Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has confirmed an award passed by a Labour Court to reinstate, with back wages, 18 Nominal Muster Roll (NMR) workmen terminated from service by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board in 1990.

Dismissing a batch of writ petitions filed by the TWAD Board, Justice K. Chandru said it could not keep the workmen “eternally” on NMR and deprive them of benefits under the statutory service conditions.

“The very object of the Tamil Nadu Act 4 of the 1971, by which the TWAD Board was formed, was to conceive, execute and maintain water supply schemes. Therefore, it cannot run away from reality by saying that on closure of one scheme, the workers will be left high and dry and sent out, and with the start of another scheme some new labour force will be recruited,” the Judge observed.

Recruited in 1987

The workmen were engaged as watchmen, cleaners, electricians, fitters and so on through the employment exchange in 1987. Then it had been stated that the workmen were engaged on NMR basis on daily wages and that their appointment was for a period of 90 days to execute the water supply scheme for the Dindigul municipality. The work was completed in 1989, but the municipality did not take over the maintenance of the scheme. Hence, the TWAD Board retained the workmen until the scheme was taken over by the municipality on December 14, 1990.