Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Rekha Palli, J. while deciding a petition relied on various decisions in order to throw light on the significance and necessity of a reasoned order to be produced by Tribunal while determining an industrial dispute.

In the present matter, petitioner/management assails the award passed by Central Government Industrial Tribunal-II, Karkardooma Court, Delhi whereunder the Tribunal after holding that the services of respondent/workman had been illegally terminated, directed the petitioner to reinstate him with all consequential benefits.

 Counsel for the petitioner submitted that, the petitioner was interested in an amicable settlement with respondent paying him a lump sum of Rs 5, 00,000 along with an experience certificate, which was not acceptable to the respondent.

According to the facts mentioned in the petition, the respondent had joined as a relationship manager in petitioner’s Lucknow branch office, due to the respondent’s performance being non-satisfactory he was asked to undergo training. Further, the petitioner’s Lucknow branch was closed and the respondent was transferred to Delhi branch. Later after a year or so, the respondent’s services were terminated in due compliance of terms of conditions of his appointment.

Respondent on being terminated did not protest and accepted the amount given to him by the respondent in compliance with the terms and conditions of his appointment. After a period of 6 months, the respondent issued a legal notice requesting for withdrawal of his termination order.

Respondent thus raised an industrial dispute which was referred by the appropriate government to the learned tribunal.

Petitioner filed its written statement opposing the respondent’s claim wherein it was urged that the industrial dispute itself was not maintainable as the respondent, having been appointed as Relationship Manager did not fall within the definition of workman under Section 2(s) of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Adding to the above, petitioner claimed that respondent after accepting all his terminal dues without any demur, was stopped from challenging his termination at this belated stage and termination was in accordance with terms and conditions of his employment also the compensation paid to the respondent exceeded from what he should have received under Section 25(F) of I.D. Act.

The impugned award was passed on 14-06-2017 whereunder the tribunal, after deciding all the issues in favour of respondent, directed the petitioner to reinstate him with full back wages. Thus, aggrieved by the award of tribunal, the petitioner instituted the present petition.

Counsel for the petitioner, Jagriti Ahuja, relied on the decision of this Court in British Airways v. Union of India, WP (C) No. 5720 of 2015 and contended that such an award, which is wholly unreasoned, is not sustainable and is liable to be set aside on this ground itself. It was further added that tribunal has simply given its findings without even referring to rival submissions or contentions.

Rajeev Saxena, Counsel for the respondent submitted that tribunal is not expected to give nay detailed findings while dealing with an industrial dispute and once the tribunal reproduced written arguments of the parties, it is evident that their rival contentions had been duly considered while arriving at findings.

Court’s observation and Conclusion

Bench on careful observation of the submissions and the impugned award found that evidently tribunal has, after reproducing all its previous orders, proceeded to copy-paste the written submission of parties without even making any effort to change their font size as well. It seems that the tribunal gave its findings without even referring to the evidence led by the parties or without giving any reason for the same.

Necessity for the tribunal to set out reasons for its findings while determining an industrial dispute has been repeatedly emphasised by the Supreme Court as well as this Court.

Following are the cases relied on for the above point: British Airways v. Union of India2019 SCC OnLine Del 6800; Richa Shailja v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8863 and Fruit &Merchant Union v. Chief Information Commissioner, 2012 SCC OnLine P&H 20803.

Therefore, the Court held that in light of the above stated view, the impugned award which is not only non-speaking and unreasoned but is merely a mechanical reproduction of the written submissions of the parties, Rule 10-B of the I.D. Rules, as also earlier orders passed by the tribunal which cannot be sustained and is accordingly quashed.

Hence, while quashing the impugned award it is remanded back to the tribunal for fresh consideration. [Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. v. Chetan Kandpal, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10311, decided on 25-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Vivek Agarwal, J. while hearing two miscellaneous appeals analogously, refused to exonerate the Insurance Company and modified the impugned award of the claimant by an enhancement of Rs 70,378/-.

A miscellaneous appeal was filed by New India Insurance Company Limited challenging the award dated 04-02-2015 on two grounds, namely that the driver of the offending vehicle was not having licence to drive a commercial vehicle, namely ‘Vikram’ bearing No. MP-07-R-1602 and therefore, Insurance Company should have been exonerated of its liability and secondly, the accident took place when the claimant Faiziya Khan was crossing the road and therefore, aspect of contributory negligence should have been taken into consideration. While, the appellant-Faiziya Khan, had filed an appeal to enhance the award passed in order to compensate her for her injuries.

The learned counsel for the insurance company, Mr Shrinivas Gajendragadkar, put forth a two-fold argument that firstly, the driver of the offending vehicle did not have a license to drive a commercial vehicle; and secondly, that the claimant was negligent in crossing the road. The counsel further relied upon Halki Bai v. Managing Director, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, 2004(3) T.A.C. 821(M.P.), to support his contention that since claimant was crossing the road negligently, therefore, it will be a case of contributory negligence. The claimant, Faiziya Khan, on the other hand, maintained that the award passed in her favor was inadequate as compared to her injuries and pains and needed to be enhanced.

The Court dismissed the appeal by the insurance company observing that the Halki Bai v. Managing Director, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, 2004 (3) T.A.C. 821(M.P.), was not applicable here as in the present case it has been mentioned in a report that the accident took place due to fault in the steering of auto. In view thereof, it was held that there was no contributory negligence on the part of the claimant.

The Court also cited Mukund Dewangan v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., (2017) 14 SCC 663 in which the Court had held that if a driver is holding the license to drive a light motor vehicle, he can drive a transport vehicle of such class without any endorsement. By relying on the aforementioned judgment, the Court refused to exonerate the Insurance Company on the lack of endorsement of the driver.

Ruling on the claimant’s appeal, the Court modified the impugned award by enhancement of Rs 70,378 in favor of the claimant by increasing the compensation for livelihood, transport and future treatment.[New India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mohd. Ajiz, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 818, decided on 08-05-2019]