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Delhi HC Cautions Labour Courts Over Unwarranted Summoning Of Senior Officials, Especially In Cases Where Determination Is Yet To Be Made

Nupur Thapliyal
18 Oct 2021 8:00 AM GMT
Delhi HC Cautions Labour Courts Over Unwarranted Summoning Of Senior Officials, Especially In Cases Where Determination Is Yet To Be Made
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The Delhi High Court has observed that Labour Courts ought to be cautious while ordering personal appearance of senior officials especially in the matters where determination is yet to be made.Justice Pratibha M Singh expressed displeasure over the action of a labour court who had summoned Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, without any proper justification."The Labour Court...

The Delhi High Court has observed that Labour Courts ought to be cautious while ordering personal appearance of senior officials especially in the matters where determination is yet to be made.

Justice Pratibha M Singh expressed displeasure over the action of a labour court who had summoned Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, without any proper justification.

"The Labour Court ought to be cautious while ordering the personal appearance of senior officials, especially in individual cases where determination is yet to be made by the Labour Court," the Court said.

Noting that the Workman in the case had expired in 2019, however the same was not brought before the Labour Court till 2021, the Court observed that the practice of the legal representatives of workmen not informing the Court of the demise of a workman is completely unacceptable.

The Court was dealing with a petition challenging impugned orders dated 17th September, 2021 and 30th September, 2021 passed by the Presiding Officer Industrial Tribunal of the Rouse Avenue Court by which the Commissioner, SDMC was directed to appear in person.

It was the case of the SDMC that despite submissions having been concluded and arguments having been heard, instead of pronouncing the order the Labour Court chose to summon the Commissioner.

While the Petitioner relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Abid Ali v. MCD to argue that the Apex Court also deprecated the practice of summoning senior public officials unnecessarily, the respondent workman submitted that the SDMC was yet to implement the said decision and therefore summoned the officer.

However, the Court observed,

"The Labour Court, if it required any explanation as to why the judgment in Abid Ali (supra) was not being implemented, could have at best called for an affidavit in this regard but the summoning of the Commissioner, especially when, it is not clear as to whether the judgment in Abid Ali (supra) would even apply to the facts of the present case or not, is unsustainable."

It added,

"From 1 st March, 2021, the submissions having been concluded and arguments having been heard by the Labour Court, the final order is still not being pronounced and the matter is being adjourned repeatedly for "clarification if any/order". This practice being followed by the Labour Courts or the District Courts is not proper."

The Bench opined that once the arguments have been heard, the orders ought to be pronounced in an expeditious manner. Accordingly, it set aside the impugned orders to the extent that the Commissioner was summoned.

The Court also directed the Presiding Officer to pass orders in this matter on merits in accordance with law within 30 days.

Case Title: SOUTH DELHI MUNICIPAL CORPORATION v. SH HORAM

Click Here To Read Order


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