Kishore Chandra Samal Vs. The D.M,Orissa State Cashew Development Corpt. Ltd
 Insc 647 (17 November 2005)
Arijit Pasayat & R.V.
Raveendran Arijit Pasayat, J.
Appellant calls in question legality of the judgment rendered by a Division
Bench of the Orissa High Court setting aside the award of Labour Court,
Bhubaneswar dated 29.10.1997 passed in I.D. Case No.90 of 1994 which directed
the appellant-Corporation to reinstate the present appellant with full back
Factual background in a nutshell is as under:- The case of the appellant was
that he was appointed as Junior Typist on N.M.R. basis by the respondent with
effect from 12.7.1982. He continued in the said post for more than one year.
All of a sudden another order was issued appointing him for 44 days with effect
from 1.10.1983. On its expiry on 15.11.1983 another appointment order was
issued on 5.12.1983 for a fixed period giving effect from 16.11.1983.
Thereafter, he was allowed to continue for about 8 months. Later he was
appointed on ad hoc basis in the usual scale of pay of
Rs.255-5-285-EB-7-306-12-390/- with effect from 23.7.1985. Thereafter without
any rhyme or reason, he was again kept in N.M.R. on payment of Rs.10/- per day
for a period of 90 days from 1.12.1985 to 28.2.1986.
Thereafter he was allowed to continue from 29.6.1986 to 25.9.1986 and
further from 27.9.1986 to 24.12.1986.
Thereafter, he was allowed to continue without any break till 11.8.1989.
Alleging that refusal of work beyond 11.8.1989 amounting to retrenchment, he
raised dispute giving rise to the above reference.
The respondent's case before the Labour Court was that the appellant was
working on N.M.R. basis as a Typist with effect from 12.7.1982. He was
appointed for a specific period on daily wage basis. On consideration of the
representation for further engagement and having regard to the requirement, he
was engaged again and again on daily wage basis for specific period. The last
order of appointment on N.M.R. basis was issued to him on 28.4.1989.
Thereafter no further extension was given. Thereafter, his service
automatically ceased and it is not a case of retrenchment.
The Labour Court on perusal of the evidence on record held that the
appellant served continuously for many years covering the requisite period of
continuous service in a calendar year. Although there is no evidence that the
post of Typist was a permanent one, he was engaged from time to time and at the
time of termination as the provisions of Section 25-F of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the 'Act') had not been complied with, termination
of his service is illegal and unjustified. On the basis of the said finding,
the Labour Court directed the appellant to be reinstated in his former post.
The High Court accepted the stand of the respondent- Corporation that the
appointment of the writ petitioner (appellant herein) was on N.M.R. basis for a
fixed period of time on the basis of payment at different rates. The
contractual period of engagement ended on 3.5.1989 and there was no renewal
thereafter. Since the engagement was for a fixed period, the High Court held
that the award of the Labour Court was to be set aside.
In support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that
the High Court failed to notice that the period fixed was a camouflage to avoid
regularization. Reliance was placed on a decision of this Court in S.M.
Nilaikar and Ors. v. Telecom District Manger, Karnataka (2003 (4) SCC 27) where
it was held that mere mention about the engagement being temporary without indication
of any period attracts Section 25-F of the Act if it is proved that the
concerned workman had worked continuously for more than 240 days.
The position of law relating to fixed appointments and the scope and ambit
of Section 2(oo)(bb) and Section 25-F were examined by this Court in several
cases. In Morinda Coop. Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Ram Kishan and Ors. (1995 (5) SCC
653) it was observed as follows:
"4. It would thus be clear that the respondents were not working
throughout the season. They worked during crushing seasons only. The
respondents were taken into work for the season and consequent to closure of
the season, they ceased to work.
5. The question is whether such a cessation would amount to retrenchment.
Since it is only a seasonal work, the respondents cannot be said to have
been retrenched in view of what is stated in clause (bb) of Section 2(oo) of
Under these circumstances, we are of the opinion that the view taken by the Labour
Court and the High Court is illegal. However, the appellant is directed to
maintain a register for all workmen engaged during the seasons enumerated
hereinbefore and when the new season starts the appellant should make a
publication in neighbouring places in which the respondents normally live and
if they would report for duty, the appellant would engage them in accordance
with seniority and exigency of work." The position was re-iterated by a
three-Judge Bench of this Court Court in Anil Bapurao Kanase v. Krishna
Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. and Anr. (1997 (10) SCC 599). It was noted as
"The learned counsel for the appellant contends that the judgment of
the High Court of Bombay relied on in the impugned order dated 28.3.1995 in
Writ Petition No.488 of 1994 is perhaps not applicable. Since the appellant has
worked for more than 180 days, he is to be treated as retrenched employee and
if the procedure contemplated under Section 25-F of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947 is
applied, his retrenchment is illegal. We find no force in this contention. In
Morinda Coop.Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Ram Kishan, in para 3, this Court has dealt
with engagement of the seasonal workman in sugarcane crushing;
in para 4 it is stated that it was not a case of retrenchment of the
workman, but of closure of the factory after the crushing season was over.
Accordingly, in para 5, it was held that it is not 'retrenchment' within the
meaning of Section 2(oo) of the Act. As a consequence the appellant is not
entitled to retrenchment as per clause (bb) of Section 2(oo) of the Act. Since
the present work is seasonal business, the principles of the Act have no
application. However, this Court has directed that the respondent management
should maintain a register and engage the workmen when the season starts in the
succeeding years in the order of seniority. Until all the employees whose names
appear in the list are engaged in addition to the employees who are already
working, the management should not go in for fresh engagement of new workmen.
It would be incumbent upon the respondent management to adopt such procedure as
is enumerated above." Recently, the question was examined in Batala Co-
operative Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Sowaran Singh (2005 (7) Supreme 165) Section
2(oo) of the Act reads as follows:
"Section 2(oo) "retrenchment" means the termination by the
employer of the service of a workman for any reason whatsoever, otherwise than
as a punishment inflicted by way of disciplinary action, but does not include -
(bb) termination of the service of the workman as a result of the
non-removal of the contract of employment between the employer and the workman
concerned on its expiry or of such contract being terminated under a
stipulation in that behalf contained therein" The decision in S.M.
Nilaikar's case (supra) has no application because in that case no period was
indicated and only indication was the temporary nature of engagement. In the
instant case in all the orders of engagement, specific periods have been
mentioned. Therefore, the High Court's order does not suffer from any
The High Court had noted that its order would not stand in the way of
Corporation considering the case of the workman for appointment. It is
submitted by learned counsel for the appellant that representation was made in
this regard which has been turned down. Learned counsel for the
respondent-Corporation submitted that the representation was for a permanent
absorption. Since there was no post vacant, the representation was rejected.
The dismissal of the present appeal shall not stand on the way of the
Corporation engaging appellant taking into account his experience and while
considering the appellant's case the claims of others making similar claims
shall be considered in proper perspective.
Appeal is allowed. Costs made easy.