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Civil Court's Jurisdiction Not Ousted By Industrial Disputes Act When Matter Relates To Only Correction Of Employee's Date Of Birth : Supreme Court

Rintu Mariam Biju
11 Aug 2022 9:17 AM GMT
Civil Courts Jurisdiction Not Ousted By Industrial Disputes Act When Matter Relates To Only Correction Of Employees Date Of Birth : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court has held that the jurisdiction of the civil court in relation to the correction of date of birth of an employee is not ousted by the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.

The Court stated that the jurisdiction of the civil court is ousted if it is a matter relating to the enforcement of a right under the Industrial Disputes Act.

The Bench was considering an appeal plea moved by an employee seeking to correction in his date of birth in the records of the company he worked in.The Trial Court had dismissed the suit as not maintainable. The High Court had agreed with the Trial Court's view saying that the the appellant should have approached the labour court under Section 33-C (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Disagreeing with these views, the Supreme Court observed :

"We are not in agreement with this finding in view of the decision of this Court in The Premier Automobiles Ltd. v. Kamelekar Shantaram Wadke of Bombay & Ors., (1976) 1 SCC 496, where the principles applicable to the jurisdiction of the civil court in relation to an industrial dispute were examined to conclude…."

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela S Trivedi reiterated the principles laid down in Premier Automobiles case as follows :

(1) If the dispute is not an industrial dispute or does not relate to enforcement of any other right under the Act, the remedy lies only in the civil court.

(2) If the dispute is an industrial dispute arising out of a right or liability under the general or common law and not under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the jurisdiction of the civil court is an alternative, leaving it to the election of the suitor concerned to choose his remedy.
(3) If the industrial dispute relates to the enforcement of a right or an obligation created under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, then the only remedy available to the suitor is to get an adjudication under the Act.
(4) If the right which is sought to be enforced is a right created under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, such as Chapter VA, then the remedy for its enforcement is either Section 33-C or the raising of an industrial dispute, as the case may be.
The third and fourth principles are not applicable in the present case, the Supreme Court observed, in view of the above.
"In our opinion, the present case is not covered by principles (3) and (4) as the issue involved relates only to the correction of the date of birth. Jurisdiction of the civil court is not ousted, as this is not a case relating to enforcement of a right or an obligation under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Equally, on merits, we find that the appellant is entitled to relief as claimed. The respondents have not been just and fair"
, the Supreme Court's order read.
This being the case, the Bench held that the appellant is entitled to back wages from October 1, 2007, to October 31, 2009, that is, the actual wages payable to the appellant, as if he had worked during that period.
However, the respondents are at liberty to deduct from the amount, the pension amount, if any paid by them, or paid by the third party.
This apart, the appellant would be entitled to interest on the amount payable in terms of clause (i) above at 7% per annum from November 1, 2009 till the payment is made and to costs of Rs. 50,000.
Case Title: Tulshi Choudhary vs M/S. Steel Authority Of India Limited (Sail) & Ors. | (SLP(C) No. 8443 OF 2018)
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 668
Headnotes
Industrial Disputes Act 1947 - Jurisdiction of civil court not ousted when the matter relates to correction of date of birth -Jurisdiction of the civil court is not ousted, as this is not a case relating to enforcement of a right or an obligation under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Followed
The Premier Automobiles Ltd. v. Kamelekar Shantaram Wadke of Bombay & Ors., (1976) 1 SCC 496

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