1. Matter is heard through Video Conferencing.2. The Petitioner before this Court is a Company registered under the provisions of the Companies Act, and is engaged in manufacturing/production of sugar by vacuum pan process. The Respondent No.2, herein contends that it is a registered Trade Union, which, as per the terms of its registration with the Registrar of the Trade Unions, is entitled to agitate the causes, of the Workman, as against their grievances, against their Employer, i.e., the Petitioner herein, and as such, it had the competence to raise a reference before the Labour Court through the Office bearers of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2 agitating the cause of its members.3. The grievance of the Petitioner in the present Writ Petition is as against the impugned Award, which has been rendered by the Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court, Nainital, in Ikbalpur Sugar Workers Union, Ikbalpur v. Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. Ikbalpur, Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005. As a consequence of the adjudication made by the Presiding Officer, Labour Court, the Labour Court has arrived at a conclusion that the action of the Employer/Petitioner of not providing the essential status in services to 30 Employees, who were enlisted in the reference, which was made before the Labour Court in accordance with the Paper No.7 by not granting them the status of being a seasonal Workman was violative of the Standing Orders as well as the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act and, hence, it was held that they would be entitled for damages at the rate of Rs.1,50,000 per Workman. The Labour Court consequently on 28.12.2015, had passed the following award in Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005, while answering the following reference made to it under Section 4-K of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947:[Vernacular omitted]4. The backdrop of the controversy in the instant Writ Petition is that; the Petitioner's case before this Court is that the Respondent No.2, was initially a registered Trade Union and was one of the recognized registered trade unions with the Petitioner's Company under the Trade Unions Act, apart from it, there were three other Trade Unions, which were recognized by the Petitioner's Company. The Petitioner's contention was that the Respondent No.2, in fact, as per its antecedents had been engaged in raising fictitious claim, of the fictitious Workmen and it was also involved in extremely nefarious activities and it cannot be said that the dispute, which was raised by the Respondent No.2, was at all genuine in their claim and was in relation to or on behalf of the actual Workmen, who were on role with the Petitioners Company.5. The Respondent No.2, as back as in the year 1992 had moved an application before the Labour Conciliation Officer, Saharanpur, raising a contention by way of dispute, therein that the 30 Workmen, who were allegedly enlisted before the conciliation proceedings and were contended to have worked as the seasonal Workmen with the Petitioners-Company, since they were not granted the said status of the seasonal Employees, the conciliation proceeding was drawn before the Labour Conciliation Officer. Before the Labour Conciliation Officer, the proceeding, as such, was registered as CB 1 of 1993, and in the application thus preferred by Respondent No.2, in its Form 1, as submitted before the Conciliation Officer under Clause-2(i), had projected that all these Workmen, who were enlisted and which were shown to be 30 in number, they deserve to be declared as seasonal Workmen and may be permitted to be allowed to be paid with the retaining allowances and to pay them with the Wages as recommended by the Wage Board along with its arrears.6. Before the Conciliation Officer, the Petitioners have taken a specific plea, that the conciliation proceedings at the behest of the Respondent No.2, was not tenable, for the reason being, that none of the Employees thus included in the list appended in the conciliation proceedings, were ever employed with the Petitioner's-Company nor had been ever their Workmen under the their control and Management. They further submitted that at no point of time they have ever taken any work from them and the list thus appended by Respondent No.2, in the conciliation proceedings, is nothing but a fictitious claim raised by Respondent No.2, in relation to those Workman, who too were fictitious and had never been engaged as Workman in the Petitioner's-Company.7. Consequently, when the conciliation proceedings failed in the year 1993, the dispute was referred to the State Government by Respondent No.2, and, subsequent thereto, a reference was made under Section 4(k) of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, and the following question of reference was framed €œwhether non-declaration of 30 Workmen as seasonal Employees, who are shown in the list, is legal or not; and if not then what relief the said disputed Employees are entitled to.€ The reference thus made by the State Government was by virtue of the Government Order issued by the U.P. State Government, Labour Department, on 14.8.2000, consequently, an Adjudication Case No.37 of 2000 was registered to deal with the aforesaid reference by the Labour Courts at Meerut, as it then was.8. Subsequently, the said reference of dispute, as raised before the Labour Court, in pursuance to the Government Order of 14.8.2000, it was transferred in the year 2005, from Kanpur to the Labour Court, Haldwani, after the creation of State of Uttarakhand; under Section 35 of the Reorganization Act, and then it was renumbered as Ikbalpur Sugar Workers Union, Ikbalpur v. Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. Ikbalpur, Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005.9. At the time when the records of the Adjudication Case No.37 of 2000; was transferred from Labour Court, Meerut, to the Labour Court, Haldwani, and was renumbered as Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005, its records didn't included the list of 30 Employees/Workmen with it, who were claimed by Respondent No.2; to have been submitted by it in the conciliation proceedings also, as well as, in the Adjudication Case No.37 of 2000 prior to its transfer to the State of Uttarakhand. Consequently, the Labour Court called for the list of Employees/Workmen, who were allegedly made as a subject matter, for answering the reference as made by the State Government by the Government Order of 14.8.2000.10. On revival of the proceedings, the Respondent No.2, had filed his Written Statement on 28.3.2006; and in the reference proceedings before the Labour Court, Haldwani, they have submitted:(i) That the list of 30 Workmen appended with the reference, in fact, are the actual members of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, who were registered with it;(ii) They further contended in the Written Statement that these Workmen have worked for six seasons in the lime-kiln of the Petitioner's Company, but they were not paid with their Wages as they were entitled to receive as per the recommendations of the 3rd Wage Board as determined to be made payable to the unskilled Workmen; and(iii) It was further submitted that the Workmen were not paid the retaining allowances for the period they were put to lay off on account of non start of the crushing season.11. In the Written Statement thus filed by the Respondent No.2, the Respondent No.2, has submitted that the action of the Petitioner's-Company would be arbitrary and illegal, for the reason being, that they have not been taken into work after the crushing season of 1993-1994 and henceforth. In the Written Statement thus filed by Respondent No.2, the specific plea, which was taken by it, was that the Workmen, who were under the membership of the Petitioner's Trade Union have not worked after 1993-94 crushing season, as pleaded in para-7 of the Written Statement, which is quoted hereunder:[Vernacular omitted]12. At this stage, it would be essential to deal with the arguments as extended by the learned Counsel for the Petitioner to the effect that once the Respondent No.2, itself had pleaded that the Workmen were not permitted to work with the commencement of the crushing season of 1993-94, in such an eventuality, they cannot be granted with the status of seasonal Workmen as they have sought in the conciliation proceedings, as well as before the Labour Court also, for the reason, that according to the arguments of the learned Counsel for the Petitioner the grant of status of a seasonal Workmen could only be possible when the Workman was already enlisted, in the list supplied by the Respondent No.2, and they were actually working at the time when reference was made.13. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the members of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, since they have never worked, hence, there was no question for grant of the status of seasonal Workman and, that too, particularly when the Respondent No.2, being conscious of the fact that the members of Respondent No.2, were not working with the Petitioner, ever since 1993-94 and no reference has been sought as such under Section 4(k), as against the action of the removal. The case of the Petitioner's Counsel is that in the absence of they being an existing Employees working in the Sugar Mill, the reference as sought for by the Government Order, dated 14.8.2012, cannot be granted to them because for the purposes of grant of seasonal status the precondition's that the Workmen should be working with the Sugar Mill, and since, there was no reference sought by Respondent No.2, as against the removal of 1993-94, as apparent from the Written Statement, dated 28.3.2006 itself, the Labour Court could not have travelled beyond it, to allow the reference and grant the status of seasonal Workman and, that too, without considering the aspect that the Workmen at that time admittedly were not working in the Unit of the Petitioner.14. The Petitioners in their Written Statement, dated 10.6.2006, also submitted that the terms and conditions of the Workmen working with the Petitioner's Mill would be governed by the Standing Orders, which were notified from time to time and, particularly, the Government Order, dated 1988, which was invoked in accordance with Section 3-B of the Industrial Disputes Act, which is binding and would be applicable inter se between the parties. The Petitioner's case is that they have filed their Written Statement before the Labour Court. The Petitioners have specifically come up with the case that:(i) The reference cannot be answered in favour of the alleged Workmen members of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, as they are not the members of Trade Union of Respondent No.2;(ii) Since, these Workmen have never worked with the Petitioners, nor there is any evidence to the contrary, they cannot seek a reference for granting them the status of seasonal Workmen;(iii) Since, the Trade Union of Respondent No.2 itself was not registered, nor it was ever registered, hence, as soon as there is a deregistration, the Trade Union seizes its status as a registered Trade Union and also its right to contest the proceedings before the Labour Court in a representative capacity on behalf of the Workmen, alleged to be its members; and(iv) The Petitioners submitted that the Workmen, in order to substantiate their case that they had been working with the Mill of the Petitioners, the alleged slip on which they have placed reliance, in fact, was a forged and fabricated document and as it did not bear the signature of the competent official of the Petitioner's-Company, so as to provide it with the authenticity. Hence, contended that the reference deserves to be answered against the Respondent No.2.15. The Respondent No.2 in response to the Written Statement filed by the Employer on 10.6.2006, had filed its replication on 16.4.2007. What is important to be considered and necessary to be extracted to be considered from the replication is the pleading raised in Paragraph-3 of it, which is quoted hereunder:[Vernacular omitted]16. In the pleading thus raised therein in Paragraph-3 of the replication, the Respondent No.2, undertook to discharge the burden to prove the authenticity with regards to the fact that the Workmen were actually working with the Petitioner and, hence, they would be entitled to be declared as seasonal Worker, the Respondent No.2 took the responsibility by pleading that they will be producing the relevant document, at the relevant point of time. But, however, till the culmination of the proceedings by the impugned Award, the said document nor any document as such, was ever produced by the Respondent No.2, before the Labour Court to show that they had ever worked with the Petitioners'-Company.17. In order to show its bona fide and to elucidate its case, the Petitioner on 18.10.2007 had filed an application before the Labour Court, in Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005, to the effect that the Union claim to be representing 162 Workmen, but in accordance with the information, which has been received by the Petitioner's-Company under the Right to Information Act, they have come to know that the registration of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, with the Registrar Trade Unions, has not been extended and rather it had been cancelled and further the information has been received by the Petitioner, that the Trade Union of Respondent No.3, has got only 43 members and out of the list of 43 members, which has been supplied to the Petitioner under the Right to Information Act, none of them were the Workers, who were shown in the list of Workers for whom the seasonal status was being sought by Respondent No.2, in the reference made before the Labour Court.18. On the basis of the above argument, the Petitioner's case is that once the information, which has been received by the Petitioner under the Right to Information Act, if the Respondent No.2 itself is shown to be having 43 members only and the said list did not include the name of any of the members based on which the reference was sought on 14.8.2020, and in the absence of inclusion of the name of list of Workers filed in reference, in the list with which the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, was recognized and registered, no relief of declaration as sought for by the reference, could be granted in relation to those Workmen, who were never included in the list of members of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2, and who had never been the Workman, who had ever worked with the Petitioner's Mill.19. The Petitioner further submitted that in order to substantiate their case that the Respondent No.2 would not be entitled to represent the cause of the Workmen of the so called Trade Union, for the reason being, that they have been deregistered, and under the Trade Unions Act, the cause of the Workmen could only be agitated by the Trade Unions, which are registered under the provisions of the Trade Unions Act and not otherwise, and furthermore, since the 43 Workmen, who have been shown to be the members of the Trade Unions, since it did not included any of the Workmen as enlisted before the reference proceedings, this Court is of the view that no reference could have been made as such or answered in favour of Respondent No.2.20. Based on the aforesaid contingency and the Defense taken by the Petitioner in the Written Statement as well as in the replication and further on the ground that Respondent No.2, had contended that their service records are not available with them, that may be directed to be summoned from the records of the Petitioner's Office, the Respondent No.2 filed an application before the Labour Court to the said effect on 17.10.2007 praying for that the Petitioner may be directed to produce the salary disbursement registered for the year 1988-1989 to 1992-1993, in order to enable them to show that the Workmen included in the list had actually worked with the Petitioner for the aforesaid crushing years.21. In furtherance of the Application, dated 17.10.2007 as filed by the Respondent No.2, for summoning the records from the Office of the Petitioner, the Petitioner on 16.2.2009 & 25.4.2009, had produced the entire records, which it had before the Labour Court; by way of attendance register and the Certificates issued by them showing the working of the Workmen in the petitioner's Mill. When the records thus produced by the Petitioner in pursuance to the Application, dated 17.10.2007 of Respondent No.2, and after the records, which was produced by the Petitioner, when the Respondent No.2, was not satisfied even then, the Respondent No.2, filed yet an another Application on 25.4.2009, contending thereof that, in fact, the name of the Workmen, whose cause was being represented and agitated by the Respondent No.2, in the present Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005, in fact, their names, are shown in the register of Temporary or Casual Employees, which is maintained by the Petitioner.22. The Petitioner categorically submits that no such independent register as register of Temporary or Casual Employees as alleged by Respondent No. 2, in the Application, dated 25.4.2009 is maintained or available in the Office of the Petitioner to show the status of the functioning of the so called members of the Petitioner's Unit either on a temporary or on a casual basis.23. Faced with the said contingency, and when despite the fact that the burden to prove that the members of the Respondent's Trade Union were the actual Workmen, who have worked with the Petitioner's-Company for the last crushing seasons, was not proved nor the burden to prove the same was ever discharged by the Respondent No.2. The Petitioner yet again in order to show their bona fides filed an Application on 29.7.2009, before the Labour Court seeking an order by way of a direction that the direction may be issued to the Office bearers of the Respondent No.2 Trade Union to inspect all the records, which are available in the Office of the Petitioner and to retrieve the details, which they desire pertaining to the Workmen working with the Petitioner's Mill and also in relation to those Workmen whose name has been included in the list of Workmen supplied by them to the Labour Court.24. The Petitioner in Paragraph-28 of the Writ Petition; had specifically pleaded that the Office bearers of Respondent No.2, did inspect the record as available in the Office of the Petitioner, but none of the records showed that any of the members of the Respondents' Trade Union had ever worked with the Petitioner's Company and, thus, it apparently shows that whatsoever records, which were produced by the Respondent No.2, in support of their case before the Labour Court, were rather fictitious, artificial and imaginatory in nature. In order to overcome the said defect, the Respondent No.2, filed a list on 26.6.2011; along with the certain documents and it showed that in support of their case there were 5 Witnesses, which were supposed to be examined by them for the purposes of substantiating their case and from the list of witnesses, the reasons best known to the Respondent No.2, they have only chosen to examine Babu Ram only, from the list of 5 Witnesses, which was supplied by the Petitioner before the Labour Court.25. The Petitioners have further come up with the case that as per their application submitted by them on 5.3.2013, the entire proceedings of reference case should have been dropped, for the reason being, that the representative of the Respondents'-Union, who was representing them, i.e. Mr. Sushil Kumar, who was supposed to depose before the Labour Court in support of the case of the Respondent No.2, for getting an answer of the reference in their favour, rather, in fact, had withdrawn his power on the ground that he is no more an office bearer of the Trade Union of Respondent No.2. The Petitioner submitted that they wanted their Witnesses to be examined, but unfortunately their authorized representatives fell ill and his Witnesses could not be examined before the Labour Court and during the intervening period, the Management of the Sugar Mill has also undergone a change.26. Hence, in fact, Respondent No.2, they wanted to contend that even in the absence of the non production of the oral testimony of their Witnesses still their reference deserves to be answered in their favour. However, the Labour Court by the impugned Award, dated 28.12.2015 had allowed the reference and answered the same in favour of the Workmen directing the Petitioners to grant the status of seasonal Workmen to the members of the Petitioners' Trade Union and to pay them the damages/Compensation at the rate of '1.5 lakhs, each along with the Interest at the rate of 6%.27. The Petitioner in support of their contention had made reference to yet another Award, dated 12.3.2013, as had been rendered in Ikbal Sugar Workers Union v. Laxmi Sugar Mills Ikbalpur, Adjudication Case No.286 of 2009 and, particularly, had made reference to Paragraph-14 of the said Judgment, which is quoted hereunder:28. If the reasoning given therein by the Labour Court for declining to answer the reference in the Award of 12.3.2013, which was declined to answer the reference, it was on the ground that under Section 2(X) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, it defines the Trade Union and, as per the Trade Unions Act, 1926, the proceedings of reference could only be drawn by a registered Trade Union and since in the said case, the registration was cancelled, the reference was answered in a negative, then there was no reason why the Labour Court could have answered the reference in positive, in the present case, where here too it was proved that the Trade Union of Respondent No.2 was not registered.29. The Petitioner submits that in view of the said reasoning given in another matter on the pretext of the effect of the non-registration of the Trade Union and since the Respondent No.2 at the time when the reference was being decided by impugned Award, dated 28.12.2015 was not registered Trade Union, no relief could have been granted as such by the impugned Award.30. Mr. Rajendra Dobhal, learned Senior Counsel for Respondent No.2, in answer to the questions raised by the learned Counsel for the Petitioner to the effect that since the services of the Workmen, who were alleged to be the members of the Petitioner's-Trade Union was already snapped in 1993-1994 and, as such, no refe
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rence for declaration of status of seasonal Workmen could be made in the absence of they being in job is being answered by the learned Counsel for the Respondent No.2, on the ground that since the conciliation proceedings itself was initiated on 12.3.1992 and if the interpretation is given to Paragraph-7 of the Written Statement that their services were discontinued in 1993-1994, it will not have any effect because discontinuance of the services was after the failure of the conciliation proceedings.31. This Court is not in agreement with the argument extended by the learned Counsel for Respondent No.2, for the reason being, that the reference was made much thereafter by the Government Order, dated 14.8.2000 after the failure of conciliation proceedings. Though, the reference was sought under Section 4(k) in 1993. During the intervening period when the reference was being made or even when the reference was being considered, at no point of time the Respondent No.2 had ever tried to get the reference modified or pray for a framing of a fresh reference in the light of the pleading that their services had been dispensed with in 1993-1994, nor any pleading or case was argued by the Respondents from the said prospective about the effect of termination of services of so called Workmen in 1993-1994.32. The reason, which has been given in the Labour Court's Award, dated 28.12.2015, for granting the status of a seasonal Workmen to the members of the Petitioner's Trade Union, it runs contrary to the very records because the Petitioner had been effectively able to substantiate by evidence placed on record, which they have received under the Right to Information Act, that the Workmen had never worked with the Petitioner's-Company and they have further been able to satisfactorily explain that no reference was sought against their alleged removal made on 1993-1994. Thus, the Workmen since not being in service, they couldn't be granted the status of seasonal Workman, as has been granted by the impugned Award, hence is vitiated33. Hence, the reason, which has been assigned by the Labour Court while answering the references is contrary to the evidence and deserves to be set aside.34. Accordingly, the Writ Petition is allowed. The impugned Award, dated 28.12.2015 as rendered by the Labour Court, Haldwani, since being contrary to the evidence of record, as rendered in Adjudication Case No.1 of 2005, is hereby quashed.35. However, there would be no order as to Cost.