This labour & employment law newsletter provides a brief summary of the latest developments and updates through judgments, notifications, circulars, and other updates in the labour & employment sector in India.
Conciliation Officer has no power to transgress beyond the statutory provision
The High Court of Delhi while remanding the matter back to the Tribunal observed that the duties and power of the Conciliation Officer under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 (‘ID Act’) are circumscribed by Section 12 and he has no power to transgress beyond the said statutory provision. The Court further observed that ‘A Conciliation Officer is not empowered to adjudicate upon disputes between the management and the workman and can only assist the parties to arrive at an amicable settlement.’ It was clarified that the role of the Conciliation Officer is that of a mediator and no more.
Shri Nand Kishore v. Dilshad Public School & Anr., W.P.(C) 10468/2018
Proceedings of the Enquiry Committee cannot be challenged after participating in it without any protest
The Petitioner challenged an enquiry report rendered by the Complaints Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (‘POSH Act’) that was formed pursuant to government order dated 23.10.2020 on the grounds that the Complaints Committee was formed against the mandate of the POSH Act and the rules made thereunder. The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh dismissed the petition of the Petitioner and observed that ‘by participating in the enquiry proceedings without any demur, the petitioner has acquiesced in the constitution of the Complaints Committee and she has at no stage lodged any protest either regarding functioning of the Committee or regarding its constitution.’
Dr. Rehana Kausar v. UT of J&K and Ors., WP(C) No.1810/2021
Sundays and other paid holidays shall form a part of actual working days for determining continuous service
The High Court of Delhi while adjudicating the dispute regarding estimation of total working days for computing continuous service for attracting the provision of Section 25-F of the ID Act observed that ‘Sundays and other paid holidays shall form a part of actual working days for purpose of determining continuous service’. The Court further observed that compliance of Section 25-F of the ID Act is mandatory at the time of termination/retrenchment of a workman who has been in continuous service, even in the case of a casual/ daily wage worker.
Archaeological Survey Of India v. Presiding Officer, CGIT & Ors. W.P.(C) 8154/2005
Power of the Labour Court is akin to that of the Appellate Authority
The High Court of Delhi held that Labour Courts /Tribunals are entitled to interfere with the findings arrived at in the domestic enquiry, substitute its own findings on the very same evidence, reach conclusions different from that of the Disciplinary Authority and even hold that the charge of misconduct is not established. It was further held that the power conferred on Industrial Tribunals/ Labour Courts, under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (“I.D. Act”) is far wider than the power exercised by the High Courts in its Certiorari jurisdiction, more so, after the introduction of Section 11-A of the I.D. Act.
Naubat Ram v. Delhi Power Co. Ltd., 2023/DHC/000284
Labour Court/Industrial Tribunal is the final adjudicator of facts but High Courts can interfere in its writ jurisdiction if the award rendered is contrary to law as a measure of ‘misplaced sympathy’
The High Court of Delhi while examining the scope of writ jurisdiction of the High Court over the award passed by the Labour Court/Industrial Tribunal, has held that it is impermissible for the High Courts under its writ jurisdiction to re-appreciate evidence and substitute its view with that of the Labour Court/ Tribunals. It was further observed by the Hon’ble High Court that the legislature in its wisdom has not provided any appeal against the award of the Labour Court/Industrial Tribunal, thus, making the Labour Court/ Industrial Tribunal, the final adjudicator of facts. However, the High Court further held that if there is patent illegality or if the award rendered is contrary to law as a measure of ‘misplaced sympathy’ and was thus perverse, then the High Court can interfere in writ jurisdiction.
Sneh Aggarwal v. Punjab National Bank, 2023/DHC/000397
Necessary parties may be added to the case even though they are not named in the reference made by the Government under the I.D. Act
Orissa High Court, while relying upon the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Hochtief Gammon v. Industrial Tribunal, Bhubaneswar AIR 1964 SC 1746, observed that there is implied limited power of Tribunals to add parties and the test for the same is “would the non-joinder of the party make the proceedings ineffective and unenforceable?”.
Ananta Kumar Majhi & Ors. v. State of Orissa & Ors. WP(C) No.33461 of 2022
Amendment in the Apprenticeship Rules, 2022
Ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship vide notification dated 15. 11.2022 amended Schedule V of the Apprenticeship Rules, 1992 and substituted Clause 4(a) of the Rules “The employer shall pay stipend to the apprentice at the rate specified from time to time under rule 11. However, the cost of stipends shall be borne by the Central Government and the employer up to such limits as may be laid down by the Central Government.”
Online maternity benefit claim portal launched by Union Minister for labour and employment
Women members of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation scheme will now be able to claim maternity benefits online, where the beneficiaries, at their convenience, can claim their benefits from anywhere. Earlier, the beneficiaries claiming the Maternity Benefits had to visit the respective branch offices physically but now one can avail the benefits at their convenience.
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