If Labour Court Comes To The Conclusion That Inquiry Was In Violation Of Principles Of Natural Justice, Same Shall Be Decided As Preliminary Issue In Case Of Specific Plea: Gujarat HC

If Labour Court Comes To The Conclusion That Inquiry Was In Violation Of Principles Of Natural Justice, Same Shall Be Decided As Preliminary Issue In Case Of Specific Plea

The Gujarat High Court observed that if the Labour Court concludes that the inquiry violated principles of natural justice, the same shall be decided as a preliminary issue in case of a specific plea.

The Court was hearing a letter patent appeal filed by the Rajkot Municipal Corporation challenging the order by which the Corporation’s challenge to the award of Labour Court failed.

The bench of Justice Biren Vaishnav and Justice Pranav Trivedi observed, “A specific plea when raised before the Labour Court that if the Court came to the conclusion that the inquiry was in violation of the principle of natural justice, the same should have been decided as a preliminary issue.”

Advocate Nishant Lalakiya appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Mamta R Vyas appeared for the Respondent.

Brief Facts

The Respondent Rajeshbhai Ramjibhai Purabia, was working as a sweeper with the Rajkot Municipal Corporation. He was dismissed from service under Section 56(2) of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949. The dismissal was challenged before the Labour Court, where the Corporation defended it by citing repeated absences. The Labour Court found the dismissal violated the principles of natural justice and ordered reinstatement with back wages. The decision was affirmed by the Single Judge.

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The Court noted that the specific plea that was taken by the employer that in the event the Labour Court concludes that the action of imposing penalty in violation of principles of natural justice an opportunity to the parties to lead the evidence be given was not followed.

The Court mentioned the decision of the Supreme Court in M.L.Singla Vs. Punjab National Bank and another reported in (2018) 18 SCC 21 and stated, “the Apex Court while examining the award of the Labour Court, opined that if the Labour Court had come to conclusion that the inquiry was illegal or in violation of principles of natural justice it was under legal obligation to give an opportunity and then decide the question.”

The Court stated that the Courts below have committed an error of jurisdiction in as much as they did not allow the employer to lead the evidence before the Labour Court.

The Court quashed the orders of the Single Judge and the Labour Court and remanded the matter back to the Labour Court.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Letters Patent Appeal.

Cause Title: Rajkot Municipal Corporation v. Rajeshbhai Ramjibhai Purabiya

Appearance:

Appellant: Adv. Nishant Lalakiya

Respondent: Adv. Mamta R. Vyas

Source: verdictum

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