Delhi High court rejected the Review petition filed by Statesman Limited seeks to review the judgement passed by the high court.

Title: The StatesMan Limited vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

Decision: 04.07.23

+ REVIEW PET. 516/2019 and CM APPL. 53531/2019, CM APPL. 12275/2022 in W.P.(C) 9497/2015



The Delhi High court rejected the Review petition filed by Statesman Limited seeks to review the judgement passed by the high court dated 18.11.19 on the grounds that it does not address the issue of jurisdiction of the Authority under the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, (“the Working Journalists Act”) to pass the order dated 21 July 2015 forming subject matter of challenge in WP (C) 9497/2015.

Facts of the case

The application made under Section 17(1) of the Working Journalists Act by a few members of the Statesman Mazdoor Union is resolved by the order dated July 21, 2015. The stated applicants requested payment of arrears in accordance with the Majithia Wage Board’s recommendations. The petitioner-Statesman disputed their obligation to pay the applicants in accordance with the Wage Board’s recommendations on the grounds that they had incurred significant cash losses three years prior to the implementation of those recommendations, exempting them from the requirement to pay arrears. The Court has carefully considered the applicants’ case and rejected the petitioner’s argument that it was not the petitioner’s responsibility to pay the applicants as recommended by the wage board.

The petitioner conceded to the Authority’s authority and objected to its need to compensate the applicants-workers on a merits-based basis. After losing before the Authority, the petitioner used the current writ petition to appeal to this Court.

Analysis and Decision of the court

The Delhi High Court held that Even in the current writ suit, there is not even the slightest hint of a challenge to the Authority’s authority to hear the workmen’s claims and issue the ruling of July 21, 2015. Instead, extensive and numerous submissions have been made in an effort to prove that the petitioner was, in fact, experiencing significant losses three years prior to the Wage Board’s recommendations and was not, therefore, required to pay the applicants-workmen in accordance with those recommendations. The petitioner submitted a response to the writ petition after the respondents submitted a counter affidavit. There isn’t even a claim that the Authority lacked the authority to decide the applications of the journalists in the response. Instead, the response outlines how the petitioner believes the Authority should have resolved the aforementioned arguments.

The order dated July 21, 2015 lists the errors under the heading “Grounds for Setting Aside Impugned Order” in paragraph 11 of that document. In the aforementioned paragraph, the petitioner first explains why, in its opinion, it had actually experienced losses for three years; second, it explains why the petitioner’s net current assets could not be taken into account when determining whether the losses suffered by the petitioner were heavy; and third, it makes reference to Supreme Court decisions that, in the petitioner’s opinion, established the guidelines for identifying “heavy losses.”

Therefore, the written submissions do not only fail to raise any objections to the Authority’s competence or jurisdiction. decision on the petitions submitted by the applicant-journalists, but they also go so far as to assert that the Authority should have handled the cases differently than how it did. Therefore, there is a favourable claim regarding the Authority’s ability and authority to rule on the journalists’ application.

The petitioner also had approached the hon’ble SC with an SLP (C) 36133/2015 The Supreme Court did not interfere with the direction, of the learned Division Bench, to decide the writ petition expeditiously, and merely modified the order of pre-deposit by reducing it to ₹ 30 lakhs. This indicates that the argument of want of jurisdiction of the Authority to adjudicate on the claims of the respondent-workmen was not canvassed either before the Division Bench or even before the Supreme Court.

Even after reserving the judgement in 2018, the petitioner failed to file any written submission when given opportunity for the same. As a result, there was no challenge made to the Authority’s competence or jurisdiction to decide on the claims of the respondent-workmen in the writ petition’s only written submission.

Thus, neither the writ petition nor the response nor the written representations submitted by the petitioner contested the Authority’s competence or authority to decide on the claims of the respondent-journalists. In contrast, the petitioner made specific allegations in the written submissions it submitted to this court about how it believed the Authority should have handled the situation, even going so far as to request a remand to make sure the Authority handled the situation again properly. These allegations cannot be reconciled with the claim that the Authority lacked the authority to determine the respondents’ petitions; in fact, they are diametrically opposed to one another. It was in these circumstances that, in the judgment under review, this Court did not return any findings regarding the competence of the Authority to pass the order dated 21 July 2015.

In light of the above, this Court conducted a merits review of the case and determined that the defence of three years of continuous loss as a justification for not adhering to the Majithia Wage Board’s Award was inadmissible.

Ultimately, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and miscellaneous applications were disposed of accordingly.

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Written By – Shreyanshu Gupta

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