V G Jagdishan vs M/s. Indofos Industries Limited

V G Jagdishan vs M/s. Indofos Industries Limited 

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.        OF 2022
(@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NO. 12511 OF 2016)
V G Jagdishan           ..Appellant (S)
Versus
M/s. Indofos Industries Limited    ..Respondent (S)
J U D G M E N T 
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with impugned judgment
and order dated 06.07.2015 passed by the High Court of
Delhi at New Delhi in Letters Patent Appeal No. 412/2015,
by which the High Court has dismissed the said appeal
preferred by the appellant herein – workman and it is held
that the Labour Court at Delhi would have no jurisdiction
to try the case and that the Labour Court at Ghaziabad
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would   have   jurisdiction   to   try   the   complaint/case,   the
workman has preferred the present appeal. 
3. The dispute in the present appeal is in a very narrow
compass. The appellant herein – workman was working as
a driver at Ghaziabad. He was employed at Ghaziabad and
was   also   working   at   Ghaziabad.   His   services   were
terminated at Ghaziabad. Subsequent to his termination,
the workman shifted to Delhi. He sent a demand notice
challenging his termination to the head office at Delhi.
Thereafter, he filed a claim before the Conciliation Officer
at Delhi. Before the Labour Court, Delhi, the Management
–   respondent   herein   raised   the   objection   about
maintainability of proceedings at Delhi. It was also pointed
out that the workman had already raised the same dispute
before the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Ghaziabad. The
Labour Commissioner, Delhi proceeded further with the
complaint/conciliation   proceedings.   The   dispute   was
referred to the Labour Court, Delhi. Before the Labour
Court,   respondent   –   management   raised   a   preliminary
objection that the Labour Court, Delhi had no territorial
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jurisdiction   since   the   workman   was   appointed   at
Ghaziabad; he was working in the factory of management –
respondent herein at Ghaziabad and his services were also
retrenched at Ghaziabad. It was the case on behalf of the
workman that as the demand notice was served at Head
Office at Delhi, it can be said that the dispute has arisen
giving   rise   to   substantial   cause   of   action   at   Delhi.
Therefore, it was the case on behalf of the workman that
the Labour Court at Delhi has territorial jurisdiction to try
the case.        
3.1 The Labour Court vide award dated 18.04.2006 held the
preliminary issue in favour of the management and held
that   the   Labour   Court   at   Delhi   has   no   territorial
jurisdiction to decide the case/complaint/reference. The
Labour   Court   held   that   merely   because   the   Corporate
Office of the management was at Delhi the same will not
vest the Labour Court, Delhi with territorial jurisdiction.
The Labour Court held that as the cause of action has
arisen at Ghaziabad, the Court at Ghaziabad alone had the
jurisdiction to try the case. 
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3.2 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the award/order
passed   by   the   Labour   Court   holding   that   the   Labour
Court, Delhi has no territorial jurisdiction to try the case,
the workman preferred the writ petition before the learned
Single Judge of the High Court. The learned Single Judge
dismissed   the   said   writ   petition   vide   order   dated
09.04.2015. The Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) against the
order   passed   by   the   learned   Single   Judge   has   been
dismissed by the Division Bench of the High Court by the
impugned judgment and order. Hence, the workman has
preferred the present appeal.    
4. Ms.   V.   Mohana,   learned   Senior   Advocate   appearing   on
behalf of the appellant herein – workman has vehemently
submitted that in the present case it cannot be said that
there is a total lack of jurisdiction in the Labour Court,
Delhi. It is submitted that as the Head Office, where the
demand notice was sent was at Delhi and the demand
notice   was   served   from   Delhi   where   the   workman   was
staying after the termination, it can be said that a part
cause of action has arisen in Delhi. It is submitted that
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when a part of the cause of action has arisen in Delhi, the
Court at Delhi would have territorial jurisdiction. Reliance
is placed on the decisions of this Court in the cases of
Nandram  Vs.  Garware  Polyster  Limited;   (2016)  6  SCC
290, Bikash Bhushan Ghosh and Ors. Vs. Novartis India
Ltd.   and   Anr;   (2007)   5   SCC   591   and   Singareni
Collieries  Co.  Ltd.  Vs.  Ande  Lingaiah  and  Anr;   (2000)
10 SCC 294.     
4.1 It is further submitted by Ms. V. Mohana, learned Senior
Advocate appearing on behalf of the appellant that in the
present   case,   the   Labour   Court   had   decided   the
preliminary issue and held that the Labour Court, Delhi
has no territorial jurisdiction to decide the case.   It is
submitted   that   Labour   Court   ought   to   have   given   its
decision   on   all   issues.     Reliance   is   placed   upon   the
decision of this Court in the case of D.P. Maheshwari Vs.
Delhi Administration and Ors.; (1983) 4 SCC 293.   It is
submitted that as held by this honourable Court, tribunals
should dispose of all the issues, whether preliminary or
otherwise, at the same time.
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4.2 Making the above submissions and relying upon above
decisions of this Court, it is prayed to quash and set aside
the order(s) passed by the Labour Court, learned Single
Judge and the Division Bench of the High Court and direct
the Labour Court, Delhi to decide and dispose of the case
at the earliest.  
5. As per the office report, service is not complete on sole
respondent  No.  1  and  as  per  the  post  tracking  report,
notice has not been delivered to respondent No. 1 with
postal remarks as “Addressee left without instructions”.
However, the present Special Leave Petition (SLP) is of the
year 2016 and for the reasons hereinbelow, we see no
reasons to interfere with the order passed by the High
Court. We proceed further with the SLP ex­parte so far as
sole respondent No. 1 is concerned.      
6. The question which is posed for the consideration of this
Court is, whether, the Labour Court, Delhi would have
territorial jurisdiction to decide the case or the Labour
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Court,   Ghaziabad   would   have   territorial   jurisdiction   to
decide the case.  
6.1 From the findings recorded by the Labour Court, Delhi and
the learned Single Judge and the Division Bench of the
High Court, it is not much in dispute that the workman
was  employed as a  driver at  Ghaziabad  office.  He  was
working at the Ghaziabad. His services were retrenched at
Ghaziabad.   All   throughout   during   the   employment,   the
workman stayed and worked at Ghaziabad. Only after the
retrenchment/termination the workman shifted to Delhi
from where he served a demand notice at Head Office of
the   Management  situated  at   Delhi.  Merely   because   the
workman after termination/retrenchment shifted to Delhi
and sent a demand notice from Delhi and the Head Office
of the Management was at Delhi, it cannot be said that a
part cause of action has arisen at Delhi. Considering the
facts that the workman was employed at Ghaziabad; was
working at Ghaziabad and his services were terminated at
Ghaziabad,   the   facts   being   undisputed,   only   the
Ghaziabad   Court   would   have   territorial   jurisdiction   to
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decide the case. As such the issue involved in the present
case is no longer res integra in view of the decision of this
Court in the case of Eastern Coalfields Ltd. and Ors. Vs.
Kalyan   Banerjee;   (2008)   3   SCC   456.   In   the   case   of
Eastern   Coalfields   Ltd.  (supra)   the   workman   was
employed   in   Mugma   area   in   the   district   of   Dhanbad,
Jharkhand.   His   services   were   terminated   at   Mugma.
However,   the   workman   filed   a   writ   petition   before   the
Calcutta High Court. On a preliminary objection taken the
Calcutta  High  Court held  that  since the  workman  was
serving at Mugma area under the General Manager of the
area which is the State of Jharkhand, the Calcutta High
Court had no jurisdiction. Affirming the aforesaid decision,
this Court held that the entire cause of action arose in
Mugma   area   within   the   State   of   Jharkhand   and   only
because the head office of the company was situated in the
State of West Bengal, the same by itself will not confer any
jurisdiction   upon   the   Calcutta   High   Court   particularly
when the head office had nothing to do with the order of
punishment passed against the workman. In the present
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case also, the workman was employed at Ghaziabad; he
was   working   at   Ghaziabad   and   his   services   were   also
terminated at Ghaziabad by the office at Ghaziabad where
he was employed. 
6.2 Now, so far as the reliance placed upon the decision of this
Court in the case of Singareni Collieries Co. Ltd. (supra)
is concerned, apart from the fact that the same is not
applicable to the facts of the case on hand, it is required to
be noted that the order passed by this Court in the said
case was a consent order and the order was passed in
exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution of
India and the question of law was left open. Therefore, no
reliance can have been placed on the said decision. 
6.3 Now, as far as the decision of this Court in the case of
Bikash Bhushan Ghosh (supra) is concerned, on facts, the
said decision also is not applicable to the facts of the case
on hand. That was a case where it was specifically found
that the part cause of action had arisen at both places. In
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the present case as observed, it cannot be said that any
part cause of action has arisen at Delhi. 
6.4 Reliance placed upon the decision of this Court in the case
of  Nandram  (supra)   is   also   of   no   assistance   to   the
appellant.   Again,   on   facts,   the   said   decision   is   not
applicable to the facts of the case on hand. That was also a
case where it was found that part cause of action had
arisen   in   both   the   places,   namely,   Pondicherry   and
Aurangabad. Therefore, it was found on facts that both,
the Labour Courts at Pondicherry and Aurangabad had the
jurisdiction   to   deal   with   the   matter   and   therefore,   the
Labour   Court   at   Aurangabad   was   well   within   its
jurisdiction to consider the complaint.
6.5 In the case of  D.P.  Maheshwari  (supra) is pressed into
service by learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of
the appellant in support of the submission that the Labour
Court   ought   not   to   have   given   the   decision   only   on
preliminary issue and ought to have disposed of all the
issues, whether preliminary or otherwise at the same time.
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On facts the said decision is not applicable to the facts of
the case on hand. In the aforesaid decision no absolute
proposition of law was laid down by this Court that even
the issue touching the jurisdiction of the court cannot be
decided by the court as a preliminary issue and the court
has to dispose of all the issues, whether preliminary or
otherwise, at the same time. When the issue touches the
question of territorial jurisdiction, as far as possible the
same shall have to be decided first as preliminary issue.
Therefore, in the present case, the Labour Court did not
commit any error in deciding the issue with respect to the
territorial jurisdiction as a preliminary issue in the first
instance.          
7. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the
present Appeal fails and the same deserves to be dismissed
and   is   accordingly   dismissed.   In   the   facts   and
circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to
costs. 
…………………………………J.
                (M. R. SHAH)
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…………………………………J.
 (B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
April 19, 2022.
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