Title: Secretary Administration Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam
Limited vs Rashtriya Bijali Karmachari Union (INTUC) Rajasthan
Citation: S.B. Civil Writ Petition No.8015/2017
Coram: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK KUMAR GAUR
Decided on: 24-01-23
In this case, the petitioner, who is the employer, has filed a writ petition challenging the award dated 02.12.2016 issued by the Industrial Tribunal in Jaipur. The petitioner’s counsel argues that the Industrial Tribunal was tasked with adjudicating the claim of the respondent-workman concerning his entitlement to a basic salary of Rs.595 on 19.04.1985. The central question is whether the employee is entitled to relief if the specified salary was not paid.
In this case, the petitioner-employer challenges an award issued by the Industrial Tribunal, Jaipur, dated 02.12.2016. The petitioner argues that there is a jurisdictional error by the Industrial Tribunal in granting relief to the petitioner by holding him entitled to a basic salary of Rs.580/- per month, as no such reference was made for this specific relief. The petitioner contends that the Industrial Tribunal exceeded the scope of the reference, and such an act is impermissible in the eyes of the law. It is emphasized that the respondent-workman did not pray for the relief of a basic salary of Rs.580/- per month, and there were no pleadings supporting such a claim. The petitioner relies on the Bombay Gas Company Ltd. V. Gopal Bhiva case, stating that the Industrial Tribunal lacks the competence to go beyond the terms of the reference.
However, the respondent-workman argues that the Industrial Tribunal’s award does not warrant interference under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. It is asserted that the relief granted is incidental, permissible under Section 10(4) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The respondent contends that the Industrial Tribunal rightly considered the principle of equal pay for equal work concerning similarly situated employees and molded the relief accordingly.
The court, after hearing both parties, finds that the respondent-workman’s claim for a basic salary of Rs.595/- per month was rejected, and the Industrial Tribunal, after analyzing evidence, justified the grant of a basic salary of Rs.580/- per month based on the salaries of similarly situated employees. The court concludes that the Industrial Tribunal did not exceed its jurisdiction, and the relief granted was within the scope of the reference. The petitioner’s arguments regarding jurisdictional error and lack of pleadings are rejected, and the court upholds the Industrial Tribunal’s award.
In this judgment, the court rejects the submissions of the petitioner’s counsel, emphasizing that if the court has already settled a controversy regarding entitlement to a particular pay scale for similarly situated employees, it would be unfair to deprive the respondent-workman of the benefit simply because he was not a party in the earlier litigation before the High Court.
The court acknowledges that the Industrial Tribunal considered relevant factors, including pleadings and evidence, in reaching the conclusion that the respondent-workman was entitled to the granted relief. It emphasizes that the award took into account the settled issue regarding the pay scale in question. The court distinguishes a cited judgment (Suresh Chandra vs. General Manager, Raj. State Bridge & Construction Corporation) where the Labour Court’s jurisdiction was deemed to be exceeded. In the present case, the court finds that if the respondent-workman raised a dispute, and the Labour Court, after reference by the State Government, found the relief justified based on the treatment of similarly situated employees, it did not exceed its jurisdiction.
As a result, the court dismisses the writ petition, and no costs are awarded. The judgment underscores the principle of fairness and consistency in granting benefits to employees based on settled issues and comparable cases.
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Written By: Gauri Joshi