The Supreme Court has held that development officers working in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) cannot be put in the category of "workmen" under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act.
A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant upheld the decision of Allahabad High Court which had said that the development officers could not be treated as workmen.
"We conclude and hold that the development officers working in LIC are not ‘workmen’ under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act and accordingly we do not find any flaw in the judgment rendered by the High Court," the bench said.
The apex court was hearing an appeal by few development officers of LIC, who had challenged the decision of the high court which had overturned the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal on the ground that that the aggrieved persons were not adjudicable by the tribunal as it had no jurisdiction to entertain the dispute.
The high court had held that they could not be treated as workmen under the context of the Act and, therefore, the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to deal with the dispute.
The state-run insurance behemoth had reduced the salary of the petitioners after conducting an enquiry against them for allegedly claiming inflated incentive bonus to which they were not entitled.
Before the tribunal, the state-run insurance behemoth had contended that the proceeding before it was not maintainable as the development officers could not be put under the category of workmen under the Act.
The tribunal had declined the plea of maintainability and answered the other issues in favour of the development officers and directed restitution of pay-scale and payment of the arrears that was due to the development officers.