Headload Workers; Gangadharan C.P. Vs. Abdul Nasir [Kerala High Court, 09-09-2016]

Headload Workers Rules (Kerala) – Rule 26A – Registration of Headload Workers – the Rule does not envisage issuance of any notice before registration to the existing registered ‘unattached workers’ in the area and no right is conferred upon them to submit objections in these days.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

P.R. RAMACHANDRA MENON & ANIL K. NARENDRAN, JJ.

W.A.No.1498 OF 2016

Dated this the 9 th September, 2016

(AGAINST THE JUDGMENT IN WP(C) 6304/2016 of HIGH COURT OF KERALA DATED 20-06-2016)

APPELLANT/THIRD PARTIES

GANGADHARAN C.P., SECRETARY, PANOOR AREA HEADLOAD WORKERS UNION, PANOOR, KANNUR DISTRICT AND ANOTHER

BY ADVS.SRI.M.SASINDRAN SRI.S.SHYAM KUMAR

RESPONDENT(S)/RESPONDENTS

ABDUL NASIR, KANNUR AND 6 OTHERS

R1 TO R4 BY SRI.G.S.KRISHNAN KARTHA BY SRI.RIYAL DEVASSY BY SRI.B.ASHOK SHENOY BY SRI.P.S.GIREESH R5 AND R6 BY GOVT.PLEADER MR. T.R. RAJASEKHARAN NAIR R7 BY SRI.C.S.AJITH PRAKASH, SC, KHWWB

J U D G M E N T

P.R. Ramachandra Menon, J.

Appellants are strangers to the writ petition, which was finalised by the learned single Judge setting aside the orders passed by the Asst. Labour Officer and the District Labour Officer (original authority and appellate authority respectively), whereby a direction was also given to grant registration to the attached workers of the writ petitioners in terms of

Rule 26A of the Kerala Headload Workers Rules

This appeal has been preferred after getting the leave of this Court as per order dated 28.07.2016 in I.A.No.887/2016, pointing out that the appellants were necessary parties to the proceedings and that having denied an opportunity of hearing, much loss, prejudice and hardships have been caused to them, which hence is sought to be intercepted by this Court.

2. The sequence of events revealed from the proceedings is that the first petitioner, who is the Managing partner of the partnership firm by name “Peekay Traders” sought to get registration of the attached workers for carrying out the incidental loading and unloading operations being carried out in the establishment. The said establishment was a newly set up unit, based on Ext.P1 partnership deed dated 31.08.2015, for doing retail business in Cement, Iron, Steel, Tiles and so on. Registration under the relevant provisions of the KVAT Act and Rules was obtained as borne by Ext.P2 certificate. Similarly, the establishment has also got the necessary D&O licence from the concerned Local authority, as evident from Ext.P3.

3. In the course of further steps for getting the petitioners 2 to 4, (who are the attached workers of the establishment) registered under the relevant provisions of the above Act/Rules, particularly the area being a ‘scheme-covered area’, Exts.P4 to P6 applications were submitted by the workers concerned in Form No.IX before the 6 th respondent herein. Since the said applications dated 28.12.2015 were not acted upon, the first petitioner was constrained to move this Court by filing W.P(C) No..655 of 2016 . The said writ petition was disposed of as per Ext.P7 judgment, directing the sole respondent therein, who is the 6 th respondent in this appeal, to consider and pass appropriate orders in the said applications. Pursuant to the said verdict, the 6 th respondent inspected the shop of the first petitioner and recorded the statement, which was virtually to the effect that he did not have any objection to register the names of the other petitioners, as the headload workers attached to the establishment. Despite this, the applications were rejected by the 6 th respondent as per Ext.P8 order dated 06.02.2016, merely holding that registration, if given to the concerned applicants, will adversely affect the rights and interests of the existing registered headload workers in the area, as to the extent of employment available to them.

4. Met with the situation, the said order was sought to be challenged by filing a statutory appeal before the first respondent in the writ petition(who is the 5 th respondent herein), but without considering the actual facts and figures and the relevant provisions of law in the proper perspective, the appeal was dismissed confirming the order passed by the registering authority vide Ext.P9 order dated 09.02.2016. This made the writ petitioners to approach this Court challenging Exts.P8 and P9 on various grounds. The concerned Welfare Fund Board came to be impleaded as an Addl. Respondent in the party array. After hearing both the sides, a learned Single Judge observed that there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to have rejected the applications and that the applicants had every right to get themselves registered as headload workers of the first petitioner. The learned single Judge also observed that the establishment being a new one, the question of maintenance of relevant registers, (which was stated as lacking as held by the original authority and the appellate authority) was of no consequence, by virtue of the law declared already by another single Judge of this Court as per the decision reported in

Rajeev V. v. District Labour Officer, 2010 (4) KLT 783

It was accordingly, that the impugned orders were set aside and the registering authority was directed to grant registration within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgment. It is against the said verdict, that the present appeal has been preferred by two persons, styled themselves as office bearers of the Headload Workers’ Union in the area and representing the workers concerned, who have already obtained registration in the area.

5. Heard Mr.M. Sasindran, the learned counsel appearing for the appellants, Mr. T.R. Rajasekharan Nair, the learned Sr.Govt. Pleader appearing for the departmental authorities, Mr. B. Ashok Shenoy, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of respondents 1 to 4 in the appeal and also Mr. Ajith Prakash, the learned Standing Counsel appearing on behalf of the 7 th respondent/Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board.

6. The learned counsel appearing for the appellants submitted that the registration ordered to be granted by the learned single Judge is without any regard to the right to livelihood of the existing workers who have got registration under the relevant rules. As per the relevant provisions of the Act, Rules and the Scheme, statutory registers are liable to be maintained by the Employer in respect of the employees engaged by him and admittedly since no such records had been maintained or produced, no positive relief could have been given in the instant case. The learned counsel also submits that the quantum of work available in the area is quite meagre and if registration is given to the attached workers (writ petitioners 2 to 4), it will quite adversely affect the rights and interests of the existing registered workers in the area and the job opportunity will be lost for ever. It is stated that the existing workers have got a vested right to oppose the registration and they form an ‘aggrieved party’ in terms of the provisions of the statute; by virtue of which, their non-impleadment in the party array is liable to be taken serious note of. The verdict passed by the learned single Judge without ascertaining their version is hence liable to be intercepted, submits the learned counsel. Reliance is sought to be placed on the decision rendered by a Division Bench of this Court reported in