Lawfully Yours: By Retd Justice Chandru

Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court Do you have a question? Email us at
Lawfully Yours: By Retd Justice Chandru

CHENNAI: During fresh recruitment, retrenched staff entitled to re-employment notice

Q: I was among some 20 people retrenched by my company during a mass layoff attributed to market setbacks two years ago. We were not given any compensation at the time and we did not question the decision as an impression was created that we would be taken back once the company’s finances improve. Now, we learn the company is recruiting new staff overlooking our claims.

— Venkatesh, Guindy

A: If your company had more than 100 workers, then the government’s prior permission for either laying off or retrenching workers will be required as per Section 25M and 25N of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. If permission is sought for and denied or refused by the government, the workers are deemed to be in employment with full wages.

However, even if the industrial establishment has less than 100 workers, for retrenching any employee under Section 25F, a month’s notice/wages and retrenchment compensation at the rate of 15 days’ salary for every completed year of service must be paid before the retrenchment. Otherwise, the action of the employer will be invalid. I presume your employer must have followed the procedure for retrenching the workers. In such a case, when the employer goes for fresh recruitment, all the retrenched Indian workers are entitled to notice for re-employment under Section 25H of the ID Act. If not, you can raise an industrial dispute before the Government Labour Officer and on obtaining a failure of conciliation report, can move the labour court, which will determine your legal right.

Prosecution’s duty to prove case beyond reasonable doubt

Q: After 10 years, all accused tried for the death of a six-year-old girl who slipped through a hole on the floor of her school bus and got run over have been acquitted of all charges by a sessions court in Chengalpattu. It’s the miserable failure of the prosecution that led to the court setback. Since this is the new norm, is there an option for a third party to expose the abuse of powers by police?

— Geethu Anjali, Ambattur

A: After the death of the child to which you have made reference, the state government had come down heavily upon all private school managements and instructed the transport authorities to conduct a full inspection before giving FC (Fitness Certificate). All the buses carrying the students are to be given yellow paint for easy identification on roads. Therefore, some development had taken place after the incident. However, so far as the acquittal of the accused is concerned, the negligence of all concerned must be proved. We do not know the exact facts that led to the acquittal. That depends on the solid evidence because in a criminal case, it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. More often, we find that the transport authorities give certification for collateral consideration and perhaps the management would have had one such FC for their vehicle which had a hole in the floor.

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