Gujarat High Court Denies U/S 25F Identity Law Relief

The Gujarat High Court upheld the Labor Court’s order determining that the worker-claimant was not entitled to reinstatement on the grounds that there were discrepancies between his testimony and the documents produced by him.

The Claimant alleged that he joined the Respondent’s services in 1983 and performed the duties of a laborer/table worker as a daily bet. Since he possessed degrees, he was also given a desk job. However, he alleged that he was orally dismissed in September 1988 without due process under the Labor Disputes Act 1947. Wronged, he went to the labor court which rejected his request in December 2007.

The claimant disputed that the Labor Court erred in finding that the claimant had not completed 240 days of continuous service in the twelve months prior to the date of termination and was therefore not entitled to any compensation . The Court should have considered the paid public holiday, that is to say the Sunday which fell during the period of service rendered by the Applicant for the purpose of calculating 240 days.

The Claimant further submitted that he had completed 240 days of service prior to his service and was therefore entitled to protection under Section 25(F) of the Industrial Disputes Act. It was also admitted during cross-examination of the Respondent’s witness that at the time of the Applicant’s termination, no seniority list was issued and that the work which was performed by the Applicant herein was done by other employees. This amounted to a violation of Section 25(G) and the work that was being done by the petitioner was being done by other employees (H) of the Labor Disputes Act, it was claimed.

On the other hand, the defendants argued that the documents concerning the applicant’s presence did not correspond to the minutes as produced by the witness. The department had duly proved its case by producing the appeal sheets concerning the applicant’s employment and, therefore, it was not entitled to any remedy.

Judge Aniruddha P Mayee noted that the petitioner was not appointed as a daily punter by following due legal process. Further, after reviewing the records, the panel concluded that the Applicant’s testimony contained several inconsistencies. For example, in his deposition, he claimed that he was terminated in July 1988, but later changed the date to September 1988. Furthermore, even the Applicant’s pay receipts showed that he did not had worked only 93 days.

The High Court then carefully examined the call lists to conclude that between the year 1987 and 1988 the claimant had worked only 208 days. The labor court had therefore rightly cross-checked the evidence produced by the applicant and the official registers of the department and found that the registers did not tally.

There is no other evidence adduced by the Applicant to show that during the previous year he had worked with the Respondent for a period of 240 days which is also not supported by any oral evidence. The petitioner produced the pay receipts for the intermittent period and these cannot be relied upon to conclude that the petitioner worked continuously during the said period.

Accordingly, finding that there was no violation of Section 25(F) of the Act, the bench dismissed the special civil motion.

Case Title: CHANDUBHAI PUNJABHAI TALPADA v ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE ENGINEER

Case No: C/SCA/7059/2008

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Maria D. Ervin