Delhi HC Refuses To Provide Relief To Retrenched PTI Employees, Says Avail Remedy Under Industrial Disputes Act [Read Judgment]

first_imgNews UpdatesDelhi HC Refuses To Provide Relief To Retrenched PTI Employees, Says Avail Remedy Under Industrial Disputes Act [Read Judgment] Karan Tripathi24 Sep 2020 8:45 AMShare This – xDelhi High Court has refused to quash the retrenchment order passed against 297 employees of the Press Trust of India by noting that the employees should rather seek statutory relief under the Industrial Disputes Act. The Single Bench of Justice JR Midha noted that the retrenched PTI Employees failed to show any ‘exceptional circumstances’ in the petition in order to warrant exercise…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginDelhi High Court has refused to quash the retrenchment order passed against 297 employees of the Press Trust of India by noting that the employees should rather seek statutory relief under the Industrial Disputes Act. The Single Bench of Justice JR Midha noted that the retrenched PTI Employees failed to show any ‘exceptional circumstances’ in the petition in order to warrant exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction of a writ court under Article 226 of the Constitution. The order has come in a bunch of writ petitions filed by the PTI Employees Union and the Federation of PTI Employees Union challenging the retrenchment of 297 employees by Press Trust of India on 29th September, 2018. Apart from quashing of the retrenchment order, the Petitioners had also asked for the reinstatement of all the 297 employees. Arguments Advanced By The Petitioners The Petitioners argued that the present writ is maintainable as PTI satisfies the public function test. It was further argued that the retrenched employees are ‘workmen’ within the meaning of Section 2(s) of Industrial Disputes Act, and PTI is a ‘factory’ within the meaning of Section 2(m) of the Factories Act, as PTI engages in ‘manufacturing process’ of news, articles, publications, photographs etc. within the meaning of Section 2(k)(i) & Section 2(k)(iv) of the Factories Act, 1948. While arguing that the principle of ‘last come first to go’ was not followed, the Petitioners highlighted that the senior and permanent employees were retrenched while the contractual employees were retained. It was also contended that the retrenchment is violative of Section 25-N of Industrial Disputes Act as three months notice/three months wages in lieu of notice has not been given. ‘the retrenchment is violative of Section 16A of the Working Journalists Act, 1955 as the reason for retrenchment was the liability for payment of wages and mandating promotional grades as per Clause 18(f) of Majithia Award’, the Petitioners argued. Arguments Advanced By The Respondents At the outset, the Respondents argued that the PTI can’t be seen as a factory, or it doesn’t qualify under the Factories Act, as it is a news agency. According to the respondent, there was no work for the retrenched employees for a long period and they were continued despite there being no work due to which PTI was suffering operational losses. The Respondents further argued that the communication addressed to each individual employee gave the reasons for the retrenchment. The retrenchment letters were uploaded on the website and were pasted at the prominent places of each office of the respondent, and each retrenchment letter had details of payment of notice pay and retrenchment compensation with the basis of calculation. While refusing to provide relief to the Petitioners under the writ jurisdiction, the court said: ‘The retrenched employees have a statutory remedy to raise an industrial dispute under the Industrial Disputes Act. The petitioners have based their claims on the alleged violation of the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. There are no exceptional circumstances for exercise of the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution in these writ petitions.’ While highlighting that complex matters involving retrenchment that doesn’t show exceptional circumstances shall be adjudicated before an Industrial Tribunal, the court observed that the Petitioners have failed to show the authority to file the writ petition on behalf of 297 retrenched employees either in the writ petition or the documents filed along with the writ petition as on the date of filing of these writ petitions.Click Here To Download Judgment[Read Judgment] Next Storylast_img read more