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PRINCIPLE OF RES JUDICATA (UNDER SECTION 11, CPC) APPLICABLE ON LABOUR/INDUSTRIAL PROCEEDINGS: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 12 Apr 2019 10:20am

PRINCIPLE OF RES JUDICATA (UNDER SECTION 11, CPC) APPLICABLE ON LABOUR/INDUSTRIAL PROCEEDINGS: Supreme Court

The Kerala Government had made the following reference to a Labour Court in the year 2004:

Whether the action of the management of FACT, Ltd. Udyogamandal in having reduced the age of superannuation of pre 1978 workers from 60 years to 58 years is justifiable or not?

The Court answered this question by holding that it has already been dealt with by the High Court as well as Supreme Court. Also, it has been finalized as the Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petitions. The principle of Res Judicata has also been barred.

The Trade unions approached the High Court and the Court held that this reference made by the State to the Labour Court was not barred by res judicata. 30% of the wages payable, was the amount awarded to them and not the relief of reinstatement in service. The Division bench of High Court had upheld this decision.

The Court marked that the Kerala High Court had adjudicated the issue relating to reduction of age from 60 to 58 years which was raised by the Trade Unions/ in the first round of litigation by filing the original petitions before the High Court. Thus, the State was barred from exercising any jurisdiction to make a reference to the Labour Court under Section 10 of the ID Act to reexamine the question of age reduction made by the PSU. Allowing the appeal the bench said:

"In our opinion, no judicial forum at the instance of any party to the Lis had jurisdiction to try these issues again on its merits. It was barred for being tried again by virtue of principles of res judicata contained in Section 11 of the Code, which has also application to the labour/industrial proceedings." 
Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra made reference to three previous judgments of the Apex Court itself and held that the principle of res judicata applies to the labour proceedings or not, remains no more res integra. 



Tagged: Supreme Court   Res Judicata   Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre   Justice Indu Malhotra   Labour Court  
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