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The Management, Karur District Cooperative Spinning Mills P. Ltd. v/s The Appellate Authority, Joint Commissioner of Labour (Gratuity) & Others

    W.P.(MD)Nos. 3133 to 3146 of 2018 & W.M.P.(MD)Nos. 3294 to 3321 of 2018

    Decided On, 03 January 2022

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR.(MRS.) JUSTICE ANITA SUMANTH

    For the Petitioner: K. Rajmohan, S. Deenadhayalan, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1 & R2, A.K. Manikkam, Special Government Pleader, R3, A. Hariharan, Advocate.



Judgment Text

(Prayer:- Writ Petition - filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of Writ of Certiorari calling for the entire records relating to order of 1st Respondent passed in PG.A.No.54 of 2017 dated 11.10.2017 and quash the same.)

Common Order:

This matter was heard at length on 21.12.2021. Upon conclusion of submissions, it was suggested that some quietus be found, insofar as the matter is hanging fire for the last three decades without the employees having seen the colour of the coin till date. The following order was thus passed on 21.12.2021:

“Heard the learned counsel at length.

2. Mr.Rajmohan, learned counsel for the petitioner Mill seeks some time to obtain instructions in writing in regard to whether the petitioner Mill is inclined to settle the liability towards gratuity for the period from 01.01.1992 to 01.07.2003 without reference to the legal submissions made.

3. List on 03.01.2022.”

2. Today, Mr.K.Rajmohan, learned counsel for the petitioner circulates an affidavit duly executed by the official liquidator (in charge) of the Karur District Cooperative Spinning Mills Private Limited, wherein, after narrating the facts at issue, a decision has been arrived at to settle the liability towards gratuity for the period 01.01.1992 to 01.07.2003.

3. This decision finds acceptance by the learned counsel for the employees as well, barring the case of the employee in WP.(MD)No.3146 of 2018, in whose case the facts stand on a different footing and shall be adverted to shortly.

4. In WP.(MD)No.3136 of 2018 and 3145 of 2018, the employees have passed away and the legal heirs have been brought on record. These parties stand on the same footing as all other private respondents barring the respondents in W.P.(MD)No.3146 of 2018.

5. The contents of common affidavit dated 03.01.2022 are extracted herein below:-

COMMON AFFIDAVIT FILED ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER

1. Mrs R Radha wife of Mr Ramesh, Hindu, aged about 47 years, having office at C/o Assistant Director of Handlooms and Textiles, Thittasala Main Road, V.V.G.Nagar, Vengamedu, Karur-6. do hereby solemnly affirm and sincerely state as follows:-

1. I am the Official Liquidator (in-charge) of the Petitioner/Mill, namely, Karur District Cooperative Spinning Mils P. Ltd. As such, I am well acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case from records and personal knowledge. The Affidavits filed along with the Wit Petitions may be treated as part and parcel of this Affidavit.

2. I state that the above Wit Petitions are filed for a Writ of Certiorari calling for the entire records of the Orders passed in P.G.Appeals by the 1" Respondent

3. I state that the Petitioner/Mill was closed on 01.07.2003. At the time of closing. the Petitioner/Mill a scheme for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) was introduced for the permanent employees and accordingly 565 employees opted for the same and got their dues settled. Pursuant thereto, in accordance to Sec.137 of Act, 1983. Petitioner/Mill was recommended for winding up. Accordingly, vide proceedings Na.Ka.3237/2012/C dated 17.12.2012. Petitioner/Mill was wound up and accordingly Official Liquidator was appointed. It goes without saying that once an Official Liquidator is appointed, any claim in respect of monetary benefits as against the Petitioner/Mill shall be claimed only before the Official Liquidator. As a result, the impugned order passed by the 1st Respondent is legally unsustainable and it is in contravention to the provisions of the law.

4. I state that in order to give quietus to the dispute, the Petitioner/Mill is agreeable to pay the gratuity amount for a period from 01.01.1992 to 17.06.2003 which is in accordance to the order dated 17.06.2003 passed by the Authority under the Conferment of Permanent Status to Workmen, Act, 1981, conferring permanency to the 3 Respondent's in the said Writ Petitions.

For the reasons stated above, it is therefore prayed that this Hon'ble Court may be pleased to allow the Writ Petitions and pass such further or other order(s) as this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case and render justice.

For The Karur District Co.op

Sainning Mills Ltd.,

Karur.”

6. Learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that the amount of gratuity ordered by R2 on 28.01.2016 (whose order has been confirmed by R1 and which is presently impugned in the batch of writ petitions) has been deposited by R2 in 2016 itself.

7. Thus and without reference to the legal submissions of either side in the matter, there is a direction to R2 to pay over the amount of gratuity and interest as relatable to the period 01.01.1992 to 01.07.2003, within a period of three weeks from today. The balance of the principal deposited as well as interest, if any, accrued, will enure to the benefit

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of the petitioner Mill. These Writ Petitions are disposed in the aforesaid terms. 8. As far as W.P.(MD)No.3146 of 2018 is concerned, R3 was admittedly, a permanent employee and no case whatsoever has been made out, justifying intervention in the impugned orders. Learned counsel for the petitioner fairly accepts this position. W.P.(MD)No.3146 of 2018 is thus dismissed. The amount deposited by the Mill qua this petitioner shall be paid over to R3 within a period of three weeks from today. No costs. All connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.
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