Workmen of Bhurkunda Colliery of M/S Central Coalfields Ltd. Vs. The Management
of Bhurkunda Colliery of M/S Central Coal  Insc 36 (27 January 2006)
Kumar & Dalveer Bhandari
APPEAL NO. 1601 OF 2005 Employers in relation to the Management of Bhurkunda
Colliery of M/s Central Coalfields Ltd., Ranchi .... Appellant Versus Their
Workmen represented by the General Secretary, Koyla Mazdoor Sabha, Bhurkunda
Bazar, Ranchi ....Respondent Dalveer Bhandari, J
The main concept of regularization of Indian Industrial jurisprudence is the
subject-matter of adjudication in these Civil Appeals. We propose to dispose of
both these appeals by this judgment.
facts which are necessary to dispose of these appeals are recapitulated as
appeals, the award given by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal has been
upheld by the learned Single Judge and appeals against the judgment of the
learned Single Judge have been dismissed by the Division Bench of the Jharkhand
workmen were in the employment of Bhurkunda Colliery in various capacities
since before its take-over by the Central Coalfields Ltd. (for short 'CCL').
After the take-over by the 'CCL', the concerned workmen were employed as
Mazdoors in certain engineering projects and were known as Civil Engineering
Workers. The concerned workmen claimed that such type of Civil Engineering
Workers should be put on regular basis as casual labour and in course of time
they should be regularized.
management of 'CCL' also issued a direction that such workmen who have
completed 240 days of attendance should be regularized. In fact, a large number
of workers employed in Gidi-A Colliery of 'CCL' were regularized on the basis
of certain directions of the Headquarter of 'CCL'. Even in case of Bhurkunda
Colliery, 39 workers of the said type were also regularized.
Labour union took up the matter of the concerned 125 Civil Engineering Workers
on the ground that the services of these workers should be regularized. The
union raised a demand that instead of regularizing the services of the workers,
the management retrenched the concerned workmen.
gave rise to an industrial dispute. On persuasion of the union, with initial
resistance, ultimately, the Home Ministry of Government referred the dispute to
the Tribunal for adjudication.
the demand raised by Koyla Mazdoor Sabha in regard to alleged discrimination in
employment/regularization of 125 casual workers of Repair and Maintenance
Section (Civil) of Bhurkunda Colliery of Central Coalfields Limited is
justified? If so, what relief are these workmen entitled?" The Presiding
Officer of the Central Government Industrial Tribunal (No.2), Dhanbad in the
Award dated 15th May, 1988 held that the dispute raised by the Labour union on
behalf of the concerned workmen was not stale as the matter was being pursued
by the union due to the stoppage of work by the concerned workmen. It was
admitted by the union that 21 workmen left the services and consequently the
number was reduced from 125 to 104. The Tribunal held that the casual workmen
of Bhurkunda Colliery also deserve the same benefit which was given to the
workmen of Giddi-A Colliery and as such their services also deserve to be
to the Tribunal, on scrutiny, out of 104 casual workmen, only 74 of them in
Repairs and Maintenance (Civil) Section of Bhurkunda Colliery of M/s 'CCL'
could justify their claim. As such, the management was directed to enlist those
74 workers as casual workmen and be provided with different jobs in Category-I
and they may be regularized after they have fulfilled the condition of
attendance in a year. The Award of the Tribunal was challenged. The management
filed C.W.J.C. No.1175 of 1989 and labour union filed C.W.J.C. No.1083 of 1991
and Koyla Mazdoor Sabha on behalf of 51 persons, who were not granted any
relief in the award, also filed C.W.J.C.
of 1999 and all the three writ petitions were heard together by the learned
Single Judge. The learned Single Judge, who heard these three writ petitions
did not interfere with the Award of the Tribunal. The Division Bench of the
Jharkhand High Court upheld the judgment of the Learned Single Judge and
consequently as directed by the Tribunal, cases of 74 workmen were required to be
considered for regularization of their services after they have fulfilled the
condition of attendance in a year.
have heard the learned counsel appearing for the workmen and the management at
length. We see no reason to interfere with the findings of fact arrived at by
the Tribunal and affirmed by the learned Single Judge and the Division Bench of
the High Court. The process of regularization which has already been initiated
must be completed as expeditiously as possible or in any event, within two months
pursuance to the order of the High Court, the management has deposited some
amount towards the wages with the High Court and the Registrar of the Jharkhand
High Court has been disbursing Rs.500/- per month to some of the workmen.
Learned counsel appearing for the management has also filed a list of workmen
who were being paid wages @ Rs.500/- per month as per the order of the High
Court out of the amount deposited in the High Court by the management.
Registrar of the High Court shall continue to pay Rs.500/- to these workmen
till their respective claims are verified. We direct the Registrar of the High
Court that their claims be verified as expeditiously as possible and in any
event within a period of two months. In the facts and circumstances of these
cases, we direct that the amount already paid to the workmen shall not be
recovered and the Registrar of the High Court is directed to ensure that the
remaining balance amount after verification of the claims be refunded to the
avoid any further litigation, we direct the management to submit a report to
this Court regarding regularization of the workmen within three months.
facts and circumstances it becomes imperative to issue direction regarding
regularization. The main object of enacting Industrial and Labour laws is to
ensure peace and harmony between the employers and the employees in the larger
interest of the society.
industrial growth leading to economic prosperity largely depends on happy and
healthy relationship between employers and employees. As early as in 1967, this
Court in the case of Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd. v. Workmen (AIR 1967 SC 948)
observed that the social and economic upliftment of the labour is absolutely
imperative for securing industrial peace.
of tenure is essential for an employee so that he can give his best to the job.
This object can be attained by regularization of the employees within a
case of Calcutta Port Shramik Union v. Calcutta R.T. Association (AIR 1988 SC
2168), this Court observed that the object of enacting the Industrial Disputes
Act, 1947 and of making provision therein to refer disputes to tribunals for
settlement is to bring about industrial peace.
Court in S.M. Nilajkar and Others v. Telecom Distt. Manager, Karnataka (2003) 4
SCC 27 was of the opinion that the labour laws being beneficial pieces of
legislation are to be interpreted in favour of beneficiaries. According to the
Court, in case of doubt or where it is possible to take two views of a
provision, the benefit must go to the labour.
Court in State of Haryana v. Piara Singh (1992) 4 SCC 118 held that so far as
the work-charged employees and casual labour are concerned, the effort must be
to regularize them as far as possible and as early as possible subject to their
fulfilling the qualifications, if any, prescribed for the post and subject also
to availability of work. If a casual labourer is continued for a fairly long
spell say two or three years - a presumption may arise that there is regular
need for his services. In such a situation, it becomes obligatory for the
authority concerned to examine the feasibility of his regularization. While
doing so, the authorities ought to adopt a positive approach coupled with an
empathy for the person.
matter of regularization, the main concern of the Court is to see that the rule
of law is respected and to ensure that the executive acts fairly and give a
fair deal to its employees consistent with the requirement of Articles 14 and
16 of the Constitution of India. The State being a model employer should not
exploit the employees nor take advantage of helplessness and misery of either
the unemployed person or the person concerned, as the case may be.
a temporary or ad hoc appointment is continued for long, the Court presumes
that there is regular need for his services on a regular post and accordingly
also our bounded duty to give expression to the legislative intention for creating
a healthy environment leading to proper understanding and cooperation and in
true sense a partnership between the employers and the employees in cases of
report of the National Commission of Labour published by Ministry of Labour,
Employment and Rehabilitation in 1969 has dealt with the aspect of industrial
peace and harmony. It will be appropriate to recapitulate some aspects of that
to the philosophy of the First Five Year Plan, peace in industry has a great
significance as a force for world peace if we consider the wider implications
of the question.
answer to class-antagonisms and world conflicts will arrive soon if we succeed
in discovering a sound basis for human relations in industry. Economic progress
is also bound up with industrial peace. Industrial relations are, therefore,
not a matter between employers and employees alone, but a vital concern of the
community which may be expressed in measures for the protection of its larger
for industrial harmony is indispensable when a country plans to make economic
progress. It may sound platitudinous but it is nevertheless true that no nation
can hope to survive in the modern technological age, much less become strong,
great and prosperous, unless it is wedded to industrial development and
technological advance. Economic progress is bound up with industrial harmony
for the simple reason that industrial harmony inevitably leads to more
cooperation between employers and employees, which results in more productivity
and thereby contributes to all-round prosperity of the country. Healthy
industrial relations, on which industrial harmony is founded, cannot therefore
be regarded as a matter in which only the employers and employees are concerned;
it is of vital significance to the community as a whole. That is how the
concept of industrial harmony involves the cooperation not only of the
employers and the employees, but also of the community at large. This
cooperation stipulates that employees and employers recognise that though they
are fully justified in safeguarding their respective rights and interests, they
must also bear in mind the interests of the community. In other words, both
employers and employees should recognise that as citizens they ought not to
forget the interests of the community. If this be the true scope of the concept
of industrial harmony, it follows that industrial harmony should and ought to
emphasise the importance of raising productivity, because the resulting accelerated
rate of growth will lead to the good of the community as a whole. That, we
consider, is the true significance of the doctrine of industrial harmony in its
three- dimensional aspect.
plain that in order to create a proper climate for industrial harmony and to
cultivate proper attitudes in the minds of the employees and the employers
alike, it is essential that employees must be well organized and trade unionism
must become strong. Employers must be progressive and must recognize
whole-heartedly the validity of the doctrine that they and their employers are
partners in the adventure of the growth of the industrial life of the country.
The history of the trade union movement in the world shows that healthy and
proper attitudes are not easily born and the trade union movement does not
become strong without resistance from the employers, and such resistance leads
to a long and bitter strife. Quest for industrial harmony has thus been
sometimes stalled or delayed or frustrated by struggles between the employers
and the employees.
growth of industrial jurisprudence in India, subsequent to 1950, bears close resemblance to the growth of
Constitutional Law in relation to the fundamental rights guaranteed to the
industrial jurisprudence, likewise, seeks to evolve a rational synthesis
between the conflicting scheme of the employers and employees. In finding out
solutions to industrial disputes great care is always taken, as it ought to be,
to see that the settlement of industrial disputes does not go against the
interests of the community as a whole. In the decision of major industrial
disputes, three facts are thus involved. The interests of the employees which
have received constitutional guarantees under the Directive Principles, the
interests of the employers which have received a guarantee under Article 19 and
other Articles of Part III, and the interests of the community at large which
are so important in a Welfare State. It is on these lines that industrial
jurisprudence has developed during the last few decades in our country.
we modulate our thinking process and attitude according to the underlying
philosophy of Industrial and Labour jurisprudence and apply the laws meant for
industrial peace and harmony, then the conclusion becomes irresistible that the
employees who have been working since 1973-74 required to be regularized as
expeditiously as possible.
employers and employees have their respective obligations. They must have the
appreciation of each others's responsibilities, duties and obligations. The
Trade Union and Labour Union should understand and appreciate the fact that
Labour is not a commodity nor is it a mere supply of Labour force at the
management's disposal. Essentially, Labour is the real basis that underlines
the production of goods and services. Through the work should the human
personality and its sense of responsibility be able to unfold, management
should appreciate this and always attribute its success to the trained and
effective labour force. It must be understood by all concerns that both the
employees and employers are vital for any industry and unless there is proper
coordination, a smooth functioning of any industry would be difficult.
basis of the aforementioned observations, these appeals are disposed of. In the
facts and circumstances of these cases, we direct the parties to bear their