Article 137 of the Schedule to Limitation Act, 1963 not applicable to the proceedings under the act and relief under it cannot be denied to the workman on the ground of delay: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

This Court while sitting in its extra ordinary writ jurisdiction under Article 226 or supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 does not sit in appeal against the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal and it would be loath to interfere unless the award of the Tribunal suffers from perversity or it suffers from an error apparent on face of the record. The aforesaid has been established by The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of Punjab and Sind Bank v. Union of India and others [OWP No.574/201] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar on 27th August 2021.

The workman moved an application before respondent No.3 stating therein that he was engaged by the Branch Manager of the employer as peon on temporary basis. It was submitted by the workman that as per the practice and scheme of the Bank in vogue, a panel of temporary peons engaged by the Bank in its J&K region had been drawn in which the name of workman figured at S.No.1. It was further the contention of the workman that the Branch Manager concerned threatened the workman to disengage him to accommodate some other person. The Branch Manager concerned executed his threat and, accordingly, disengaged the workman from the M.C. Khalsa High School, Jammu without adopting any due course of law and accommodated his blue eyed person. The Tribunal, however, held the workman entitled to back wages only from the date he had raised the industrial dispute. This is how the reference in the case of workman was disposed of and the impugned award passed.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. it was of the opinion that “The plea of delay and laches raised by learned counsel for the employer is also not tenable in law. The delay in approaching the Tribunal has been well explained by the workman who had wasted few years while working out his remedies before the wrong forum. That apart, it is well settled that the delay in approaching the Tribunal against disengagement or termination is inconsequential and cannot non-suit the workman, for, the Industrial Disputes Act does not prescribe any period of limitation.” It was declared that “Mr. Saini, learned counsel for the workman has cited few more judgments to bolster his case, but I do not find it necessary to deal with those judgments for the reason that I am not inclined to interfere with the award impugned to the extent of workman herein for the reasons given hereinabove. For the foregoing reasons, the impugned award to the extent of respondent No.4 is upheld and the writ petition, which is devoid of any merit, is dismissed along with connected application(s).”

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