The respondent workman was subjected to departmental enquiry and on conclusion of the departmental enquiry, his services were terminated. The termination was the subject matter of the approval application before the Industrial Tribunal under Section 33(2)(b) of the Industrial Disputes, Act, 1947. In the said proceedings, the management was permitted to lead the evidence and prove the charge/misconduct before the Industrial Tribunal. The parties led the evidence, both oral and documentary.
The Industrial Tribunal passed an order approving the order of termination of employment of the workman. Thereafter the case of the workman against his termination was referred by the government to the labour court for adjudication. The labour court set aside the order of termination of employment, which was confirmed by the High Court. The High Court order was challenged by the employer before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that when the order of termination was approved by the Industrial Tribunal, a fresh reference under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act challenging the order of termination was not permissible. Further, the order of the Industrial Tribunal is binding on the labour court as Industrial Tribunal is a higher forum compared to the labour court.