The Gujarat High Court heard several writ petitions challenging a Labour Court’s order concerning the reinstatement of retrenched workmen (Petitioners). Taking into account the violation of Sections 25F, G and H of the Industrial Disputes Act, the Single Bench of Justice Biren Vaishnav ordered the reinstatement of Petitioners. The Petitioners worked in Bhadar Canal Sub-Division for 20 years before their dismissal.
The Court relied on the Gauri Shanker vs. the State of Rajasthan, where the Supreme Court had modified the order of the Labour Court and observed, “The learned single Judge and the Division Bench under their supervisory jurisdiction should not have modified the award by awarding compensation in lieu of reinstatement which is contrary to the well-settled principles of law laid down in a catena of cases by this Court.”
The Petitioners submitted, “Services were put to an end from August 2010 without following the procedure and without awarding compensation. Violation of Secs.25(G) & 25(H) was also pleaded. The respondent – the employer, filed a Written Statement at Exh.5. It was their case that the work at the Bhadar Canal Project was closed and that they would not fall within the definition of “Industry” within Sec.2(j) of the Industrial Disputes Act”.
The Petitioners were just awarded a compensation of Rs. 72,000. They pleaded on Kalamuddin M. Ansari vs. Government of India, where the Court had ordered the reinstatement of employees with continuity of service.
The AGPs defended the Labour Court decision, stating that there was a delay in raising the dispute. Thus, reinstatement was not possible. It was short of awarding reinstatement with or without backwages.
The High Court upheld the precedents and the fact that compensation would be detrimental to the Petitioners who had worked for more than 20 years. Justice Vaishnav directed the employer to reinstate the petitioners in service with continuity of service.