16 Aug 2022 7:03 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has reiterated that when there is a specific condition provided in the consent letter of employment that the appointment is on contract basis, then such workman cannot claim any benefit by contending that the Respondent establishment had breached Section 25(F) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The Petitioner, claiming to be sexually harassed by her...
The Gujarat High Court has reiterated that when there is a specific condition provided in the consent letter of employment that the appointment is on contract basis, then such workman cannot claim any benefit by contending that the Respondent establishment had breached Section 25(F) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
The Petitioner, claiming to be sexually harassed by her immediate superior, was agitating an order of the Labour Court by averring that the Labour Court should have held that the contractual appointment was a mere 'camouflage' and she was entitled to retrenchment compensation.
The Respondent insisted that the Petitioner was employed as a Gujarat Steno on a fixed salary on a contract and thus, Section 2(oo)(bb) of ID Act was attracted which provides that on expiry of fixed term of employment of an employee, refusal from service by the employer, does not amount to illegal termination of services of that employee.
Perusing these arguments, the Bench concluded that the issue of consent letter was clearly disputed due to varying statements of the Petitioners. Further, the Labour Court had given due recognition to the facts that the Petitioner was on a fixed salary but such appointment was only for one year and this was signed by the Petitioner which was not disputed.
"In the facts of the present case, it is admitted position that the petitioner herself has signed the consent letter at Exh.21, which is admittedly for the contractual appointment for a period of one year only and when there is specific agreement between the parties for contractual appointment and when there is specific condition provided in such and the petitioner is appointed for the limited period, then the petitioner cannot claim for any benefit by contending that the respondent establishment of public authority has committed breach of Section 25 (F) or any other provisions of I.D. Act," the High Court said.
The Labour Court had also placed due reliance on the Uma Devi case where the Apex Court had held that backdoor entries were not permitted without following due procedure and that temporary employees cannot get the benefits like permanent employees of the establishment. The Bench noted that the Labour Court had made a reference to K.V. Anil Mithra Vs. Shree Sankaracharya Univeristy of Sanskrit 2022 (172) F.L.R. 250 in the following manner:
"The precise question to be decided, therefore, is whether on a proper construction of the definition of "retrenchment" in Section 2(oo) of the Act, it means termination by the employer of the service of a workman as surplus labour for any reason whatsoever, or it means termination by the employer of the service of a workman for any reason whatsoever, otherwise than as a punishment inflicted by way of disciplinary action, and those expressly excluded by the definition. In other words, the question to be decided is whether the word "retrenchment" in the definition has to be understood in its narrow, natural and contextual meaning or in its wider literal meaning."
Emphasising that the Petitioner had herself signed the consent letter for the appointment for one year and that the Labour Court had provided a well-reasoned order, the High Court declined to quash the impugned order.
Case No.: C/SCA/12240/2008
Case Title: X v/s INDEXT/C INDUSTRIAL EXTENSION COTTAGE & 1 other(s)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 329
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