Terminated from government job? A terminated employee cannot claim re-employment from the ex-employer after receiving a lump sum as compensation, in lieu of this right of reinstatement
Terminated from government job? A terminated employee cannot claim re-employment from the ex-employer after receiving a lump sum as compensation, in lieu of this right of reinstatement, according to a judgement of the Supreme Court in Management of the Barara Cooperative MarketingcumProcessing Society Ltd vs Workman Pratap Singh. The Society had terminated Singh from services on July 1, 1985. He had challenged the termination order before the Labour Court, which declared that the termination was illegal. The labour court awarded him a lump sum compensation of Rs.12,500 in lieu of his right of reinstatement in service of the Society. However, both Singh and his employer were not happy with the decision of the labour court. They filed writ petitions before the High Court, which rejected both the petitions. Following this, Singh accepted the compensation awarded to him by the Labour Court.
In 1993, Singh again approached the Society, claiming he was entitled to be re-employed under section 25(H) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 in the light of the Society’s resolution dated 2.8.1993, by which services of two other peons were regularised. The Society turned down his request. Singh then approached State Government for making a reference to the Labour Court. His request was accepted.
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However, the Labour Court held that Singh was not entitled to reemployment under section 25(H) of the ID Act. Singh then filed writ petition before the High Court, which set aside the order of the labour court asked the Society to re-employ Singh as a peon. The Barara Society challenged the order of the Single Judge before a Division Bench, which affirmed the previous order. Following this, they filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court
In its judgement published early this year, the apex court cancelled the HC decision and restored the award of the Labour Court. It said that the issue was over when Singh had accepted the compensation awarded by the Labour Court in lieu of his right of re-employment in service.
The top court said that Section 25(H) of the Industrial Disputes Act is applicable when the workman is able to prove the following:
– he was the “retrenched employee”
– his exemployer has decided to fill up the vacancies in their set up and, therefore, he is entitled to claim preference over those persons, who have applied against such vacancies for a job while seeking reemployment in the services.
In the current case, the SC said that Singh’s case was not of retrenchment as contemplated under Section 25(H) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
“That apart and more importantly, the respondent was not entitled to invoke the provisions of Section 25 (H) of the ID Act and seek reemployment by citing the case of another employee (Peon) who was already in employment and whose services were only regularized by the appellant on the basis of his service record in terms of the Rules,” the apex court said.
SC also said that regularization of an employee already in service does not give any right to retrenched employee so as to enable him to invoke Section 25 (H) of the ID Act for claiming reemployment in the services.
Employment vs Regularization
SC observed: “…there lies a distinction between the expression ‘employment’ and ‘regularization of the service”. The expression ‘employment’ signifies a fresh employment to fill the vacancies whereas the expression ‘regularization of the service’ signifies that the employee, who is already in service, his services are regularized as per service regulations.”