Weigh merits, demerits before judgement: HC to lower courts
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 05, 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 fashion".

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 05, 2011, 19:30

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