Year 2016 has not been very different when it is viewed in terms of judicial pronouncements in employment disputes. In labour laws judicial verdicts play immense role for defining and refining the employer employee relationship. The trend of prioritizing discipline, compensation in place of reinstatement, striking fine balance between employer's right to manage the industry and employees' right to seek relief in case of violations of employment terms and regulations is continuing. Where on one side the indications are clear that indiscipline has no place in industry and employees have to change their mindset according to changing times, employers too are discouraged from exploiting the weaker section.
It seems that apex court has repeatedly been reminding lower courts/industrial tribunals to restrain from using discretion under Sec. 11A of I.D. Act while granting relief to employee in case of termination specially in case where employer punishes employee on the basis of misconduct duly proved in valid and fair enquiry. Court has upheld that power of punishment lies with disciplinary authority and his discretion should only be dishonoured by reducing the punishment when such punishment is shockingly disproportionate so as to shake the conscience of the court. This year also SC has pronounced such judgments.
Another striking pronouncement was about providing equal pay for equal work. By this judgment in State of Punjab vs. Jagjit singh, SC has delivered comprehensive guidelines to understand the principle of equal pay for equal work and its application. Court has said that temp., casual or contractual employees doing work with same quality and responsibility as of regular employees would be entitled to get equal pay. This judgment will have far reaching consequences. Industries employing maximum contractual labour with a view to save cost on wages , while paying them far less in comparison to regular employees, but doing the same and similar job , will have to think again about this mechanism. Putting contractual labour on regular work in manufacturing along with permanent employees but paying less is a mischief. Law does not permit it. Similarly placed two constituencies and paying them differently is said to be an act of oppressive, suppressive and coercive as it compels involuntary subjugation.
We have once again brought our annual collector's issue on important labour judgments. Realising the responsibility, our readers have put on us, the BM research and editorial team has gone through the thousands of pages of judicial pronouncements of various high courts and Supreme court of India in 2016 to select about 800 judgments for you, which may be useful to industry and HR people at large. With limited space, presenting the soul of judgment in one/few lines from various journals and keeping watch on every important judgment has been a daunting task.
If you like it let us know. If not, well, let us know that too.
Business Manager -HR Magazine
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