Industrial Disputes Act : Project Leader Can’t Be Implied To Be Doing Clerical, Manual Or Technical Work: Karnataka HC Sets Aside Labour Court Order

Project Leader Can't Be Implied To Be Doing Clerical, Manual Or Technical Work: Karnataka HC Sets Aside Labour Court Order Mustafa Plumber

The Karnataka High Court has said that an employee working as a project lead in an Information Technology Services and Consulting company, would not come in any of the classifications envisaged under Section 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes Act and the Labour Court has no jurisdiction to order his reinstatement.

A single judge bench of Justice K S Hemalekha allowed the plea filed by Mphasis Ltd and set aside the award of the Labour Court holding that Ashok S Narayanpur, the employee, was a workman as defined under Section 2(s) of the ID Act and that the petitioner refusing employment to him from 29.08.2016 was not justifiable. The Labour Court directed his reinstatement to his original post and further held that the respondent is entitled to continuity of service and all other future consequential benefits.

The company submitted that Narayanpur was appointed as a Software Trainee in Mphasis Limited (Software Company) and was subsequently promoted as a Senior System Engineer, later as a Project Engineer. It said that the respondent submitted a resignation letter for personal reasons and the same was accepted.

It was argued that even so, the respondent raised a claim before the Assistant Labour Commissioner seeking re-employment. The matter was referred to the Labour Court by way of reference under Sections 10 (1) (c) and (1) (d) of the ID Act.

Also read: Hem Chandra Tiwari joins Mohan Meakin Ltd. as Head-HR

It was submitted that the respondent is not a workman as envisaged under Section 2(s) of the ID Act and that the relief sought was not maintainable before the Labour Court. The respondent was working as a Project Lead, under him, four employees were working and reporting to duty and as such, he cannot be termed as a workman to maintain the reference, it was argued.

The bench noted that for an employee in an industry to be a ‘workman’ under Section 2 (s) after its amendment by the amending Act of 1982, he must be employed to do—Manual work, Unskilled work, Skilled work, Technical work, Operational work, Supervisory work.

The Bench noted that the question as to whether an employee is a ‘workman’ has to be determined with reference to his principal nature of duties and functions.

It was observed that such a question was required to be determined on the facts and circumstances of the case and the material on record since there is no straight jacket formula for the same.

Further, it said “The respondent in the instant case admits that he is a Project Lead and he prepares the estimates and plans for work products and also prepares designs and quotes. The self-evaluation prepared by the respondent and it is mentioned that he is used to providing functional and technical work on a regular basis to his team as well as clients and being a project lead, he is to share domain knowledge to mitigate the problems.”

Court observed that the person who is given the post of project leader can by no stretch of the imagination be thought of as doing clerical, manual or technical work to come under the purview of the definition of the ‘workman’.

Taking into account that the respondent’s work is not manual, clerical or technical but falls under the managerial category, wherein imparting and taking decisions is the main work of the respondent, the Court held that it would not come in any of the classifications envisaged under Section 2 (s) of the ID Act since the duties performed were neither clerical nor manual and thus, the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to order reinstatement.

Accordingly, the plea was allowed and the labour court order was set aside.

Appearance: Advocate Madhukar M. Deshpande, for petitioner.

Advocate P.D. Subrahmanya, for Respondent.

Citation No: 2024 LiveLaw (Kar) 56

Case Title: MPHASIS LIMITED AND Ashok S Narayanpur

Case No: WRIT PETITION No.5443/2021

Source: Livelaw

Stay connected with us on social media platforms for instant updates click here to join our LinkedInTwitter & Facebook

Business Manager

View all posts

April 2024

Submit Your Article

Would you like to share your views? submit your Aricle by clicking on the button below. Submit your Article

April 2024

error: Content is protected !!