Weigh merits, demerits before judgement: HC to lower courts

Last Updated: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 19:30

Madurai: Lower courts should discuss the
relative merits and demerits of a case and give qualitative or
quantitative reasons for arriving at the decision even in the
case of an ex parte judgement, ruled the Madras High Court
bench here.

Justice M Venugopal, allowing a writ petition filed by
Gammon India Ltd challenging the award passed by a Labour
Court in Tirunelveli in December 2007 to reinstate a lorry
driver, said yesterday that the tribunal or court of law "must
apply its judicial mind and discuss the issue threadbare even
in ex-parte awards or decrees".
Holding that the ex-parte award passed in the case did
not stand the scrutiny of law, he said, "Unreasoned award may
be just one from the point of view of the person who has
passed it, but it may not be so to an aggrieved person, who
may have genuine cause for concern that by passing an
unreasoned and non-speaking order, something legally wrong has
been done to him or it."

Justice Venugopal also applied judicial discretion and
denied wages to the lorry driver under Sec.17 of the
Industrial Disputes Act for the period when the writ petition
was pending since 2008. He said the Section categorically
stated that an employer had no obligation to pay the wages
without specific orders from the court concerned.
The petitioner said that the driver was employed on
probation in Oct 1999 for a period of two years on a
consolidated salary of Rs 2,418 per month. It said the driver
was pardoned after submitting a written apology for assaulting
one of his superiors, but "continued to behave in the same

The company submitted that his services were terminated
in May 2000, immediately after which he approached the
Tirunelveli Labour Court and obtained an ex-parte award in his
favour in by giving the Tirunelveli project site address of
the company.


First Published: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 19:30
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