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C.R. Manoharan, (Owner, Poornasree Travels) v/s Labour Court, Ernakulam & Another

    WP(C). Nos. 23757 & 26968 of 2011 (T)

    Decided On, 09 November 2016

    At, High Court of Kerala


    For the Petitioner: A. Jayasankar, Manu Govind, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, Pooja Surendran, Government Pleader, R2, P.V. Kuriachan, K.P. Rajeevan, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. These writ petitions are filed by the management and the workman, challenging the award of the Labour Court, Ernakulam, in an industrial dispute raised by the workman alleging denial of employment by the management. The Labour Court, after holding that the workman was employed under the management and he was illegally denied employment under the management, awarded to the workman a compensation of Rs. 78,000/-.

2. WP(C) No.23757/2011 is filed by the management, challenging the award on the ground that there was no evidence before the Labour Court to establish that the workman was employed under the management. According to the management, there was no evidence on record to show the relationship between the workman and the management.

3. WP(C) No.26968/2011 is filed by the workman, challenging the award on the ground of inadequacy of compensation. The case of the workman is that the Labour Court erred in taking 15 days' average pay while calculating compensation.

4. The workman, admittedly, was an employee under the management. The case of the management is that the workman received the entire compensation in the year, 1992 as evident from Ext.P1. This was marked as Ext.M2 before the Labour Court. The management is a stage carriage operator and was having six stage carriages. They contend that the workman was employed as 'conductor' in respect of the vehicle No. KEE 6204 and on sale of the above vehicle, the workman was given all the benefits. However, it is also admitted that the workman was actually engaged in respect of another vehicle on one or two occasions when the regular employee was on leave.

5. On the other hand, the case of the workman is that he was employed with the management since 1987 and he was denied employment from 2007. To substantiate his claim, the workman relied on a check report of the Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspector, Kottayam and also an inspection report of the Inspector of Agriculture Labour, Ernakulam (Inspector under the Motor Transport Workers Act). These would show that the workman was engaged in the vehicle in the year 2002 and 2004. However, there are some discrepancies as to the registration number of the vehicle in the check report. In the check report, the number of the bus is shown as KL 7 L 4527. According to the workman, the correct number of the vehicle is KL 7 L 4257. The Labour Court, mainly relying upon these documents, held that the workman was employed under the management.

6. It is to be noted that there is a clear assertion in the claim petition filed by the workman that the muster roll, trip sheets and the daily collection records would indicate the details of the workers employed by the management. It is also relevant to note that there was no denial of such assertion in the statement filed by the management. However, the workman has not chosen to summon those documents from the management.

7. Admittedly, the management is running a travel agency and they own more than six stage carriages. They would have certainly covered by the welfare fund under the Kerala Motor Transport Workers Welfare Fund Scheme or under the Employees Provident Fund Act, in respect of which, there would be relevant documents. Those are the vital documents that could have aided the court to resolve the dispute. It is not clear from the evidence as to whether the workman was employed since 1987 till 2007 without there being any other record. Therefore, this Court is of the view that the matter requires a reconsideration as those records would have revealed the actual state of affairs as regards the engagement of the workman by the management. The Inspector under the Motor Transport Workers Act also inspected the vehicle in question in the year, 2004. That inspection report indicates that registers were produced before him. However, those records are not clear as to the length of service of the workman and also as to whether he was regularly employed under the management. This Court is of the view that the parties should be given an opportunity to adduce fresh evidence in the matter for reconsideration of the ent

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ire issue afresh. 8. Accordingly, the writ petition is disposed of as follows; The impugned award is set aside. The parties shall appear before the Labour Court, Ernakulam on 01.12.2016. Thereafter, the Labour Court, Ernakulam, shall reconsider the matter afresh and take a decision within a period of three months, after affording an opportunity to both parties to adduce evidence. Petitions disposed of.