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Madhya Pradesh HC dismisses petitions questioning validity of award passed by labour court

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The Jabalpur Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a number of petitions questioning the validity of the award passed by the Labour Court, Satna.

The petitioner Brijkishore Garg, in one of the petition, has questioned the validity of the award passed by the Labour Court, Satna dated 30.08.2019 whereby the petitioner has been directed to be reinstated in service with 50% back wages as he has been superannuated by the respondent/organization on attaining the age of 58 years. And further, it was held by the Labour Court that the age of superannuation of the petitioner was 60 years, therefore, the order of superannuation is set aside directing the reinstatement of the petitioner in service with 50% back wages.

The petitioner being dissatisfied with the said portion of the award claimed that instead of 50%, the reinstatement ought to have been made with full back wages.

The respondents have criticized the award by filing petitions mainly on the ground that the Labour Court, Satna has no competence to pass the award as the “appropriate Government” in respect of the petitioner is the Central Government, ergo reference cannot be made by the State Government. However, those petitions have been decided by the High Court maintaining the award holding that there was no illegality in respect of deciding the reference made by the State Government because the State Government is also the “appropriate Government” in respect of the employee working in the respondent/organization considered to be a controlled industry.

The Counsel for the petitioners has placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Court reported in (2005) 13 SCC 300 parties being Harwindra Kumar Vs. Chief Engineer, Karmik and others saying that if the order of superannuation is found illegal and is set aside, the petitioners are entitled to get 100% back wages.

However, the facts of said case is altogether different from the case in hand and, therefore, the same is not applicable. In the said case, the Supreme Court has considered the interim order granted by the Court whereby the employees were allowed to continue in service, therefore, they become entitled to get salary, Supreme Court restrained the Government to make any recovery whereas in the present case, the reference has been made to the Labour Court and the Labour Court decided the case, framed issue regarding back wages and appreciating the material fact available granted 50% of back wages, therefore, interference in such finding is not proper.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sanjay Dwivedi observed that the facts of the case mentioned by the petitioner’s Counsel are altogether different from the case in hand and, therefore, the same is not applicable. “In the said case, the Supreme Court has considered the interim order granted by the Court whereby the employees were allowed to continue in service, therefore, they become entitled to get salary, Supreme Court restrained the Government to make any recovery whereas in the present case, the reference has been made to the Labour Court and the Labour Court decided the case, framed issue regarding back wages and appreciating the material fact available granted 50% of back wages, therefore, interference in such finding is not proper. “

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The bench is of the view that when the award has already been maintained in other set of Petitions, therefore, this Court is not inclined to interfere in the present petitions for the reason that the Labour Court has properly appreciated the issue regarding payment of back wages at the rate of 50%.

“Further, in view of the decisions of the Supreme Court in case of Ishwarlal Mohanlal Thakkar Vs. Paschim Gujrat Vij Company and another reported in (2014) 6 SCC 437 and Shalini Shyam Shetty Vs. Rajendra Shankar Patil reported in (2010) 8 SCC 329, the interference by exercising the power under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India is not permissible and as such, writ petitions filed by the petitioners are hereby dismissed,” the order reads.

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