Gujarat High Court Upholds Employer’s Right to Defend in Labour Dispute

This verdict comes in the case of a Rajkot Municipal Corporation employee dismissed for repeated absences.
Gujarat High Court Upholds Employer’s Right to Defend in Labour Dispute

In a landmark judgement, the Gujarat High Court has upheld the right of an employer to be heard in a labour dispute. This verdict emerged from the case of Rajeshbhai Ramjibhai Purabiya, a sanitation worker for the Rajkot Municipal Corporation, who was dismissed due to repeated absences.


Rajeshbhai felt wronged by his dismissal, arguing that his absences were justified. He approached the Labour Court, claiming that the corporation had violated his right to fair treatment, a legal concept known as ‘natural justice’. The Labour Court agreed with Rajeshbhai, deeming the dismissal harsh and ordering his reinstatement with back pay.


However, the corporation felt unheard in the initial ruling and appealed to the Gujarat High Court. The High Court acknowledged the seriousness of Rajeshbhai’s absences but also recognized a crucial point raised by the corporation: they were not given a fair chance to defend their decision.


The corporation’s written statement, a document outlining their case, explicitly raised this concern. The High Court, upholding legal principles, agreed that every side deserves a hearing. They ruled that failing to consider the corporation’s defense violated “procedural fairness,” the legal guarantee of a proper process.


The case was sent back to the Labour Court, this time with the assurance that the corporation would get its say. They would have the opportunity to present evidence justifying Rajeshbhai’s dismissal.


This legal drama underscores two important lessons. First, employers, like the Rajkot corporation, need to follow proper procedures when taking disciplinary action. An employee’s admission of wrongdoing might not be enough to justify dismissal. Second, the fight for fairness, whether it’s about keeping a job or justifying a decision, hinges on being heard.


The story isn’t over yet. Rajeshbhai will have to wait, and the corporation will get their chance to plead their case. But one thing is clear: the right to a fair hearing is a fundamental aspect of natural justice, and it applies to both employers and employees. This case serves as a reminder of this crucial principle.

Stay tuned, to for further updates on the evolving workplace paradigm.    



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