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M/s. Sarabhai Piramal Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v/s V. Anthony

    W.P. No. 6983 of 2009

    Decided On, 12 December 2019

    At, High Court of Madhya Pradesh


    For the Appearing Parties: M.C. Beohar, Vijay Kumar Mourya, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. The petitioners have filed the present petition being aggrieved by the awards dated 19.12.2002 Annexure-P/7 and 18.03.2009 Annexure-P/16 passed by the Labour Court, Jabalpur.

2. The facts of the case in short areas under.

The respondent approached the Labour Court, Jablapur by way of application under Section 33(c) (2) of Industrial Disputes Act claiming the amount of Rs. 1,74,840/- from the present petitioners. According to him, he was appointed as a Sales Representative by the present petitioners on 09.08.1982 and he submitted his resignation on 08.01.1991. The petitioners' establishment is covered under the definition of industries of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. The respondent comes under the category of workman under the Sales Promotion Employes (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976. After getting the service he was not paid the entire benefits. He claimed the wages from February 1991 to 8th April 1991 i.e. Rs. 12047/-. He also claimed the monitory benefits under various heads like arrears of salary, gratuity, special leave allowance, incentive etc. to the tune of Rs.1,74,840/. After receipt of summons the petitioners appear before the Labour Court and filed a written statement raising an objection that the respondent was appointed on 09.08.1982, thereafter, he was promoted to the post of Regional Manager, which is a supervisory post and thereafter he resigned from the company on 08.04.1991. He was appointed by the M/s Ambabhai Sarabhai Enterprises (ASE) not by the present petitioners. On the basis of pleadings, the Labour Court framed four issues for adjudication. The present petitioners were proceeded exparte on 07.11.2001 and thereafter the respondent recorded his evidence and on the basis of the material available on record vide award dated 19.12.2002 the Labour Court has passed the award in favour of the respondent directing the present petitioners to pay the amount of Rs. 2871/- under the head of exchange from the month of March 1991, Rs.38777/- under the head of unprivileged leave and Rs. 90,000/- under the incentive. The aforesaid amounts have been awarded on the basis of the admission made by the present petitioners.

3. The present petitioners filed an application under Order 9, Rule 13 for setting aside the exparte award on 28.11.2003 along with the application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Meanwhile the Labour Commissioner has issued a show-cause notice to the petitioners for recovery of Rs. 1,31,648/-. However, vide order dated 24.08.2005, the Labour Court has stayed the recovery against the petitioners but finally vide order dated 18.03.2009 has dismissed the application filed under Order 9, Rule 13 . Hence, the present petition before this Court challenging the validity of the order dated 19.12.2002 Annexure-P/7 and 18.03.2009 Annexure-16.

4. According to the petitioners, in terms of order dated 27.04.2004 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in Company Petition No. 179/2004 M/s Sarabhai Piramal Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. (SPPL) was merged with Necolus Piramal India Ltd. (NPIL) w.e.f. 01.04.2003 and as a result SPPL stands dissolved and NPPIL came into the existence as a final company. The services of respondent along with other staffs were transferred to NPIL. The petitioners have also assailed the impugned order on merit on the ground that the respondent worked in a supervisory post as Regional Manager therefore he is not the workman. His salary was in access of Rs. 1600/- per month at the time of resignation and his services are covered under the said Act called Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976. Therefore, Industrial Disputes Act is not applicable to him. The petitioners were wrongly proceeded exparte and when the application under Order 9, Rule 13 was filed it ought to have been allowed. The petitioners are entitled for an opportunity to defend the case on merit. Hence, the impugned orders are liable to be set aside.

5. Shri Vijay Kumar Mourya appearing for the respondent argued in support of the judgment by submitting that the Labour Court has only allowed the claim admitted by the present petitioners. The petitioners have not given any reasons for setting aside of exparte award, therefore, learned Labour Court has rightly dismissed the application. Hence, no interference is called for.

6. The respondent has resigned from the services of the petitioners on 08.04.1991. Thereafter, he approached the Labour Court claiming the certain dues as stated above. Both the petitioners appeared before the Court and filed the written statement on 30.12.2000 and 30.01.2002. In the return, the respondent has admitted the certain claims of the respondent which is as under:

7. Salary of April 1991-Rs 10102.14, traveling expenses-Rs. 2871/-, Sales incentive/price/contest money-Rs. 15,537/-. Privileged leave of 78/2 days- 6625.40. The petitioners after filing the written statement were proceeded exparte and did not lead any evidence to deny the claim made by the present respondent. The petitioners also filed an application under Order 9, Rule 13 . In the said application, they are required to explain the reasons for nonappearance before the Court. Admittedly, the petitioners received the notice and filed the written statement but stopped appearing before the Court without any reason. In the entire application nothing has been pleaded as to why the petitioners or their counsel did not appear before the Court. Therefore, the learned Court has not committed any error while dismissing the application under Order 9, Rule 13 .

8. The respondent is contesting against the company like petitioners since last more than 20 years for the amount of Rs. 1,31,648/-. The present petition is pending since 2009. The petitioners have not made any effort to settle the claim with the respondent despite admitting his certain claims. More than 17 years have been passed from the date of passing the award on 09.12.2002. Though the scope of Labour Court under Section 33-C(2) of Industrial Dispute Act is very limited like an executing Court and the issues like whether the respondent is covered under the definition of workmen under Industrial Disputes Act and were also liable to be considered but keeping in view of the fact that substantial part of the the amount involved in the case has been admitted by the petitioners and the period spent by the respondent in litigating against the petitioners' company no interference is called for. At present, respondent is a senior citizen, therefore, no case for interference is made out.

9. Even, the scope of Article 227 of the Constitution of India in exercising jurisdiction is very limited in respect of interfe

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ring with the order of subordinate Court. Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case ofShalini Shyam Shetty and another v. Rajendra Shankar Patil, (2010) 8 SCC 329, wherein it has been held that :- "The scope of interference under Article 227 of the Constitution is limited. If order is shown to be passed by a Court having no jurisdiction, it suffers from manifest procedural impropriety or perversity, interference can be made. Interference is made to ensure that Courts below act within the bounds of their authority. Another view is possible, is not a ground for interference. Interference can be made sparingly for the said purpose and not for correcting error of facts and law in a routine manner." 10. Hence the petition is dismissed.