Financial position relevant in deciding industrial dispute:SC

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court has ruled that industrial courts in the country must take into consideration the financial position of an industry while passing awards in favour of employees.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph while modifying the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed '' When the question arises as to how and in what manner balance should be struck, it is necessary for the industrial courts also to consider as to whether the industry has been sick or not.

If it is found that the industry is not in a position to bear the financial burden, in an appropriate award, as a result whereof the equities between the parties can be adjusted, should be passed.'' The apex court while partly allowing the appeal of Talwara Cooperative Credit and Service Society Ltd directed the company to pay Rs two lakh as a compensation to an employee Shushil Kumar over and above the amount which the appealant had deposited in terms of the order of the High Court under section 17-B of the Industrial Dispute Sect.

The services of Shushil Kumar was terminated as the company was suffering losses and till 1996 it had suffered a loss of Rs 18.95 lakhs. The company was a cooperative society.

The apex court concluded by saying '' Grant of a relief of reinstatement and back wages are not automatic. For the said purpose, certain relevant factors for example, the nature of service, the mode and manner of recruitment i.e., whether the appointment had been made in accordance with the statutory rule as far as a public sector undertaking is concerned etc. should be taken into consideration.

For the purpose of grant of backwages, one of the relevant factors would indisputably be as to whether the workman had been able to discharge his burden that he had not been gainfully employed after the termination of his service.'' The Supreme Court, however, set aside the directions of the court to reinstate the employee with full backwages as the cooperative society was financially sick.

UNI SC JT PM1328

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