Khandelwal Laborataries Vs. Labour Court [Kerala High Court, 09-03-2016]

Industrial Disputes Act – Sec.33C(2) – Labour Court in an application under Sec.33C(2) of the ID Act cannot adjudicate the dispute of entitlement or the basis of claim of the workman and it can only interpret the award or settlement on which the claim is based and that its jurisdiction is like that of an executing court.


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

ALEXANDER THOMAS, J.

W.P(C).No.24057 Of 2006

Dated this the 9th day of March, 2016.

AGAINST THE ORDER IN CP 89/2002 of LABOUR COURT, KOLLAM DATED 23-03-2006

PETITIONER

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, KHANDELWAL LABORATARIES (PVT).LTD 69/87, D, LAD PATH, POST BOX NO.7808, MUMBAI-400033.

BY ADVS. SRI.THOMAS ABRAHAM SRI.K.B.ARUNKUMAR

RESPONDENTS

1. LABOUR COURT, KOLLAM.

2. V.K.SUDHAKARAN NAIR, T.C.23/1175, VINAYAKA, MELARANUR, KARAMANA P.O., THIRUVANANTHAPURAM.

3. THE DISTRICT LABOUR OFFICER, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM.

R2 BY ADV. SRI.R.GOPAN R1 & R3 BY GOVERNMENT PLEADER SRI.P.V.ELIAS

J U D G M E N T

The prayer in this Writ Petition (Civil) filed by the petitioner- company is for a writ of certiorari to quash the impugned Ext.P-10 order dated 23.3.2006 passed by the Labour Court, Kollam in Claim Petition No.89/2002 filed by the 2nd respondent herein in terms of the provisions contained in

Sec.33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act.

There is also a consequential prayer to quash the impugned Ext.P-11 show cause notice dated 28.7.2006 issued by the District Labour Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, whereby the petitioner has been directed to show cause as to why Revenue Recovery steps should not be taken to realise the amount due under Ext.P-10 as arrears of land revenue by resort to proceedings under the Revenue Recovery Act.

2. Ext.P-6(1) to P-6(4) Claim Petition No.89/2002 was instituted by the 2nd respondent herein, in terms of the provisions contained in Sec.33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. It is the case projected by the claimant therein, 2nd respondent herein, that he was employed as a sales promotion worker under the management from 10.8.1993 to 29.11.2001 and that management had illegally denied him employment from 2.9.2000 onwards and that later his resignation from the company services was accepted with effect from 29.11.2001 and that he is entitled for various benefits for the period up to 29.11.2001. On this basis he has claimed that he is entitled to get a total amount of Rs.1,60,326/- by way of unpaid salary, salary due to stoppage of work by the management, transportation expenses, medical reimbursement, leave allowances, bonus and loss due to illegal withholding of increments, etc. The management submitted Ext.P-7 objections dated 15.5.2003 to the above said claim. It has been inter alia contended therein that the claimant had worked as a medical representative in their laboratory at Hubli in Karnataka and therefore appropriate Government in this case is the Government of Karnataka and accordingly, the Labour Court, Kollam, which is situated in the State of Kerala has no territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate this matter. After submission of Exts.P-6(1) to P-6(4) claim petition dated 27.08.2002, the petitioner submitted Ext.P-6(5) to P-6(9) additional claim statement pointing out that the total amounts due to him comes only to Rs.1,31,107/- as stated in Ext.P-6(9), and not the amount of Rs.1,60,326/- mentioned in Ext.P-6(4). It is the case of the petitioner that his entire claim is based on the said additional statement as per Exts.P-6(5) to P-6(9) and not on the basis of original statement of claims in Exts.P-6(1) to P-6(4). The employer (petitioner herein) thereupon submitted Ext.P-8 additional objections giving various details of their version to contend that none of the claims in Ext.P-6(5) to P-6 (9) are entitled to the workman etc. The Management produced Exts.P-1 to P-13 documents before the Labour Court and the workman produced Exts.R-1 to R-13 documents on his side. PW-1 was examined on behalf of the workman and RW-1 was examined on behalf of the Management. The Labour Court after adjudication of the matter rendered the impugned Ext.P-10 order dated 23.03.2006 holding that after submission of the aforestated additional claim by the workman, the Management had not submitted any additional statement or objections and that the claim stands proved and accordingly ordered that the entire amount of Rs.1,31,107/- [as claimed in Ext.P-6(9)] shall be paid by the Management to the workman within two months, failing which, the workman will be entitled to recover it with interest at the rate of 6% from the date of petition till the date of realisation. The impugned Ext.P-10 proceedings is under challenge in this petition.

3. This Court, while admitting this Writ Petition (Civil) on 11.09.2006, had granted interim stay of the impugned Ext.P-10 proceedings on condition that the writ petitioner (Management) pays to the 2nd respondent (workman) 50% of the amount directed to be paid as per the impugned order within one month. Impugning the interim order dated 11.09.2006 passed in the W.P.(C), the petitioner (Management) had preferred a Writ Appeal as W.A.No.1788/2006 before the Division Bench, in which the Division Bench as per judgment dated 21.11.2006 had disposed of the said Writ Appeal after hearing both sides ordering that the impugned interim order passed by the learned Single Judge will stand modified by directing the appellant to deposit 50% of the amount directed to be paid in the Labour Court within two months therefrom. It is pointed out by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that in compliance with the aforesaid judgment dated 21.11.2006 of the Division Bench in W.A.No.1788/2006, the petitioner (Management) had deposited an amount of Rs.65,554/- before the Labour Court, Kollam on 19.01.2007.

4. Heard Sri Thomas Abraham, learned counsel for the petitioner (Management), Sri R.Gopan, the learned counsel appearing for the second respondent (workman) and the learned Government Pleader appearing for respondents 1 and 3.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioner has raised several contentions. The first contention is that the Labour Court, Kollam has no territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute under Section 33C (2), as the workman was transferred to Hubli in Karnataka State in June, 2000, and that he had given his resignation effective from the end of November, 2001, from the service of the company. Therefore, ‘the appropriate Government’, for the purpose of Sec.10 of the Industrial Disputes Act is the Government of Karnataka and not the Government of Kerala and therefore, the Labour Court, Kollam situated within the territorial limits of the State of Kerala has no jurisdiction to entertain the application under Section 33C (2).

6. The second contention raised by the petitioner is that in view of the ruling of this Court in