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Employer obliged to pay gratuity, should not wait for workers demand
January, 10th 2008
Under Gratuity Act, a terminal benefit was given to workman and contingency for such payment arises immediately on resignation, or retirement or death of such workman, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has ruled.

The law imposed an obligation on employers to pay gratuity and they need not wait for workmen to seek such payment.

In the present case, a driver (A. Pandiarajan) in Madurai Divn I of TN State Transport Corporation was dismissed from service from April 3, 2001 as he was charged with rash and negligent driving.

Petitioners contention

When he moved the authorities seeking gratuity, the Corporation (who is the petitioner) contended that because of loss caused by him due to rash and negligent driving, which amounted to Rs 2 lakh, there was no liability to pay gratuity to him. Also, it was contended that the driver had not furnished his correct wage particulars.

The appellate authority (Joint Commissioner of Labour, Madurai), rejected the Corporations appeal dated April 19, 2006 challenging the order of Assistant Commissioner of Labour.

Plea rejected

Mr Justice K. Chandru, who heard the petition, held that the controlling authority had rightly rejected the Corporations contention. The petitioner did not dispute the details furnished by the employee in Form I, and this Court found no illegality or perversity in the findings of controlling authority.

Court stance

The Corporation, the Judge said, neither passed any order regarding payment of gratuity, nor deprived gratuity payable to the employee on account of alleged loss caused due to accident.

When it had not discharged its obligation, it was not open to the petitioner now to say that the worker should have produced details to prove his wages.

The authorities had recorded a finding of fact with reference to the quantum of wages against the Corporations contention. The petitioner having miserably failed to prove the exact wage of employee could not find fault with the employees attempt to prove the same. The writ petition was dismissed.

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