“Casual labourers are not entitled to privileges that are available to permanent staff before termination”

The Madras High Court has said that a casual labourer is not entitled to privileges that are available to permanent employees before termination of service such as issuance of notice and holding of enquiry.

Justice M. Venugopal gave the interpretation while disposing of a writ petition filed by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Chennai, which sought the quashing of an order passed by a labour court.

The Principal Labour Court, Chennai, had directed the MTC to reinstate V. Ganesan, a casual labour conductor, who was disallowed to join duty as he remained absent without obtaining any permission.

The labour court opined that he was terminated from service without framing of charges and holding any enquiry. Aggrieved by the order, the MTC filed the writ petition.

The MTC contended that Ganesan was only a casual employee and had not reported for duty from June 2001 without any notice to the Corporation. As it was construed that he had no inclination to serve in MTC, the management merely disallowed him from joining duty.

M. Chidambaram, counsel for MTC, contended that the procedure of issuance of notice and the conduct of enquiry contemplated in the Industrial Disputes Act were applicable only to permanent employees.

Concurring with his contention, Mr. Justice Venugopal set aside the labour court’s order, holding that “it suffers from legal infirmities.”

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