The Karnataka High Court has said that merely because the employer has transferred a workman to a particular place, the workman cannot be expected to initiate proceedings in that place.
Justice Suraj Govindaraj said this while granting relief to a dismissed medical representative working for Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals Limited.
The petitioner workman Vishwanatha Shetty was working at Shivamogga when the employer gave an option either to take transfer to Udupi or Chennai. Subsequently, he was asked to report at Bengaluru depot. When Vishwanatha did not adhere to these directions, he was transferred to headquarters at New Delhi and finally he was terminated from service.
Vishwanatha Shetty moved the Labour Court in Mangaluru, which has the jurisdiction over Shivamogga. However, Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals raised objection over jurisdiction, stating that the petitioner was transferred to New Delhi and as per the terms and conditions the dispute can only be raised in a court in New Delhi. The Labour Court rejected the Industrial Dispute on the ground of want of jurisdiction.
‘Such a submission (of the employer), if accepted could also give rise to a situation which could result in exploitation of the workman inasmuch as the employer could at its whims and fancies transfer a workman to any place in the country and contend that it is in the place of transfer that the dispute has to be raised,’ Justice Suraj Govindaraj said.
The court also held that the Labour Court at Mangaluru had the jurisdiction to decide the issue at hand.
‘The dispute is not as much as the transfer to a particular location but transfer from a particular location. That apart, in the present case, the dispute is as regards termination of services of the petitioner which termination, in my considered opinion, occurred in Shivamogga since the notice of termination which had been issued from New Delhi would be complete only on receipt there of by the workman at the address shown in the notice which is Shivamogga,’ the bench said.