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Statutory Protection U/S 33 Of Industrial Dispute Act Applicable In Pending Reference U/S 17(2) Of Working Journalists Act: Madhya Pradesh HC

Zeeshan Thomas
28 April 2022 4:54 AM GMT
Statutory Protection U/S 33 Of Industrial Dispute Act Applicable In Pending Reference U/S 17(2) Of Working Journalists Act: Madhya Pradesh HC
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench recently held that the provisions under Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act restraining the employer from changing service conditions of workman during pendency of a dispute can be applied in pending reference under Section 17(2) of the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions...

The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench recently held that the provisions under Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act restraining the employer from changing service conditions of workman during pendency of a dispute can be applied in pending reference under Section 17(2) of the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (Act of 1955).

Deciding the writ petition in favour of the Petitioner/journalist, the division bench of Justice Vivek Rusia and Justice A.N. Kesharwani held-

Learned Labour Court has failed to examine that the Act, 1955 only regulates the certain conditions of service of working employees and other persons working in the Newspaper establishment. Under Section 3, the provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act,1947 have been made applicable to the working journalist as they apply to or in relation to the workman within the meaning of this Act., therefore, section 33 of the Industrial Dispute Act applies in the pending reference under Section 17(2) of the Act, 1955. The working journalist are having the same protection as has been given to the workman under the Industrial Dispute Act,1947. Apart from this Section 16A of the Act, 1955, also gives protection to the working journalist and other employees.

Facts of the case were that the Petitioner was working as a news editor under the company of Respondents. He had moved a reference before the labour court, seeking directions to the Respondents to comply with the recommendations of the Majithia Pay Board. Subsequently, he had moved an application before the Labour Court under Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act, seeking injunction against the Respondents that during pendency of reference, they be restrained from changing his services conditions or transfer him to some other place. However, his application was dismissed.

The labour court had refused to interfere with his transfer order and also declined to prosecute the Respondents under Section 25 (T) (U) of the Industrial Disputes Act for adopting unfair labour practice. Aggrieved by the same, the Petitioner moved the Court.

The Petitioner contended before the Court that under Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act, the Respondents were not permitted to change the service conditions by transferring him. By doing so, he added, they violated the provisions under Section 25(U) by committing unfair labour practice.

The Petitioner submitted that Section 16A of the Act, 1955 bars the employer in relation to a newspaper establishment to dismiss, discharge or retrench any newspaper employee, and therefore, interim order was liable to him. He further argued that all the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act apply to working journalist and other news paper employees, and hence, provision under Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act was also Applicable to his case and in violation of the aforesaid, the Respondents wrongly transferred his service.

Per contra, the Respondents submitted that the Petitioner was required to challenge the order of termination before the labour court in accordance with law. However, he was not challenging the validity of the termination order in the petition by way amendment. In absence of the main relief, it was argued, the interim relief could not be granted to him . With respect to the applicability of Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act, the Respondents asserted that the said provision was applicable by virtue of Section 3 of Act, 1955. Therefore, they prayed for dismissal of the petition.

Considering the submissions of the parties and the documents on record, the Court concurred with the arguments of the Petitioner and corollary to the same, the matter was remitted to labour court to decide on whether the Petitioner was being victimized for seeking the implementation of the Majithia Pay Board from the Respondents-

Admittedly, during pendency of reference before the Labour Court, the respondents have transferred the petitioner and thereafter terminated him from services due to non-compliance of transfer order. The Trial Court is required to examine whether the petitioner has been transferred in order to victimize him as he is claiming the implementation of Majithia Pay Board which might casts heavy financial liability on the respondent and in such situation provision of Section 16A of the Act, 1955 will apply or not, therefore, matter is remitted back to the Labour Court to examine the act of the respondents under Section 33 of Industrial Act, 1947 as well as Section 16A of the Act, 1955.

With the aforesaid observations and directions, the matter was remitted to the labour court and the accordingly, the petition was disposed of.

Case Title: NEERAJ v. SUDHIR AGRAWAL AND ORS.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 129

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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