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Writ Petition for an Industrial Dispute can be listed only if ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ are shown

The High Court of Delhi in PTI Employees Union V. Press Trust of India [W.P(c) 10605/2018] observed that a writ petition dealing with an industrial dispute shall not be listed unless it mention or lists the “exceptional circumstances” in the synopsis and also in its opening paragraphs.

 

Background –

The petitioners were the Trade Union of PTI employees and Federation of four PTI Employees ‘Union. The Petitioner’s contended the retrenchment as being unlawful on several grounds inter alia that PTI employees was amenable to writ jurisdiction and that it qualified as a “factory” within the ambit of Section 2 (M) of the Factories Act.

Issues–

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi formulated the following legal issues for consideration –

  1. Whether the writ petitions should be entertained in view of the statutory remedy available to the retrenched employees under the Industrial Disputes Act?
  2. Whether the petitioners were authorized/competent to file these petitions on behalf of the retrenched employees?
  3. Whether two writ petitions seeking same reliefs are maintainable?

Held /Observation

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi while examining a Catena of judgements from Supreme Court and High Court observed that “The law is well settled by the Supreme Court that a writ petition should not be entertained in respect of industrial disputes for which a statutory remedy is available under the Industrial Disputes Act unless ‘Exceptional circumstances’ are made out. The Supreme Court further held that if the writ involves disputed questions of fact, the writ petition should not be entertained. The writ jurisdiction is a discretionary jurisdiction and the discretion should not ordinarily be exercised, if there is an alternative remedy available to the petitioner.”

It was further expounded by the court that the Sole Test laid down by the Supreme Court for entertaining a writ petition relating to an industrial dispute is the existence of ‘Exceptional circumstances’. If the Court is satisfied on the existence of ‘Exceptional circumstances’, then and only then, the Court shall proceed to ascertain whether the writ involves disputed questions of fact. If the Court finds ‘Exceptional circumstances’ but the writ involves disputed questions of fact, then the writ petition shall not be entertained, meaning thereby that the writ petition may be entertained only if the Court is satisfied firstly, on the existence of ‘Exceptional circumstances’ and secondly, the writ petition

does not involve disputed questions of fact.

It was held by the Hon’ble Court that “In view of the well settled law by the Supreme Court that the writ petition relating to an industrial dispute can be entertained only if there are ‘Exceptional circumstances’, it is mandatory for the writ petitioner to disclose the ‘Exceptional circumstances’ in the Synopsis as well as in the opening paras of writ petition. However, the petitioners do not disclose the ‘Exceptional circumstances’ in the writ petitions, as in the present cases. This Court is of the view that the writ petition relating to an industrial dispute should not be listed unless the petitioner discloses the ‘Exceptional circumstances’ in the Synopsis and in the opening paras of the writ petition.”

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