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The Managing Director, Woodville Palace Resorts (P) Ltd. v/s Rajinder Sharma

    CWP. No. 2901 of 2018

    Decided On, 13 December 2018

    At, High Court of Himachal Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. SURYA KANT & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTIC AJAY MOHAN GOEL

    For the Appellants: Rahul Mahajan, Advocate. For the Respondent: None.



Judgment Text

(Oral) Judgment:

Ajay Mohan Goel, J.

1. By way of this writ petition, the petitioner assails award, dated 14th May, 2018, passed by the Presiding Judge, Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Shimla in Reference No. 60 of 2007, decided on 14th May, 2018, vide which while answering the reference partly in favour of the workman, learned Tribunal has directed the petitioner to pay a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- as lumpsum compensation to the legal 1 Whether Reporters of local newspaper are permitted to see the judgment representatives of the deceased workman within a period of three months from the date of award, failing which the award amount is to carry interest @ 9% per annum from the date of publication of the award.

2. Workman Rajinder Sharma raised an Industrial Dispute feeling aggrieved by termination of his employment by the petitioner w.e.f. 1st January, 2004, which led to the following reference being forwarded by the appropriate Government for adjudication by the learned Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Shimla :-

"Whether the employee Shri. Rajinder Sharma, son of late Shri. Sehdev Sharma is a workman or not and termination of his services by the Managing Director, Woodville Palace Resorts (P) Limited, Woodville Palace, Raj Bhawan Road, Shimla-2 w.e.f. 01.01.2004 without holding any domestic enquiry and without complying the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is proper and justified? If not, what relief of service benefits and amount of compensation, the above aggrieved workman is entitled to ?"

3. Earlier, the learned Tribunal held that claimant was not a workman. Such findings were challenged before this Court by way of CWP No. 1929 of 2012, titled as Rajinder Sharma (deceased) through his LRs Udesh and others v. Managing Director and another, in which this Court held that claimant Rajinder Sharma was a workman. Thereafter, the case was remanded back to the learned Tribunal for further adjudication of the Reference. Rajinder Sharma died during the pendency of the reference petition and his legal representatives were thereafter brought on record.

4. Learned Tribunal held that as the termination of the petitioner was without conducting any inquiry and without affording any opportunity of hearing, therefore, the same was in violation of the principles of natural justice. It held that neither any show cause nor any charge-sheet was issued to the deceased workman before terminating his services. Workman had continuously worked with the respondents from the year 1995 till his services were terminated on 1st January, 2004 when he was serving as Assistant General Manager. Since 1995, till 1st January, 2004, the workman had completed 240 days in each calendar year. As neither any notice, as prescribed under Section 25 F of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as 1947 Act), was served upon the deceased workman nor he was paid compensation in lieu thereof, therefore, the retrenchment was bad in law.

5. Learned Tribunal also held that the deceased workman was regular and confirmed employee of the petitioner hotel and his legal representatives were, therefore, entitled to receive a suitable, appropriate, just and equitable compensation which it, in lumpsum assessed at Rs. 3,00,000/-. These findings stand assailed by the petitioner.

6. We have heard learned counsel for the petitioner at considerable length and have also gone through the record.

7. It is not in dispute that the deceased workman was engaged as Front Office Manager by the petitioner hotel in the year 1995 and he was serving as Assistant General Manager, when his services were terminated by the petitioner hotel w.e.f. 1st January, 2004. Incidently, the factum of termination of the services of the respondent workman, without complying with the provisions of 1947 Act, is not in dispute. Learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that as the deceased workman was found misappropriating the funds/money of the hotel, no formal action was taken against him on the request of other workers of the hotel and this is the reason as to why no notice etc. was given to him. Be that as it may, fact of the matter is that there is nothing on record to substantiate the said contention of the petitioner. It is matter of record that no domestic inquiry was conducted by the petitioner with regard to the allegations against the deceased workman. His services were terminated without complying with the provisions of 1947 Act. Record demonstrates that the deceased workman had put in more than 240 days in each calendar year from 1995 to 1st January, 2004 and he had also put in more than 240 days of services in the preceding 12 months as from the date of termination of his services. In this view of the matter, it was incumbent upon the petitioner to have complied with the provisions of 1947 Act. Therefore, there is no infirmity with the findings returned by the learned Tribunal that termination of the deceased was in violation of the provisions of 1947 Act.

8. Record further demonstrates that the workman was being paid a monthly salary of Rs. 8,000/- per month at the time of termination of his services besides Rs. 2,000/- for overtime. His age in the year 2004 was about 44 years. This is evident from the fact that as on 23rd April, 2010, when statement of the deceased workman was recorded befo

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re the learned Tribunal, his age was mentioned as 50 years. In these circumstances, the lumpsum compensation of Rs. 3,00,000/-, granted by the learned Tribunal cannot be termed to be exorbitant and the amount awarded by the learned Tribunal is reasonable in view of the fact that annual salary of the deceased employee was about Rs. 96,000/- per annum and his age, at the time of retrenchment, was only 44 years. 9. In view of the findings returned hereinabove, we do not find any infirmity in the award challenged and thus, there is no merit in this writ petition, which is accordingly dismissed.
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