Describing the stand taken by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as “utterly vague and bereft of details”, the Delhi High Court has ordered reinstatement of two daily wagers with back wages and continuity of services.

The AIIMS authorities had dismissed the two workers, Uddal Singh and Desh Pal, from service without serving any notice on them or making any payment in lieu of that in 1992, after having kept them in continuous employment for five and four years respectively.

The Labour court had held their termination arbitrary and illegal and directed the country’s premier medical institute to reinstate them with back wages with continuation of services. After the Labour court award, Desh Pal had passed away. His heirs will now be entitled to the benefits of the award.

Plea submitted

In their pleadings, the two workers had submitted that they had worked for more than 240 continuous days in each completed year before they were terminated. Therefore, they are entitled to protection under the Industrial Disputes Act.

However, the AIIMS authorities challenged their claims and argued for submission of record of their appointment and payment of wages by them. Counsel for AIIMS argued that mere making the claim of working for more than 240 days on oath was not enough evidence.

However, Justice Jayant Nath dismissed this argument. “There is also no merit in the contention of …counsel for the petitioner that the respondents (workers) failed to discharge the onus on them to prove that they have worked for 240 days is on the respondents,” Justice Nath said while dismissing the AIIMS’ petition against the Labour court order.

“In view of the pleadings and the evidence placed on record by the respondents’ workmen, I see no merit in the submission of the petitioner. There are no reasons to interfere in the findings of the fact recorded by the Labour court. The present writ petition is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Nath said.