Q: I am a government employee. I was dismissed from service a few years ago but after a prolonged court case, the high court declared that the order of dismissal was illegal and void. The court gave no other direction. I was advised that the 'normal consequences' would follow and as such, no further direction was necessary. But till date, though I have repeatedly asked for payment of compensation for the period of dismissal, I have not been paid. In such a situation, what amount of money am I entitled to claim and how can I recover my dues effectively'
A: Since the order of dismissal passed by your employer has been declared void by the high court, it means that in law, the said order is deemed to have never existed. You would thus be entitled to full arrear salary (subject to adjustment for sums already received by you, if any) for the period from the date of dismissal to the date of reinstatement, as though you had actually rendered service during that period. Though usually the remedy would be to file a money suit against your employer to recover your dues. You have an enforceable right to recover these dues by way of filing a writ petition. Whichever course you choose, your suit or writ petition must be filed within three years of the court order setting aside the order of dismissal.
Q: I was employed as a sales officer of a reputed company. Suddenly the company terminated my services without any reason. I have challenged the decision at the Labour Tribunal, Orissa. The company is taking the plea that I am not a workman. Is the company justified'
A: Whether or not a 'sales officer' comes within the purview of a workman under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 has to be determined by the tribunal. Section 2 (d) of the said Act defines a workman as any person employed in any industry to do manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward whether the terms of employment be express or implied. Persons who are employed in mainly administrative capacity are specifically excluded under the said section. The expression 'officer' is not defined in the Act.
Although normally the word officer connotes a certain degree of authority involving administrative functions, it is not the nomenclature of your post but the actual nature of the work that will determine the applicability of the Act in your case. It is not surprising that the company has adopted such a defence because it is apparent that they have no case on merits as termination without reasons seems prima facie illegal. If the company succeeds you always have a remedy for wrongful dismissal and damages before a civil court.
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