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Since 1st March, 1999
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What’s in a name

An industrial relations executive who was terminated, challenged the order in a labour court, contending at the same time that no “retrenchment compensation” payable to a workman had been paid to him. When the case reached the Supreme Court, it rejected the contention that he was a “workman”, taking into consideration that his salary was much higher than that of workmen and his duties were managerial in nature. The apex court held that while determining as to whether a person is a “workman”, the court has to decide the matter factually and not on the basis of nomenclature (C. Gupta vs Glaxo Smithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd).

Relative evidence

A man accused of murder challenged the order of conviction in the Supreme Court. One of the grounds was that the evidence of the two witnesses — on the basis of which he was convicted — could not be held credible and cogent as they were related to the murder victim. The deceased person had made a dying declaration in the presence of one, while the other was an eye witness to the incident. The Supreme Court held that the evidence of witnesses related to the victim could not be discarded as untruthful or lacking in credibility unless it was specifically proved that it was their intention to shield the real culprits (Lala Ram vs State of Rajasthan).

Payback time

A man won a decree in a case ordering the person who owed him money to pay up a specific amount. When the debtor did not do so, the petitioner filed an execution petition seeking arrest and detention of judgment debtor in civil prison until he paid up. The principal junior civil judge dismissed the petition. The man then appealed to the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which upheld the order of the lower court. It held that the decree holder had failed to establish that the debtor had the means to pay him the money. Relying on earlier Supreme Court decisions, the court held that detention in civil prison could not be ordered unless it was established that the debtor had the means to pay but was still not paying up (Gubbala Rama Rao vs Kopanathi Suryanarayan).


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