Caustic & Chemicals Ltd. Vs. Kripa Pandey  Insc 50 (18 January 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & P. Sathasivam Dr. Arijit Pasayat, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of the Division Bench of the Patna
High Court dismissing the Letters Patent Appeal filed by the appellant.
Challenge in the Letters Patent Appeal was to the judgment of the learned
Single Judge of the said High Court. Before the High Court challenge was to the
award of the Labour
Court, Ranchi in Reference Case No.41/85. The
respondent had raised a dispute, inter alia, alleging illegal termination.
According to him he was working in the appellants factory continuously
from 1.8.1983 to 12.8.1984 and he was removed from service on 21.9.1984 without
any reason. Following dispute was referred to the Labour Court for adjudication:
the termination of services of Shri Kripa Pandey, Driver by the management is
proper and justified? If not, whether he is entitled to reinstatement and/or
any other relief.
aforesaid reference was made by notification dated 1.11.1985. Stand of the
appellant before the Labour
Court was that during
the period from 1981 to 1984 when the factory of the appellant was under
construction it had engaged several contractors including one M/s Mishra
Brothers for the purpose of various works for construction of the factory.
the aforesaid period the said Contractor who was authorized to engage contract labour
under the provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act,
1970 (for short Contract Labour Act) by licence deed dated
13.3.1982 engaged the respondent as a tractor driver. It was the case of the
appellant that at no point of time respondent was employee of the appellant and
there was no relationship of employer and employee between them. No appointment
letter was ever issued to the respondent by the appellant. The respondent used
to get salary from the Contractor. After construction of the work was completed
in 1984, the appellant did not require services of the contractor and in turn
the contractor did not require the services of the employees including
respondent engaged by it.
the written statement filed before the Labour Court the above plea was taken
and it was stated that the respondent was not a workman within the meaning of
Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (in short the Act)
and, therefore, the reference as made was maintainable in law.
the Labour Court the contractor was also examined
and he stated that the respondent was working under his contract and he was
employed by him and, therefore, he paid the wages to him. In the gate pass it
was clearly mentioned that he was the employee of the Contractor.
Labour Court held that the termination was illegal and unjustified and the
respondent was entitled to reinstatement and back wages from the date of the
institution of claim i.e. 28.11.1985.
Writ petition was filed before the High Court and as noted above, it was
dismissed by the learned Single Judge. The Division Bench dismissed the Letters
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that no
finding on the plea taken by the appellant regarding the respondent being
employed by the contractor has been recorded and the plea has not been
considered. Additionally, after this Court granted leave and the stay was
restricted to payment of back wages, respondent was reinstated on 21.3.2001 and
superannuated on 6.3.2006.
to his own case, he was getting Rs.400/- p.m. It is unbelievable that he was
not employed elsewhere. Further, during the pendency of the writ petition and
Letters Patent Appeal, payment in terms of Section 17-B was being made.
it is submitted that direction of back wages is not in order.
Learned counsel for the respondent on the other hand submitted that on the plea
taken by the appellant that respondent was gainfully employed, an inquiry was
conducted and it was concluded that the respondent was not gainfully employed.
dates need to be noted.
of reference is 1.11.1985 and the case was registered by Labour Court on 20.11.1985. The award is dated
published on 30.10.1989. The learned Single Judge dismissed the writ petition
on 7.10.1999 and the Letters Patent Appeal was dismissed on 29.6.2000.
Considering the facts that the specific stand of the appellant about the
respondent being employee of the Contractor was not considered by the Labour Court and the High Court, in normal
course we would have remitted the matter to the High Court for consideration of
that aspect. But taking into account the fact that even after reinstatement,
the respondent has superannuated, ends of justice would be best served if 50%
of the back wages in terms of the Labour Court Courts award is paid to the respondent. The payment
shall be made within three months. If any payment has already been made as back
wages, the same shall be adjusted from the amount payable in terms of this
The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent with no order as to costs.