w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



M/s. Sanket Food Products Pvt. Ltd. v/s Prabhakar Asaram Bhalerao & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- B. P. FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15311MP1994PTC032994

Company & Directors' Information:- S P P FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15412DL2004PTC128666

Company & Directors' Information:- SANKET FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15490MH1989PTC050880

Company & Directors' Information:- J S FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15314OR1991PTC002964

Company & Directors' Information:- H R B FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U15146WB1988PTC045281

Company & Directors' Information:- V D FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15400DL2012PTC231717

Company & Directors' Information:- P R FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1989PTC030483

Company & Directors' Information:- S S FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15310MH2003PTC142530

Company & Directors' Information:- B K FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15312OR1996PTC004541

Company & Directors' Information:- O H P FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52205DL1999PTC100269

Company & Directors' Information:- K V FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15122DL2007PTC162739

Company & Directors' Information:- K. C. FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15431JK1982PTC000554

Company & Directors' Information:- K I C FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15316DL1979PTC009757

Company & Directors' Information:- R B FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15313DL2010PTC202753

Company & Directors' Information:- R K B FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15490KL2013PTC033500

Company & Directors' Information:- S K G FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15419UP1991PTC013771

Company & Directors' Information:- B H FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15134DL1997PTC084273

Company & Directors' Information:- N S FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15412WB1992PTC055591

Company & Directors' Information:- H N FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15146UP1990PTC011540

Company & Directors' Information:- V K FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15412UP1988PTC010023

Company & Directors' Information:- SANKET CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74120UP2012PTC053168

Company & Directors' Information:- SANKET INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52339GJ2021PTC126037

Company & Directors' Information:- SANKET INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52339GJ2021PTC126037

Company & Directors' Information:- B M FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15419WB1993PTC060386

Company & Directors' Information:- I K FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15412WB1991PTC051852

Company & Directors' Information:- S S V FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15499AP1982PTC003547

Company & Directors' Information:- S Q P FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15100MH2003PTC139217

Company & Directors' Information:- F S FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15311MH2000PTC126031

Company & Directors' Information:- Z K FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15400MH2010PTC209818

Company & Directors' Information:- M B S FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01112WB2003PTC096375

Company & Directors' Information:- N D FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15131DL2002PTC115754

Company & Directors' Information:- C K M FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909KL1998PTC012358

Company & Directors' Information:- G S C FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15316WB1985PTC038398

Company & Directors' Information:- A K G FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Under Liquidation] CIN = U15412WB1990PTC049789

Company & Directors' Information:- J M D FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15419DL1998PTC097578

Company & Directors' Information:- L K FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15200TG2016PTC103411

Company & Directors' Information:- FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15431JK1966PTC000304

Company & Directors' Information:- R R FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15490PN2015PTC154753

Company & Directors' Information:- A N FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15400TG2013PTC091969

Company & Directors' Information:- R V S K FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15490DL2012PTC245851

Company & Directors' Information:- K G Y FOOD PRODUCTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15400KA1984PTC005909

Company & Directors' Information:- FOOD PRODUCTS (INDIA) PVT. LTD. [Strike Off] CIN = U15311HR1994PTC032356

Company & Directors' Information:- M K FOOD PRODUCTS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15209DL1979PTC009924

    Writ Petition No. 8482 of 2009

    Decided On, 18 December 2013

    At, In the High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAVINDRA V. GHUGE

    For the Petitioner: T.K. Prabhakaran, Advocate. For the Respondents: H.V. Patil, Advocate.



Judgment Text

1. Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. Heard with consent of learned Advocates for the respective parties.

2. By this petition, the petitioner seeks to challenge the judgment and orders dated 21/05/2008 and 10/09/2009 delivered by the Labour Court and Industrial Court in Complaint (ULP) No.80 of 2003 and Revision (ULP) No.12 of 2009, respectively.

3. Contention is that, a common closure notice dated 19/01/2013 and individual closure notices of the even date resulting in discharge of 23 workmen as per the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, was challenged before the Labour Court by filing complaint (U.L.P.) No. 80/2003 by the respondents. Item 1(a) (b) (d) and (f) of Schedule IV of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971 (Hereinafter referred to as State Act) were invoked. Thrust of the complaint was that the Law of Retrenchment was not complied with by the petitioner and respondent workmen were terminated from employment by order dated 19/01/2003 under the pretext of a closure. The factum of closure was denied and it was contended by the respondents that the factory still continues with its production or has indulged in producing allied products.

4. The petitioner had resisted the complaint by filing its written statement. Objection to the maintainability of the complaint was specifically raised in the written statement itself in para No. 9 which is at page No. 67 of the petition paper book. It reads thus :

'After the closure of the Factory, there is no industry in operation where the complainant could be reinstated. In absence of any industry qua the complainants, the instant complaint is not maintainable. As such the complaint is to be dismissed in limine.'

An objection that a case of closure cannot be gone into by the Labour Court under Item 1 of Schedule IV, does not appear to have been specifically raised in the written statement of the petitioner.

5. In Ground No. 9(a) on page No. 6 of the petition memo, the petitioner contends as under :

'The Inferior Courts missed the point of law which was raised before them, that closure cannot be a subject matter of challenge under Item 1 of Schedule IV of the MRTU & PULP Act, 1971. The cause of action of closure is beyond the scope of the MRTU and PULP Act, and is not justiciable within the jurisdiction of the Inferior Courts created under the said Act.'

6. The petitioner points out that issues were framed by the Labour Court, Jalna on 06/09/2003 which are at page No. 69 of the petition paper book and which read thus :

I. Whether are complainants prove that the respondent has engaged in and has been engaging in unfair labour practice by terminating the services of them w.e.f. 19.1.2003 ?

II. Whether the order of termination dated 19/01/2003 is shockingly disproportionate and illegal ?

III. Whether the complainants further prove that the respondents has violated the provisions of section 25F, 25G and 25H of the I.D. Act, 1947 ?

IV. Whether the complainants are entitled for reinstatement in service with continuity and full back wages ?

V. What order?

7. It is therefore contended that the issue as regards maintainability of the complaint in light of its objection in para No. 9 of the written statement was neither framed nor was that objection dealt with in the impugned judgment. So also, issue No. 2 referred above which pertains to the proportionality of punishment, was answered in the affirmative when it was nobody’s case that the workers have been awarded a shockingly disproportionate punishment.

8. The petitioner submits that during the pendency of the complaint, 13 complainants out of the 23 have withdrawn from the proceedings and the 10 respondents in this petition are the remaining complainants. The Labour Court has resorted to a roving and fishing inquiry by collecting a report from the Government Labour Officer (GLO) and by appointing a Court Commissioner, who visited only the Government Labour Office and submitted his report. Question is being raised as to how far could the Labour Court rely on the report of the Government Labour Officer in the adjudication of a complaint in as much as whether the Labour Court had jurisdiction to inquire into the factum of closure.

9. The petitioner conceded that the evidence of the respondent workers remained uncontroverted due to the laxity on the part of the petitioner. Neither, evidence was led nor arguments advanced on behalf of the petitioner. However, documents like the closure notices, payment of compensation in accordance with the scheme of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and the stoppage of electricity consumption evidenced from the monthly bills were placed before the Court. According to the petitioner, the Labour Court has exercised jurisdiction not vested in it by Law and has resorted to investigating the factum of closure.

10. The petitioner also contends that by the impugned judgment, the Labour Court has arrived at a conclusion that the closure is unbelievable and discharge of the respondent workmen needs to be held as invalid termination. An astonishing direction of reinstatement of respondent workers with continuity of service and 50% back wages amounting to resumption of business has been issued by the Labour Court.

11. The petitioner states that these errors have multiplied owing to the judgment of the Industrial Court dated 10/09/2009 delivered in Revision U.L.P. No. 12/2009 filed by the petitioner to challenge the judgment of the Labour Court. The error committed by the Labour Court was not corrected by the Industrial Court which has mechanically dismissed the revision petition and upheld the conclusions of the Labour Court.

12. The issues of maintainability of the complaint and jurisdiction of the Labour Court were also not gone into in as much as the Industrial Court on its own volition invoked section 25(O) under Chapter V (B) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to conclude that the Law of Closure was not followed by the petitioner. It is reiterated that it was not the case of the respondents that Chapter V (B) of the I.D. Act was applicable in the fact situation.

13. Learned Advocate Mr.H.V.Patil for the respondents has strenuously and strongly supported the impugned judgments. According to him, the case of the respondents squarely fell under Item 1(b) and 1(d) of Schedule IV of the State Act and as such discharge of the employees in the colourable exercise of the employer’s rights and for patently false reasons had been proved on the strength of oral and documentary evidence. He further submits that the Court Commissioner's Report coupled with the Government Labour Officer's Report clearly indicates that the closure is an eye wash and not genuine.

14. Packets of Pansupari and Gutkha, showing their manufacturing date, which happens to be a date after the closure, was placed before the Labour Court to prove that the manufacturing activity was continued in the said factory of the petitioner. The false plea of the petitioner was sufficiently exposed before the Labour Court.

15. An advertisement in a daily newspaper calling for applications for appointment of Salesman by the same petitioner factory, as contended by the respondents, was another clinching piece of evidence.

16. According to him, all these aspects were duly considered and properly appreciated by both the Lower Courts and the impugned judgments do not require any interference as neither an illegality nor any perversity can be made out from the said judgments. A false case of closure can be gone into by the Labour Court U/I 1(b & d) of Schedule IV.

17. He frankly stated that the issue as regards jurisdiction of the Labour Court to deal with cases of closure and maintainability of the complaint though raised by the petitioner, was not gone into by the Labour Court either by framing an issue or considering those aspects even in the absence of an issue. However, he added that the reasons set out in the impugned judgment are an answer even to the said objection.

18. With the assistance of the learned Advocates, I have gone through the petition paper book. It clearly emerges that an objection as regards the maintainability of the complaint was raised by the petitioner which has not been dealt with by the Labour Court. This aspect has also been lost sight of by the Industrial Court.

19. In my considered view, in the face of an objection pertaining to its jurisdiction, the Labour Court was bound to decide that issue. Having not done so, the impugned judgment would rest on an assumption that the Labour Court has exercised jurisdiction vested in it by Law.

20. Jurisdiction cannot be acquired either on assumptions or on presumptions. In view of a specific objection raised, it was incumbent upon the Labour Court to deal with the said issue so as to arrive at a conclusion that it had jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. If the issue was answered to establish jurisdiction, the Labour Court would have been justified in arriving at its conclusions like those found in the impugned judgment. Having not dealt with the said issue, the impugned judgment of the Labour Court deserves to be set aside. Needless to state, on the same premise, the judgment of the Industrial Court is set aside.

21. In the light of the above, the impugned judgments of the Labour Court dated 21/05/2008 in complaint U.L.P. 80/2003 and the judgment of the Industrial Court dated 10/09/2009 in Revision U.L.P.No. 12/2009 are quashed and set aside.

22. Ends of justice would be met with the following directions :

(a) Complaint U.L.P.No. 80/2003 is relegated back to the Jalna Labour Court.

(b) An issue as regards the maintainability of the complaint in light of the specific pleading set out by the petitioner in para No. 9 of the written statement be framed. All other issues be maintained unless any party desires addition of issues.

(c) The issue as regards jurisdiction be dealt with by the Labour Court along with the other issues.

(d) both the parties are at liberty to lead oral and documentary evidence in relation to the newly framed issue in as much as the respondent herein is at liberty to file a counter say to the preliminary objections in order to place its pleadings on record.

(e) Oral and documentary evidence already adduced before the Court

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, may be considered and utilized by the Labour Court. (f) Liberty to the petitioner to cross examine the respondent's witnesses. (g) The petitioner is also at liberty to lead its oral and documentary evidence on all issues and the respondent shall have the liberty to cross-examine the said witnesses. (h) Both the parties shall fully co-operate with the Labour Court, Jalna in the expeditious hearing and disposal of complaint (ULP) No.80/2003 so as to enable the Labour Court to decide the complaint as expeditiously as possible and preferably within a period of 9 months. (i) R & P be sent back to the Labour Court, Jalna forthwith. (j) Original complainant shall deposit process fees within a period of four weeks from today in the Labour Court. (k) The period of nine months for deciding the complaint shall be from the date of issuance of notice. (l) The Labour Court shall decide the complaint afresh on its own merits without being influenced by the observations made in this judgment. 23. The writ petition is partly allowed. Rule is made absolute in the above terms. No order as to costs.
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