SC: Order of Termination Once Proven by Industrial Tribunal is Binding on Parties, Contesting Order u/s 10 ID Act not Permitted

Supreme Court Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: October 4, 2022 at 23:39 IST

A fresh reference under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act contesting the order of termination is not permitted, according to the Supreme Court, if an order of termination has been proven by the industrial tribunal.

The Justice Krishna Murari and Justice MR Shah Bench noted:

“…once the order of termination was approved by the Industrial Tribunal and the management was permitted to lead the evidence and prove the misconduct before the Court and thereafter on appreciation of evidence the order of termination was approved, thereafter the fresh reference under Section 10 of the ID Act challenging the order of termination was not permissible.”

In this instance, a labourer was filling the position of conductor.

He was the subject of a departmental investigation for allegedly not distributing tickets to 10 people even though he had collected the necessary number of tickets.

He was found guilty of the alleged misbehaviour in the department investigation.

His employment with Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation terminated on July 31, 2001.

Although the Tribunal had deemed the investigation flawed, it still gave the Appellant the opportunity to prove the charges of their case, before the tribunal.

Before the tribunal, both sides presented testimony in support of the charges. The appellants presented both oral and written evidence.

The application under Section 33(2)(b) of the ID Act was approved, and the termination order was approved, by the Industrial Tribunal in a decision dated July 1, 2015, after carefully reviewing all of the facts in the case and taking into account the arguments put up by both parties.

19 years after the order of termination was passed, the worker once more brought up the Industrial Dispute and contested the 2001 order of termination.

The Labour Court accepted the aforementioned reference and overturned the termination order that the High Court later upheld.

Unhappy with the court’s order, the Appellant approached the Apex Court.

Before the court, attorneys Sachin Mittal and Rishi Matoliya represented the appellant and respondent, respectively.

The Supreme Court noted, “It is required to be noted that the order dated 21.07.2015 passed by the Industrial Tribunal which as such is a higher forum than the Labour Court had attained the finality.”

“Though the aforesaid fact was pointed out before the High Court, the High Court has not at all considered and/or appreciated the same and has confirmed the judgment and award passed by the Labour Court for setting aside the order of termination which as such was approved by the Industrial Tribunal.”

The Court ruled that the conclusions recorded by the Tribunal were legally enforceable between the parties once the Industrial Tribunal accepted the order of termination after considering the information presented to it.

The Court additionally noted that the Labour Court could not have held a position that was at odds with the conclusions that the Industrial Tribunal had recorded.

The High Court was found to have made a very serious mistake by dismissing the writ case and upholding the Labour Court’s decision to overturn the termination order, according to the Court.

In light of this, the Court granted the appeal and revoked the High Court’s impugned order.

Case Title – Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation vs. Bharat Singh Jhala (Deceased) Son of Shri Nathu Singh, through Legal Heirs & Anr.

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