `respondent') alleging certain
misconduct under the standing order. Thereafter a domestic enquiry was held and
on the basis of the report of the Enquiry Officer by order dated 1.2.1982 the
services of the said respondent were terminated. On an industrial dispute being
raised, reference of the dispute was made for adjudication to the Labour Court. The Labour Court gave its award which was published in the gazette in
January 1988. By the aforesaid award, the order of termination was set aside
and a direction was given that respondent be reinstated.
notation was filed on behalf of the appellant before the High Court questioning
the validity of the award aforesaid. The said writ petition was dismissed on
24.6.1993 by a learned Judge upholding the order of the Labour Court directing reinstatement. The writ
appeal filed on behalf of the appellant was also dismissed on 29.9.1993. It may
be mentioned that during the pendency of writ petition respondent was
reinstated but on 19.4.1988 the appellant communicated an order to the said
respondent again terminating his services. He was also called upon to collect
his back wages. There is no dispute that the second order of termination after
reinstatement of the respondent as per direction given by the Labour Court, was not challenged and no dispute
was raised in respect of the said order dated 19.4.1988. On 11.10.1993 a letter
was addressed by the appellant to the said respondent requesting him to hand
over possession of the staff quarter as his services had already been
terminated on 19.4.1988. A Title Suit No.2/94 was also filed in the court of
the Assistant District Judge. Tejpur for recovery of vacant possession of the
said quarter. Then the respondent filed an application under Section 33-C(2) of
the Act before the Labour Court on 16.2.1994 for computation of the amount of
money due to him as back wages payable by the appellant. On that petition the Labour Court directed the appellant to pay an
amount of Rs.1,54,851/- as duss towards the wages and other benefits payable to
the respondent for the period commencing from 1.2.1982 when the services of the
said respondent were terminated till March 1994. The writ petition as well writ
appeal challenging the said order of Labour Court under Section 33-C(2), were
dismissed by the High Court saying that there was no error apparent on the face
of the order of the Labour Court calling for an interference by the High Court.
behalf of the appellant it was pointed out that there was no dispute in the
present case that second order of termination of the services of the respondent
dated 19.4.1988 had remained unchallenged and validity thereof had never been
questioned by the respondent before any forum. It was also pointed out that the
said order had been communicated to the respondent, who completely ignored the
same and only when the aforesaid communication dated 11.10.1993 was issued by
the appellant requiring the respondent to hand over possession of the staff
quarter, the aforesaid petition under Section 33-C(2) was filed for computation
of the arrears of back wages. As no step had been taken by the respondent to
question the legality or otherwise of the order of termination dated 19.4.1988.
The said order could not have been ignored by the Labour Court or the High
Court, for purposes of calculating the amount which remained due and is payable
to the respondent. To put it in other words, the Labour Court or the High Court
could not have directed payment to the respondent for period after 19.4.1988
when the services of the respondent were terminated afresh. The counsel for the
respondent could not take a stand that respondent had challenged the aforesaid
order dated 19.4.1988 terminating his services after being reinstated. Unless
the said order of termination is held to be invalid, it cannot be ignored in a
proceeding under Section 33-C(2) of the Act. The counsel who appeared for the
respondent could not explain as to why the order of termination dated 19.4.1988
was completely ignored by the respondent. In view of the order dated 19.4.1988
it has to be assumed that the services of the respondent had been terminated
and the relationship as employer and workman between the appellant and the said
respondent came to an end on 19.4.1988, because of which the said respondent
was not entitled to claim any back wages after 18.4.1988. In such a situation,
we are left with no option but to modify the orders of the Labour Court as well
as of the High Court to the extent that the back wages and other benefits which
had been computed by the Labour Court as the amount payable to the respondent,
has to be calculated till 18.4.1988.
the direction to make payment upto March, 1994 is set aside and it shall be
restricted to the period from 1.2.1982 to 18.4.1988.
behalf of the respondent, our attention was drawn to an order of the High Court
in a contempt proceeding initiated by the said respondent. The counsel who
appeared for the appellant had given an undertaking that the appellant shall
pay all the dues to the said respondent within the time fixed in the said
order. That order according to us is of no help to the respondent. Now that has
to be read as the amount which in law is due to the respondent. We accordingly,
direct that the dues payable to the respondent in terms of this order be paid
to the respondent within two months from today, by calculating the dues payable
to the said respondent upto 18.4.1988, if not already paid.
appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above.
shall be no order as to costs.