Don't show sympathy towards workers who indulge in strike: SC

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New Delhi, Sep 30 (UNI) The Supreme Court has warned the courts in the country to be cautious and not to show any sympathy or compassion towards the employees indulging in acts of indiscipline and disrupting the work through prolonged strikes.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, while disposing of the appeals of some dismissed employees of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Private Limited, has observed ''in recent times there are increasing evidences of this, perhaps well meant but wholly unsustainable tendency towards a denudation of the legitimacy of judicial reasoning and process.

The apex court further said ''the relief granted by the court must be seen to be logical and tenable within the framework of law and should not incur and justify the criticism that the jurisdiction of the court tends to generate misplaced sympathy, and generosity. It is essential to maintain the integrity of legal reasoning and legitimacy of the conclusions.'' The court in its judgement, dated September 28, also noted ''the ruling must emanate logically from the legal findings.'' ''Expansive judicial mood of mistaken and misplaced compassions at the expense of the legitimacy of the process will eventually lead to mutually irreconcilable situations,'' the court added.

The services of the petitioner U B Gadhe and others were terminated for acts of indiscipline and there was also found guilty of instigating workers to remain on strike for a period of four to five months in 1989 and they were dismissed from the service on March 1, 1990.

The workers raised an industrial dispute. The Tribunal Court ordered their reinstatement without back wages. The Gujarat High Court, however, allowed the appeal of the Gujarat Ambuja Cement company and set aside the order of the labour court.

The apex court in its judgement noted ''the labour court ought not to have interfered with the quantum of punishment especially when it is established that the employer is a public utility service and the strike prolonged for a period of four to five months.'' It said ''even in the absence of further proofs of involvement of workmen for other misconducts of unruly behaviour, abusing superior officer, preventing from entering the premises and co-workers from resuming duties, threatening the family members and collecting union subscription illegally, it is doubtful whether the labour court could have reduced the punishment.'' The court, however, appreciated the gestures of the employer to pay Rs one lakh each to the petitioners.

The apex court finally said the Tribunal Court should use the power under sanction 11(a) of the Industrial Dispute Tribunal Act judiciously and sparingly only under compelling circumstances.


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