Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, CJ. while dealing with a civil writ petition filed by a retired employee ruled that delay in release of retrial benefits cannot be justified on grounds on a financial crunch.

Brief background of the matter was that the petitioner worked as a driver in the respondent corporation. Though he had retired from service on 31-12-2017, his retrial benefits had not been released to him. Aggrieved by inaction on the part of respondent, he filed the instant writ petition. The respondent corporation pleaded that the retrial benefits had not been released since it was facing acute financial crisis and thus its resources were not enough to meet the petitioner’s demand.

The court dismissed the contention forwarded on behalf of the respondent holding that an employee has a vested right of getting retrial benefits on retirement and the release of such benefit cannot be linked with the financial health of the employer. It is for the employer to mobilize his resources to ensure that the retired employee gets his retrial benefits.

In the present case, the respondent – corporation could not be permitted to delay the benefits due to petitioner and thereby subject him to misery, mental agony and financial hardship. It was further stated that it is not only the petitioner but his entire family who were suffering in such a situation. As such, a guaranteed right to retrial benefits could not be delayed pleading financial crunch of the employer. On the aforesaid holding, the court High Court directed the respondent to ensure that all retrial benefits that the petitioner was entitled to, be sanctioned and released in his favour within two months. [Phlester Swer v. Meghalaya Transport Corporation,2018 SCC OnLine Megh 180, decided on 01-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vivek Singh Thakur, J., decided a revision petition wherein the order of conviction passed against the petitioner by the trial court was reversed.

The petitioner was convicted and sentenced under in a criminal case arising under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act. The petitioner, in the instant petition, submitted that he has entered into a compromise with the respondent and the matter has been amicably settled between the parties. Hence, he prayed for the quashing of the said order of conviction and sentence and also for compounding of the said offence.

The High Court perused the evidence available on record to satisfy itself that the matter was in fact amicably settled between the parties by entering into a compromise. Thus, the High Court was of the view that the order of conviction and sentence under Section 138 passed against the petitioner need to be quashed. Also, on further request of the petitioner, he was partly exempted from paying the compounding fee in consideration of the fact that the petitioner was a poor person, he was in jail, and he had no resources available to pay the required 15% of the suit amount. Hence, the petition was allowed. [Keshav Ram v. Padam Singh Thakur, 2018 SCC OnLine HP 150, dated 20.2.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Court, consisting of V.M. Kanade and M.S. Sonak, JJ stayed the retrospective applicability of the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015, as provided by Section 1 sub-clause (2)  of the said Central Act, bearing in mind similar stays operative by the judgments of the Karnataka High Court (see post here), the Allahabad High Court (see post here) and Kerala High Court (see post here).  The Court decreed that no coercive steps would be taken to recover amounts due prior to 31st March 2016 from Petitioners Tech Mahindra, who were represented by Darius Khambatta, under instructions from Khaitan and Co. It must be noted that these amounts became formally due after change in Section 12 (calculation of  bonus with regard to certain employees), whereupon if salary or wage of employee exceeded Rs. 7000/- or the minimum wage for the scheduled employment, as fixed by the appropriate Government, the calculation is to be made as percentage of Rs. 7000/- or such minimum wage, whichever is higher.. The earlier threshold was set to Rs. 3500/-. [Tech Mahindra v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 4380, order dated 13-06-2015]