Ruling that the Ahmedabad-based Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) had not applied its mind while disposing a dispute between an employee and a nationalised bank,the Gujarat High Court has quashed the tribunals verdict and sent the case back to it for proper adjudication.
The two parties to the dispute are Anilkumar Sukhvasia and Indian Bank.
Sukhvasia was enrolled in the bank as a driver in 1990,and terminated from the service in 1998. He then moved the IDT claiming he was an employee of the bank and the termination was unjustified.
Opposing this claim,the bank argued that he was engaged by the Assistant General Manager (AGM) in his personal capacity as his personal driver. It added that Sukhvasia was never engaged by the bank and,therefore,there is no question of relationship of master and servant between the two parties. It further submitted that the respondent was paid by the AGM in his personal capacity.
The tribunal passed an order directing the bank to absorb Sukhvasia from the date of order as a regular employee. But it did not consider the prayer of back wages and other relief.
The bank challenged the order in the High Court.
The counsel of the bank argued that while deciding the issue,the tribunal mainly considered two factors; whether Sukhvasia was an employee of the bank,and whether he could be absorbed in the bank.
He argued that the tribunal had given contradictory orders while concluding the first issue in negative and the second in positive.
Justice H K Rathod,while quashing the tribunals order, observed: The Industrial Tribunal has not properly examined the issue,which is referred to for adjudication… industrial tribunal,Ahmedabad,has committed gross error in deciding aforesaid reference. This award has been given by the Industrial Tribunal in a half-hearted manner,with non-application of mind.
Justice Rathod further observed: Whether the termination is legal or not,that question must have to be examined by the tribunal. Then the question arises whether he was employed by the petitioner bank or not. The third question then arising is whether he is a workman within the meaning of section 2(s) of the ID Act,1947.
The court gave the tribunal a list of six questions for consideration while adjudicating the matter.