SC directs 283 Super Bazar staffers to join work

The Supreme Court today directed 283 employees of ailing shopping co-operative Super Bazar, who are opposing its takeover by Bhaskar Group-promoted Writers and Publishers Ltd, to resume work from tomorrow.

Updated: Aug 03, 2010, 00:55 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed
283 employees of ailing shopping co-operative Super Bazar, who
are opposing its takeover by Bhaskar Group-promoted Writers
and Publishers Ltd, to resume work from tomorrow.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and
Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, directed the
members of the minority employees union -- Super Bazar
Karamchari Hiteshi Sangathan -- to report to duty tomorrow.
"These workers, who are members of Super Bazar Karamchari
Hiteshi Sangthan, would report to work at 9 am tomorrow at
Rajender Palace," the court said in an attempt to pull the
curtain down on a tussle between the union and Writers and
Publishers Ltd, which successfully bid for retail store Super
Bazar last year.

However, the court said that the union members would have
to join as new employees, and would thereby be considered as
"re-employment".

The court`s direction came after the counsel for the
employee union submitted that 283 employees were not being
allowed to work, and their salaries had not been paid from
October 2009.

Meanwhile, on the request of the parties concerned, it
also extended the tenure of the court-appointed administrators
by four weeks to run the ailing shopping cooperative.

During the proceedings, Additional Solicitor General H P
Rawal, appearing for the registry, and senior advocate
Rohington Nariman, representing the Bhaskar Group, informed
the court that there was no conformity in the amount paid by
the bidder.

"We both (Nariman and Rawal) sat together and found that
there was no conformity in the bank accounts," said Nariman.

Earlier, over allegations of non-payment of money, the
court had directed Rawal and Nariman to resolve the issue and
correct the factual position of Super Bazar. The court had
also directed Bhaskar Group to produce documents on the
financial transaction.

Though the Super Bazar Karamchari Hiteshi Sangthan had
been protesting the takeover of the retail store chain, over
750 workers of another union continued to work under the new
management.

Almost a decade ago, Super Bazar had suffered massive
losses and the apex court had given its nod for the chain`s
revival by allowing Writers and Publishers Ltd to take over
its management.

The group had proposed to invest Rs 102 crore to make
Super Bazar`s net worth positive and Rs 276 crore towards
working capital after withdrawal of the liquidation order. It
has pledged another Rs 126 crore for the revival and revamping
of business of Super Bazar.

The government had invited bids in May 2006 after the
Supreme Court asked the Centre to examine ways to revive the
cooperative supermarket.

-PTI