Supreme Court Judgement on GDS Case – Diary No. 41829 of 2018

Supreme Court of India

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.3150 OF 2019
(Arising out of SLP (Civil) 7627 of 2019)

Diary No. 41829 of 2018

Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices …Appellant

Versus

Gursewak Singh & Ors. …Respondents

WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3151 OF 2019
(Arising out of SLP (Civil)No. 7628 of 2019)

Diary No. 41825 of 2018

Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices …Appellant
Versus
Smt. Swam Kanta …Respondents

JUDGMENT
INDU MALHOTRA, J.

1. Leave granted in both the special leave petitions.

2. A common question of law arises in both the appeals which are being disposed of by a common judgment. The facts in Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices v. Gursewak Singh & Ors. are being considered as the lead case.

3. The present Civil Appeal has been filed against the Order dated 01.12.2017 passed by a Division Bench of the Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh in LPA No. 1612 of 2017.

4. The factual matrix of the case, briefly stated, is as under:

4.1. On 26.06.1991, Respondent No. 1 was engaged as a Gramin Dak Sewak i.e. an Extra-Departmental Agent, to work on a parttime basis in the Postal Department at Faridkot, Punjab.

4.2. In 2014, Respondent No. 1 voluntarily resigned from the said parttime job. On 28.08.2014, the Department accepted the resignation, and Respondent No. 1 was discharged with immediate effect.

4.3. Respondent No. 1 approached the Controlling AuthoritycumAssistant Labour Commissioner, Central Jalandhar, seeking gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (herein after referred to as “the 1972 Act”).

4.4. The Appellant – Department took the stand that Respondent No. 1 was not entitled to exgratia
gratuity under the Gramin Dak Sewak (Conduct & Engagement) Rules, 2011 as he had voluntarily resigned from the job. The Controlling AuthoritycumAssistant Labour Commissioner, Central Jalandhar, vide Order dated 21.09.2015, allowed the claim of Respondent No. 1 and directed the Department to pay an amount of Rs. 1,06,021/along with Interest @ 10% p.a. from 28.08.2014.

4.5. The Department filed an Appeal u/S. 7(7) of the 1972 Act, against the Order dated 21.09.2015 before the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) Kendriya Sadan, Chandigarh.

The Appellate Authority vide Order dated 17.05.2016 dismissed the Appeal filed by the Appellant – Department, and upheld the Order dated 21.09.2015 passed by the Controlling Authority cum Assistant Labour Commissioner, Central Jalandhar.

4.6. The Department filed C.W.P. No. 11412 of 2017 before the Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh under Article 226/227 of the Constitution against the Order dated 17.05.2016.

The learned Single Judge vide Oder dated 23.05.2017 dismissed the Writ Petition filed by the Department relying upon earlier judgments passed by the same High Court in Senior Superintendent of Post Officers, Jalandhar Division, Jalandhar v. Darshan Ram (through LRs) & Ors.1 and Senior Superintendent of Post Officers v. Smt. Sham Duiari & Ors.2

4.7. The Department challenged the Order dated 23.05.2017 passed by the Single Judge by way of LPA No. 1612 of 2017 before the Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh.

The division bench of the Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on 01.12.2017, dismissed the LPA filed by the Department on the ground that SLPs filed against the earlier judgments had been dismissed by this Court. As a consequence, the judgment of the learned Single Judge did not warrant interference.

4.8. The Department has filed the present Appeal to challenge the Judgment and Order dated 01.12.2017 passed by a division bench of the High Court.

5. We have heard the learned ASG Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee for the Appellant – Department. Mr. Bharat Sangal, Advocate was appointed as Amicus Curiae vide Order dt. 10.12.2018 to represent the interest of the Respondents who did not appear, despite service being effected on them. We have perused the pleadings and written submissions filed by both parties.

6. The issues which arise for consideration are as follows:

6.1. Whether a Gramin Dak Sewak is an ‘employee’ as per Section 2(e) of the 1972 Act, and is entitled to payment of Gratuity under this Act?

6.2. Whether a Gramin Dak Sewak is eligible for payment of Gratuity under the 2011 Rules upon voluntary resignation?

Continue to Read the Judgement –  Click here

Follow us in Facebook

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here