Supreme Court: In the matter where an illegally terminated workman had sought reinstatement claiming preference over other persons being a “retrenched workman” as per Section 25(H) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (ID Act), the bench of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Indu Malhotra, JJ held that it was not a case of a retrenchment of the respondent from service as contemplated under Section 25(H) of the ID Act as the workman had already accepted the compensation awarded to him in lieu of his illegal termination.
In the present case, the respondent had claimed that since the appellant company had regularised the services of 2 peons, he become entitled to claim reemployment in terms of Section 25 (H) of ID Act. The Court, however, rejected the claim and held that the respondent was not entitled to invoke the provisions of Section 25(H) of the ID Act and seek reemployment by citing the case of another employee (Peon) who was already in employment and whose services were only regularized by the appellant on the basis of his service record in terms of the Rules.
The Bench said:
“the regularization of an employee already in service does not give any right to retrenched employee so as to enable him to invoke Section 25(H) of the ID Act for claiming reemployment in the services. The reason is that by such act the employers do not offer any fresh employment to any person to fill any vacancy in their set up but they simply regularize the services of an employee already in service. Such act does not amount to filling any vacancy.”
It was explained that in order to attract the provisions of Section 25(H) of the ID Act, the workman needs to prove that:
- he was the “retrenched employee”
- his exemployer has decided to fill up the vacancies in their set up and, therefore, he is entitled to claim preference over those persons, who have applied against such vacancies for a job while seeking reemployment in the services.
Explaining the difference between the terms ‘employment’ and ‘regularization of the service”, the Bench said:
“the expression ‘employment’ signifies a fresh employment to fill the vacancies whereas the expression ‘regularization of the service’ signifies that the employee, who is already in service, his services are regularized as per service regulations.”
[Management of the Barara Cooperative Marketingcum Processing Society Ltd v. Workman Pratap Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1, decided on 02.01.2019]