Development officers working in LIC are not workmen under Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: SC

Mar 16, 2015 15:15 IST

The Supreme Court (SC) on 15 March 2015 upheld the decision of Allahabad High Court (HC) that the development officers working in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) are not workmen under the Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947.

The decision was given by a SC bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said that there was no flaw in the judgment rendered by the Allahabad HC.
The SC bench gave the ruling while hearing an appeal by few development officers of LIC, who had challenged the decision of Allahabad HC.

About the case

The case relates to the reduction of salary of the development officers by the LIC. It reduced the salary after it found that they were allegedly claiming inflated incentive bonus to which they were not entitled.

This was challenged by few development officers in the Industrial Tribunals-cum-Labour Courts (ITLCs). Before the ITLC, LIC contended that the proceeding before it was not maintainable as the development officers could not be put under the category of workmen under Section 2(s) of the IDA, 1947.

However, the tribunal declined the plea of maintainability and answered the other issues in favour of the development officers and directed the LIC for restitution of pay-scale and payment of the arrears that was due to the development officers.

This was challenged by the LIC in the Allahabad HC which overturned the award passed by the Industrial Tribunal on the ground that the development officers could not be treated as workmen under the IDA, 1947 and, hence, the ITLCs had no jurisdiction to deal with the dispute.

About Section 2(s) of the IDA, 1947

Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947 provides for definition of the workman. According to this, a workman means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward.

It does not include such persons

(i) who is subject to the Air Force Act, 1950 or the Army Act, 1950 or the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957)

(ii) who is employed in the police service or as an officer or other employee of a prison; or

(iii) who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity; or

(iv) who, being employed in a supervisory capacity, draws  wages exceeding 1600 rupees per mensem or exercises, functions mainly of a managerial nature.

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