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

Jharkhand High Court: Rajesh Kumar, J., allowed the petition filed by the petitioner stating that the tribunal has failed to pass a reasoned order by considering the evidence and pleading of the parties.

In the pertinent case, the petitioner moved to this Court for quashing of the award passed in Reference Case No. 34 of 2014 whereby the reference was in favor of the respondent, directing the petitioner to reinstate the service of the respondent as a daily wager.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that even after passing an order for representation, the respondent has kept silent in this matter and after the lapse of 16 years, an industrial dispute was raised. Further, an award was passed which ordered for reinstatement of the workman as daily wager and option has been given for regularization but with no direction.

The Court held that from the perusal of the award it is observed that during the pleadings, neither any documents were exhibited nor any witnesses were examined and the Tribunal had passed its order only relying upon the judgment of Patna High Court passed in CWJC No. 4115 of 1997. The Court also observed the following :

It is trite that principle of res-judicata applies often in the case of Industrial Dispute. If there was an order in favour of the workman then the reference was not maintainable. The Tribunal is supposed to answer any reference by considering the evidence and pleading of the parties.”

In view of the above, the Court found that the impugned award passed in Reference Case is not sustainable and stands quashed as the Tribunal has passed the order without considering the pleading and evidence of the party. The Court also observed that the respondent was removed from daily wager w.e.f. March, 1997 and reference are of the year 2014 i.e. after a lapse of more than 16 years. In this manner as well, the dispute has become stale and requires no adjudication.[Employers in relation to the Management of UCO Bank v. Surendra Ramani, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 1118, decided on 26-08-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Discouraging the practice of the appellate courts of reproducing the passages of the lower court’s order without proper analysis, the bench of Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that quoting passages from the trial court judgment and thereafter penning few lines and expressing the view that there is no reason to differ with the trial court judgment, can by no stretch be termed as a reasoned order. The Court said that the absence of analysis not only evinces non-application of mind but mummifies the core spirit of the judgment. A Judge has to constantly remind himself that absence of reason in the process of adjudication makes the ultimate decision pregnable.

Stating that the first appellate court has a defined role and its judgment should show application of mind and reflect the reasons on the basis of which it agrees with the trial court, the Court said that there has to be an “expression of opinion” in the proper sense of the said phrase. It cannot be said that mere concurrence meets the requirement of law. It was said that it is one thing to state that the appeal is without any substance and it is another thing to elucidate, analyse and arrive at the conclusion that the appeal is devoid of merit.

The Court was hearing an appeal challenging the Karnataka High Court order where the learned Judge had posed the question about the defensibility of the ultimate direction by the trial Court and thereafter proceeded to quote paragraphs from the trial court judgment. Remitting the matter for fresh disposal within 6 months, the Court said that posing a question which is relevant for adjudication of the appeal is not enough. There has to have been proper analysis of the same. Stating the facts and thereafter reproducing few passages from the trial Court and ultimately referring to certain exhibited documents in a cryptic manner will not convert an unreasoned judgment to a reasoned one. [U. Manjunath Rao v. U. Chandrashekar,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 865, decided on 04.08.2017]