Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The Supreme Court has set aside the judgment of the Kerala high court in the case of Apollo Tyres Ltd. vs. CP Sebastian, and asserted that civil courts have no jurisdiction to decide labour matters. In this case, the general secretary of the trade union in the Kerala factory was promoted and transferred to a unit in West Bengal. He refused the promotion and resisted the transfer. He moved the civil court asking it to restrain the management from interfering with his right to perform legitimate trade
union activities in the Kerala unit. He also asked the court not to force him to accept any promoted post. The civil court dismissed his petition, but high court ruled that the issue could be decided by the civil court. On appeal by the company, the apex court declared that the issue was in the nature of an industrial dispute. There are many powers which the labour court or the industrial tribunal enjoys which the civil court does not enjoy, e.g. the power to enforce contracts of personal service, to create contracts, to change contracts.


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