Sikar Kendriya Sahkari Bank … vs Bhagirath Singh (Dead) Thr. Lrs. on 24 September, 2018

                                                                  Non­Reportable

                               IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                              CIVIL APPEAL Nos.5300­5301 OF 2010


                         Sikar Kendriya Sahkari
                         Bank Limited                                 ….Appellant(s)

                                                   VERSUS

                         Bhagirath Singh (Dead)
                         Through L. Rs.                               …Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1) These   appeals   are   filed   against   the   final

judgment   and   order   dated   11.10.2007   and

23.01.2008 passed by the High Court of Rajasthan

at   Jaipur   in   D.B.   Civil   Special   Appeal   (Writ)   No.

1467 of 1997 in S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1418 of

1990 and Civil Application No. 194 of 2007 in D.B.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
ANITA MALHOTRA
Civil Special Appeal (Writ) No. 1467 of 1997 in S.B.
Date: 2018.09.24
17:03:15 IST
Reason:

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Civil   Writ   Petition   No.   1418   of   1990   respectively

whereby the High Court allowed the Special Appeal

and   dismissed   the   Civil   Misc.   Application   stating

that there is no good reason to change the earlier

order. 

2) In order to appreciate the controversy involved

in   these   appeals,   few   facts   need   mention

hereinbelow. 

3) The   appellant   is   a   Co­operative   Bank   having

their area of operation in District Sikar in the State

of   Rajasthan.   The   respondent­Bhagirath   Singh

(since   dead   and   now   represented   by   his   legal

representatives)   was   appointed   by   the   appellant­

Bank   on   17.09.1975   on   the   post   of   Clerk.   The

appellant,   however,   terminated   the   services   of   the

respondent by order dated 28.03.1979.

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4) Late   Bhagirath   Singh   felt   aggrieved   by   his

termination   approached   to   the   State   Government

and   prayed   for   making   on   Industrial   Reference   to

the   Labour   Court   to   decide   the   legality   and

correctness of his termination from the services.

5) The State Government acceded to his request

and   made   Reference   to   the   Labour   Court,   Jaipur

under   Section   10   of   the   Industrial   Disputes   Act,

1947   (hereinafter   referred   to   as   “the   ID   Act’)   on

09.04.1980.   The   Labour   Court   entertained   the

Reference   and   called upon  the  parties to file their

respective statements. Parties accordingly filed their

statements. 

6) The Labour Court by award dated 21.07.1984

answered   the   Reference   in   favour   of   Bhagirath

Singh.   The   Labour   Court   held   that   firstly,   the

respondent had continuously worked for more than

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240   days   in   one   calendar   year   and,   therefore,

entitled for protection of the labour laws; Secondly,

no enquiry was conducted by the Bank before his

termination;   Thirdly,   he   was   not   paid   any

retrenchment   compensation   as   provided   under

Section 25 (F) of the ID Act prior to his termination

and, therefore, it is a case of illegal termination; and

lastly,   since   no   evidence   was   led   by   the   Bank   to

prove that he was gainfully employed elsewhere, he

was   entitled   to   claim   full   back   wages.   With   these

findings, the Labour Court set aside the termination

order   and   directed   for   reinstatement   of   Bhagirath

Singh  in  service   with  payment  of full back wages.

The   Bank   then   on   10.01.1985   allowed   Bhagirath

Singh to join as Clerk and he accordingly joined the

services   pursuant   to   the   award   passed   by   the

Labour Court.

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7) Bhagirath   Singh   then   filed   a   Civil   Suit   No.

61/1986   in   the   Court   of   Munsif   (1st   class),   Sikar

against   the   Bank   for   a   declaration   and   grant   of

mandatory   injunction   to   claim   relief   of   seniority,

regularization   and   salary   etc.   after   joining   the

services. The Bank as defendant contested the suit.

By   Judgment/decree   dated   05.12.1989,   the   Civil

Judge   dismissed   the   suit.   Bhagirath   Singh,   felt

aggrieved   by   the   dismissal   of   the   suit,   filed   writ

petition   being   W.P.   No.   1418   of   1990   in   the   High

Court.   The   Single   Judge,   by   order   dated

13.02.1996,  dismissed the writ petition. Bhagirath

Singh   felt   aggrieved   and   filed   intra   court   appeal

(D.B.   Civil   Special   Appeal   (Writ)   No.   1467/1997)

before the Division Bench. By impugned order dated

11.10.2007, the Division Bench allowed the appeal

ex parte, set aside the order of the writ court and

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directed   the   Bank   to   regularize   the   services   of

Bhagirath Singh from the date when the services of

similarly situated persons were regularized and also

directed   to   give   him   consequential   benefits.

Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant filed an

application being Civil Application No. 194 of 2007,

which   was   dismissed   by   the   High   Court   by   order

dated   23.01.2008.   Feeling   aggrieved   by   both   the

orders,   the   Bank   has filed the  present  appeals  by

way of special leave in this Court. 

8) Heard Mr. K.L. Janjani, learned counsel for the

appellant   and   Mr.   M.M.   Kashyap,   learned   counsel

for the respondent.    

9) Having   heard   the   learned   counsel   for   the

parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we

are inclined to allow the appeals and while setting

aside   the   order   of  the  Division   Bench   remand  the

case   to   the   Division   Bench   for   deciding   the   writ

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appeal   afresh   on   merits   after   affording   an

opportunity to the Bank. 

10) In our opinion, the need to remand the case to

the   Division   Bench   has   occasioned   because,   as

urged   by   the   learned   counsel   for   the   appellant

(Bank),  the  Division Bench allowed the employee’s

appeal without hearing the Bank. 

11) In other words, the appeal was heard ex parte

by   the   Division   Bench   without   hearing   the   Bank

or/and its counsel which resulted in passing of an

adverse   order   against   the   Bank   and,   in

consequence,   resulted   in   allowing   the   employee’s

writ petition by directing the Bank to give Bhagirath

Singh   the   benefit   of   regularization,   seniority   and

consequential benefits arising therefrom.

12) In our opinion, having regard to the facts and

circumstances   arising   in   the   case,   the   grounds

taken and the cause shown, the Bank was entitled

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for a hearing before the Division Bench in the writ

appeal. It was more so because the Bank eventually

suffered   adverse   order   without   hearing   them.

Substantial   justice   demands   that   a   litigant   is

entitled for a right to be heard before any order is

passed   against   him.   (See  Sangram   Singh  vs.

Election Tribunal, Kotah AIR 1955 SC 425)

13) In view of the forgoing discussion, the appeals

succeed   and   are   accordingly   allowed.   Impugned

orders   are   set  aside. The case is remanded to the

Division Bench  for deciding the writ appeal out of

which   these   appeals   arise   afresh   on   merits   in

accordance with law. Needless to say, the appellant­

Bank   would   be   entitled   to   raise   all   pleas   in   their

appeal before the High Court while prosecuting the

appeal.

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14) Since  the  matter  is quite old, we request the

High Court to decide the appeal as expeditiously as

possible preferably within six months without being

influenced   by   any   of   our   observations   because

having formed an opinion to remand the case to the

High Court, we did not consider it proper to go into

the merits of the controversy. 

 
                  

.……………………………………..J.
  [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

                                    
………………………………………..J.
    [MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR]

New Delhi;

September 24, 2018 

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Article source: Supreme Court

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