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The employer has a right to choose who should work where - including right to transfer an employee; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice L. Nageswara Rao

The SC holds that the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court is, inter alia, to decide complaints relating to unfair labour practices except unfair labour practices falling under Item 1 of Schedule IV. The unfair labour practices mentioned in Item 1 of Schedule IV fall within the jurisdiction of the Labour Court (See Section 7). In view of the specific provision that the complaint relating to unfair labour practices described in Item 1 of Schedule IV fall within the jurisdiction of the Labour Court, therefore, the Industrial Court will not have jurisdiction to examine the question of termination as a consequence of the order of transfer.

It was held that since the statute creates a forum for redressal of grievances in respect of termination of services, it is the said forum alone which can be invoked for redressal of grievances. The jurisdiction of a forum can be invoked only in accordance with the statutory provisions. Therefore, alleging termination as a consequence of non-joining on the transferred post will not confer jurisdiction on the Industrial Court. The dispute regarding termination as act of victimization falls exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Labour Court. Consequently, it was held that the appellant has not made out any case for interference against an order passed by the High Court in the present appeal. Therefore, the Labour Court alone was competent to decide the issue of alleged un-lawful termination of the appellant.

It was further held that Malice in law would be something which is done without lawful excuse or an act done wrongfully and willfully without reasonable or probable cause. There is power of transfer in the letter of appointment. In present case, the appellant has stayed at Sagar for almost 20 years. If an employee is transferred after 20 years and that to the place of headquarters of a company, it cannot be said that the act of transfer was done without lawful excuse. No inference can be drawn that an act was done from ill feeling or spite.

The SC { RAJNEESH KHAJURIA v. M/S. WOCKHARDT LTD. & ANR.} in present case was dealing with the issue i.e. whether  the employer can decide who should work at particular place and who was to be transferred to another place in the interest of establishment. Answering in affirmative, the appeal was dismissed by the SC.

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