21 Nov 2023 7:54 AM GMT
Highlighting the boundaries of writ jurisdiction in employment-related disputes, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently observed that not all disputes between employers and employees are amenable to the writ jurisdiction.A bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal clarified that a private dispute between the employer and the employee qua the contract of service without demonstrating...
Highlighting the boundaries of writ jurisdiction in employment-related disputes, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has recently observed that not all disputes between employers and employees are amenable to the writ jurisdiction.
A bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal clarified that a private dispute between the employer and the employee qua the contract of service without demonstrating any statutory violation by the employer does not warrant indulgence by the Court.
The observations were made in a case involving the termination of services of a Village Secretary initially engaged by a Non-Governmental Organization/Society. The petitioner, subsequently promoted to the position of Senior Co-Worker, challenged the order of termination dated 23.03.2017 and sought the quashing of the termination order, the associated charge sheet, and proceedings, along with the rejection of her appeal. Furthermore, the petitioner sought directions upon the respondents to allow her to rejoin her service.
Raising a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the writ petition the respondent NGO contended that the writ petition was not maintainable as it did not discharge any government function and lacked a monopolistic character. The argument rested on the assertion that the respondent society was independent and not financially, functionally, or administratively controlled by the government.
Defending the maintainability of the plea the petitioner submitted that in view of the fact that the respondent-society is discharging the public duties, the writ petition would be maintainable. He further submitted that since the element of public law is involved in the present writ petition, the petitioner is well within her right to maintain a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
Deliberating on the question of entertaining a writ petition against an institution or body engaged in discharging public duties the bench observed that even if such an institution or body is carrying out public functions or duties, the jurisdiction of a writ may not apply if the contested action lacks a direct connection with the discharge of those public functions or duties.
In essence, the court underscored that for an institution or body to be subject to writ jurisdiction, the impugned action must be intricately linked to the fulfilment of public duties.
Referencing St. Mary’s Education Society and another Vs. Rajendra Prasad Bhargava and others”, 2022 the bench added,
“..Only when the removal of an employee is regulated by some statutory provisions, its violation by the employer may be interfered by the Court. But such interference will be on the ground of breach of law and not on the basis of interference in discharge of public duty”.
Highlighting that the petitioner's grievance primarily pertained to the disciplinary proceedings and the subsequent order of termination, constituting a private dispute between the employer and the employee Justice Oswal noted that the petitioner had failed to demonstrate any statutory violation by the respondent-society, that could have warranted court's intervention.
In view of the said legal principles Justice Oswal disposed off the case with the liberty to the petitioner to approach the respondent-society for the redressal of grievances related to service benefits and deposits.
“In the event, the petitioner approaches the respondent-society for redressal of her grievances as mentioned above, the respondent-society shall consider the same and proceed in accordance with law”, the court concluded.
Case Title: Sunita Wali Vs UOI and others
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 294
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment