Ministry of Textile Vs. Murari Lal Gupta & ANR  INSC 589 (7 April 2008)
DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT & P. SATHASIVAM
REPORTABLE CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2509 OF 2008 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 21769
of 2005) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. Challenge in this appeal is to the order of a Division Bench of the Delhi
High Court dismissing the appeal filed by the appellant. Challenge in the
appeal was to the judgment and order dated 21.9.2004 passed by a learned Single
Judge in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 4662 of 2002.
3. Background facts as projected by the respondent in the Writ Petition
filed by him before the High Court are essentially as follows:
Respondent was appointed as Chowkidar in Carpet Weaving Training Center,
Bharatpur, Rajasthan on 24.8.1982. On 26.3.1985 respondent filed a
representation for regularization.
The same was rejected by order dated 20.5.1985 as he was over aged.
According to the appellant, respondent stopped attending his duties in the
office from 6.12.1987 and served a notice seeking reinstatement on 30.5.1988.
On 3.6.1988 respondent filed L.A. No.201 of 1988 and 202 of 1988 for payment of
difference in salary in the period from 24.8.1982 to 5.12.1987 and for overtime
wages for the same period. On 5.7.1988 respondent filed a statement of claim
before Conciliation Officer (Central), New Delhi. The efforts for conciliation
proceedings failed and on 30.6.1989 failure report was submitted to Ministry
Respondent filed a writ petition in 1993. By order dated 23.8.1995
respondent's writ petition was disposed of with a direction to refer the matter
to the Industrial Tribunal notwithstanding the pendency of the matter filed by
the respondent regarding minimum wages and overtime. The reference was rejected
earlier by order dated 6.8.1990. The rejection was made on the ground that the
matter was pending in Court. However, pursuant to the order of the High Court,
reference was made under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in
short the 'Act'). By award dated 9.2.2001 the Tribunal directed reinstatement
with back wages. It is to be noted that the matter was decided ex-parte. In the
year 2002, the scheme in which respondent claimed to have been appointed was
abandoned by the Government of India. On 1.8.2002 the respondent filed writ
petition No.4662 of 2002 for implementation of order of the Tribunal. On
17.10.2003 the appellant filed writ petition No.7707 of 2003 challenging the
award. By order dated 21.9.2004, the writ petition filed by the appellant was
dismissed while the writ petition filed by the respondent was allowed. The LPA
was filed in respect of the order in writ petition No.7707 of 2003. LPA 26 of
2005 which was filed against the order in Writ Petition No.4662 of 2002. LPA
No.26 of 2005 was dismissed as withdrawn and the other LPA was dismissed by the
impugned order dated 24.3.2005.
The primary stand of the appellant is that the unit has already been closed
and, therefore, the direction for reinstatement could not have been given. In
addition if the termination was in November, 1987 as claimed by the respondent,
the writ petition filed was highly belated and no direction could have been
given to refer the matter to the Industrial Tribunal.
Learned counsel for the respondents on the other hand submitted that the
writ petition filed by the respondents has been allowed and therefore, the High
Court was justified in dismissing the LPA.
4. Undisputedly the writ petition was filed after about five years. The High
Court directed reconsideration of the matter and did not in fact direct
reference to be made. Except in certain unexceptional cases courts should not
direct reference to be made. It is within the domain of the Government to
decide as to in which case reference is to be made and in which case reference
is not to be done. The reference was apparently made on the ground that the
High Court had directed a reference to be made. That was not factually correct.
Be that as it may, writ petition filed by the respondents was allowed by the
But the fact that the project has already been closed cannot be lost sight
of. Also relevant is the belated filing of the writ petition.
5. In State of M.P. & Ors. v. Arjunlal Rajak [2006(2) SCC 711] it was
held as follows:
"11. Keeping in view the fact that the services of the respondent were
terminated on the ground that the production unit in which he was working
itself had been closed, we are of the opinion that interest of justice would be
subserved if a monetary compensation of Rs 10,000/- is granted to him. It,
however, goes without saying that he would be entitled to the wages for the
period he had actually worked pursuant to or in furtherance of the order of the
Labour Court and as also of the High Court upon his reinstatement. The award of
the Labour Court as also the judgment of the High Court are set aside."
6. In Municipal Council, Sujanpur v. Surinder Kumar [2006(5) SCC 173] it was
held as follows:
"22. We, therefore, allow the appeal and set aside the directions of
the Labour Court and direct that in place of the respondent being reinstated
with back wages, the appellant would pay monetary compensation to him,
quantified at Rs.50,000. We make no order as to costs."
7. In the peculiar facts of the case we direct that the respondent be paid
an amount of Rs.50,000/- in full and final settlement of his claim. The
direction for reinstatement and/or back wages stands set aside.
8. The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent with no order as to costs.