U.P. Stte Electricity
Board Vs. Laxmi Kant Gupta  INSC 1655 (26 September 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 [Arising out of
Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 19437 of 2006] U.P. State Electricity Board
.. Appellant -versus- Laxmi Kant Gupta .. Respondent J U D G M EN T Markandey
appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment and order dated 20.3.2006
in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 11078 of 1997 of the Allahabad High Court.
learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
writ petition in the High Court was filed against the award of the Labour Court
IV, Kanpur dated 14.11.1996 (annexure P/4 to this appeal).
That award was given
on a reference made by the State Government under Section 4-K of the U.P.
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 regarding the termination of service of
respondent, Laxmi Kant Gupta from the service of the appellant.
respondent claimed that he was appointed as Coolie on 16.1.1984 and worked till
15.2.1986, and that his service was then terminated without complying with the
provisions of Section 6-N of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act. The appellant,
on the other hand, alleged that the respondent was never given a regular
the respondent challenged his termination of service after a delay of about 10
years by approaching the Conciliation Officer only on 14.9.1995. The Labour
Court observed that no reason has been given for this inordinate delay of about
10 years in raising this dispute, and on this 3 ground the Labour Court denied
back wages to the respondent and granted only re-instatement on the ground that
Section 6-N was violated.
counsel for the respondent submitted before us that the point of delay in
raising the industrial dispute was not taken by the appellant in its written
statement before the Labour Court, and hence the said point cannot be urged
going into this submission we are of the view that the impugned judgment of the
learned Single Judge of the High Court as well as the award of the Labour Court
granting re-instatement deserves to be set aside for the reasons given below.
U.P. State Brassware Corporation Ltd. & another vs. Uday Narain Pandey JT
2005 (10) SC 344, this Court referred to a large number of its earlier
decisions on the question as to the relief to be granted to the workman when
his termination of service is found to be illegal. It was noted that while the
earlier view of the Court was that if an order of termination was found to be
illegal, normally the relief to be granted should be re-instatement with full
back wages. However, as noted in the various 4 decisions referred to in the
above decision, with the passage of time it came to be realized that an
industry should not be compelled to pay to the workman for the period during
which he apparently contributed little or nothing at all. This Court after
discussing various earlier decisions held that the relief to be granted is
discretionary and not automatic. It was pointed out in the aforesaid decision
of this Court in U.P. Brassware Corporation (supra) that a person is not
entitled to get something only because it would be lawful to do so. The changes
brought out by the subsequent decisions of this Court, probably having regard
to the changes in the policy-decisions of the government in the wake of
prevailing market economy, globalization, privatization and outsourcing was
evident. Hence now there is no such principle that for an illegal termination
of service the normal rule is re- instatement with back wages, and instead the Labour
Court can award compensation.
same view was followed by this Court in Haryana State Electronics Development
Corporation vs. Mamni AIR 2006 SC 2427 (vide paragraphs 15 to 17).
it is evident that there has been a shift in the legal position which has been
modified by this Court and now there is no hard and fast 5 principle now that
on the termination of service being found to be illegal, the normal rule is
re-instatement with back wages. Compensation can be awarded instead, at the
discretion of the Labour Court, depending on the facts and circumstances of the
the present case, we are informed that the respondent has already received more
than Rs. 7 lakhs. This has happened because although the Labour Court in its
award dated 14.11.1996 only granted re-instatement without back wages,
subsequently, as a result of the interim order of the High Court in the writ
petition filed before it, the workman was granted his salary instead of
re-instatement as an interim measure. Consequently, as a result of that interim
order he has received more than Rs. 7 lakhs. Coupled with the facts that the
respondent worked for only 2 years (1984-86) as a purely temporary employee and
the fact that he raised the industrial dispute before the Conciliation Officer
only after 10 years of his termination of service, we are of the opinion that
the respondent has already got more than sufficient compensation in this case.
while we are not inclined to quash the reference order on the ground of delay,
we allow this appeal and set aside the impugned judgment and order of the High
Court as well as the Labour Court to the extent that 6 they grant
re-instatement to the respondent, and we hold that in this case compensation
should have been granted instead of re-instatement. In this case the amount
already paid to the respondent is more than sufficient compensation for his
illegal termination of service, and no further amount need to be paid to him.
However, what has already been paid to him should not be recovered from him.
appeal thus stands allowed. No costs.