Manju Saxena vs. Union of India deals with the issue of the voluntarily abandoning of the services by the employees will come under the purview of Section 25(F) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 or not.
BENCH: Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice Indu Malhotra
MANJU SAXENA JUDGEMENT DATE: December 3rd, 2018
MANJU SAXENA CASE CITATION: Civil Appeal No. 1176611767 of 2018
MANJU SAXENA CASE FACTS:
- The appellant was appointed as the Lady Confidential Secretary under the respondent bank. Then she was promoted to the Senior Confidential Secretary to the senior manager.
- Then the Senior Confidential Secretary post was redundant as the officer supported by her left the job of the bank.
- Then the four other posts were offered to her as an alternative to her previous post with the same pay scale and the severance package. But she rejected both the offers.
- On 1st October 2005, the bank dismissed her and paid the compensation of six months instead of notice according to the employment contract. The bank paid compensation of Rs. 8,17,071 to the appellant.
- Then on 3rd October, 2005 an industrial dispute was raised before the Regional Labour Commissioner under the Industrial Dispute Act by the appellant asking for the increment in the severance package but did not ask for reinstatement but the conciliation proceedings failed as did not arrive at the settlement.
- Then the appellant filed the claim before the Central Government Industrial Tribunal (CGIT) regarding the severance package, outstanding housing loan waiver and full pension. The CGIT held it entitled the appellant to be reinstated along with the terminal benefits.
- Then the respondent, by challenging the order of CGIT, filed a writ petition in the High Court. The High Court held which referred the matter to the CGIT to consider whether Manju Saxena will be considered a workman under the Industrial Dispute Act.
- The CGIT held the petitioner is a workman under the Industrial Dispute Act and will be reinstated with back wages and other termination benefits.
- The appellant also filed an application for interim maintenance before the High Court. It directed for the payment of Rs. 75000 to the appellant under Section 17B of the Industrial Dispute Act.
- Then an L.P.A was filed by the bank in the Division Bench of the High Court, which reduced the number to Rs. 75000. Then the single Bench of the High Court allowed the petition of the bank and set aside the order of the CGIT by stating that the appellant has abandoned her job and there is no case of illegal termination and directed the appellant to pay monetary compensation received by him from the bank.
- Then an appeal was filed in the Division Bench of the High Court by the petitioner and the Bench dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the Single Bench. It, however, stated that it does not entitle the appellant to refund his termination compensation to the bank.
- Then an appeal was filed by the petitioner in the Supreme Court as the decision of the High Court aggrieved her.
- Whether the voluntary abandonment of her services will come under the purview of Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, or not?
- Whether it entitled the petitioner to any other claims or benefits from the respondent or not.
MANJU SAXENA CONTENTIONS (PETITIONER):
- The petitioner contended that she is eligible for the severance package of Rs. 69.99 Lakhs
- She further contended that other benefits under the Industrial Dispute Act must be given to her, as she was employed under the respondent for over 20 years.
- She also contended that the terms of housing loan provide benefits to employees and hence her outstanding amount on it must be waived off.
- She contended that the T.D.S deduction by the bank on all the payments given to her is illegal and is entitled to the refund for that amount.
BANK’S CONTENTIONS (RESPONDENT):
- The respondent contended that the services of the petitioner were redundant and hence she was offered the other positions, but she declined, and therefore, her service was terminated. It also paid her the compensation of Rs. 8,17,071 with other benefits.
- They also contended that the bank complied with Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act. They further contended that a severance package of Rs. 32.79 Lakhs was also offered by them to the bank, which was denied by her.
- Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice Indu Malhotra: The Bench stated the petitioner voluntarily abandoned her services despite being offered other positions and a severance package, so they will not consider it as “continuous services” under Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act.
- They further refer the case of Hathisingh Manufacturing Ltd. vs Union of India by stating the conditions for retrenchment under Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act. They further stated that they considered the continuous service under Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act to be an essential condition.
The court dismissed the civil appeal, and it considered the amount received by her as compensation in lieu of her termination as the final settlement for all the claims raised by the petitioner in this case.
The conclusion that we can draw from this case is that to claim retrenchment benefit by the employee, he must comply with the conditions of Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. The employee must be in continuous services for the retrenchment benefit and also voluntary abandonment will not be considered as continuous services under the purview of Section 25F of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
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