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The same objection cannot be raised twice, heard twice and adjudicated again.: Delhi High Court

Even if the same is not treated as res-judicata, the judgment of the ld. Single Judge can be read in evidence before the Labour Court, and can be considered even at the preliminary stage as a judgment which is of relevance as held by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Pratibha M. Singh in the case of Pratap Singh and Ors. v. Jaspal Kaur Public School and Anr. (W.P.(C) 9182/2019 & CM APPLs. 525/2020, 526/2020).

The present petitions have been filed challenging the impugned orders dated 3rd May 2019, passed by the Presiding Officer, Labour Court, New Delhi, vide which, the applications filed by the Management for rejecting the claim of the Workmen have been allowed, and the claims of the workmen have been dismissed as not maintainable.

Ld. counsel for the Petitioners submits that the Petitioners have been non-suited on the ground of res-judicata. He submits that the Labour Court could not have considered the said plea of res-judicata at the initial stage. Ld. Counsel relies upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Srihari Hanumandas Totala v. Hemant Vithal Kamat and Ors., to argue that res-judicata ought to be a plea which should have been considered after all the pleadings are complete and issues are framed in the matter before the Labour Court.

Ld. Counsel appearing for the Respondent-School has, on the other hand, taken the Court through the previous round of proceedings before the Education Tribunal and the resultant orders passed in the writ petition titled Rampal Singh v. The Director of Education and Anr., to argue that the question of retrenchment under Section 25F of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 1947, has already been adjudicated by this Court. He submitted that the same ground which is sought to be alleged in these writ petitions, has already been raised, considered and decided. According to him, the Petitioners are attempting to obtain a second chance in respect of the same very objections to argue that the retrenchment is illegal, and the Labour Court has rightly held that the claims of the Workman are not maintainable.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments, the Hon’ble Court held, “In any event, the liberty to withdraw, which was granted to the Appellants, was to be exercised in accordance with law. The order passed by the ld. Single Judge is clear and categorical to the effect that there was complete compliance of Section 25F of the Act. The ld. Single Judge has given clear findings to the effect that compensation has been paid and the amounts of the compensation have also been mentioned. They were given proper notice and all the requirements were complied with. In fact, the pleadings of the Petitioners have also been extracted to show the fact that compliance of 25F of the Act has been done, and the same was even not denied by the Petitioners herein. Under these circumstances, in view of the order of the ld. Single Judge of this Court dated 19th May 2017, the retrenchment having been held to be in compliance with Section 25F of the Act, the present petitions challenging the impugned order would not be maintainable. The impugned order is correct and does not warrant any interference.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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