Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: Ravindra V. Ghuge, J., while addressing a petition, stated that,

“principle of “no work­ no wages” cannot be made applicable in such extraordinary circumstances.”

Petitioners grievance is that after the lockdown had been effected, members of petitioner union were still willing to offer their services as security guards and health workers but hey were precluded from performing their duties on account of clamping of lockdown for the purpose of containment of COVID-19.

Payments made by the contractors the above-stated people for the month of March, 2020 are slightly lesser than the gross salary and for the month of April, 2020 a paltry amount is paid.

Bench for the said matter stated that,

Court cannot turn a Nelson’s eye to an extraordinary situation on account of Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

In Court’s opinion, the principle of “no work­ no wages” cannot be made applicable in such extraordinary circumstances, and Court cannot be insensitive to the plight of such workers.

District collector, Osmanabad directed to ensure that full wages, save and except food and allowance and conveyance allowance shall be disbursed by contractors to the employees concerned for the months of March, April and May, 2020.

Principle of “no work­ no wages” shall not be invoked until further orders in this petition. [Rashtriya Shramik Aghadi v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 634 , decided on 12-05-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: J.R. Midha, J. allowed a writ petition filed by the employer challenging the award of the Labour Court whereby the respondent was ordered to be reinstated with 40% back wages.

The employer had engaged the respondent on daily wages, who deposited deficient sale proceeds for several months in 1989 and 1990. The employer issued memos to the respondent, whose services were ultimately terminated on the ground of loss of confidence. The respondent raised an industrial dispute which was referred to the Labour Court, which subsequently made the impugned award.

Anju Bhattacharya, Nandita Chandra and Elign Matt John, Advocates representing the employer, submitted that there was no infirmity in termination of respondent’s service. Per contra, B.P. Singh Parihar, Advocate for the respondent, supported the impugned award.

The High Court observed: “the law with respect to the loss of confidence is well- settled that the reinstatement cannot be ordered when an employee acts in a manner by which the management loses confidence in him. In case of loss of confidence, only compensation can be awarded.” Reliance was placed on State of Travancore v. Prem Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8258 wherein the High Court had summarised the principles regarding the termination of service in case of loss of confidence.

It was brought to Court’s notice that the employer had paid around 7.47 lakhs to the respondent under Section 17-B of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (payment of full wages to the workman pending proceedings in higher courts).

The Court was satisfied that the instant case was squarely covered by principles laid down in State of Travancore case. No infirmity was found in termination of respondent’s services. The writ petition was allowed and the award of Labour Court impugned herein was set aside. However, a compensation of Rs 75,000 was awarded to the widow of the respondent (who had expired during the pendency of the petition).[Delhi State Civil Supply Corpn. Ltd. v. Badan Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9977, decided on 30-08-2019]