New Delhi, Feb 19: It is for a non-regular employee to prove that he has continuously worked for 240 days in a year to seek regularisation and avert an arbitrary termination, the Supreme Court has said.
Quashing an order for reinstatement of a worker passed by the industrial tribunal, a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam rejected the reasonings of the Rajasthan High Court and the industrial tribunal that the burden of producing the proof rested with the employer to prove a non-regular employee's tenure.
Under section 25-F of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947, a workman is entitled to regularisation and cannot be sacked arbitrarily, if he/she had completed 240 days of service in a calender year.
The bench cited a number of earlier rulings of the apex court wherein it was held that the initial burden to prove having worked for 240 days rested with the employee.
The apex court passed the ruling while upholding an appeal filed by public sector telecom company BSNL challenging the reinstatement order passed by the tribunal in the case of an employee Mahesh Chand.
The tribunal after arriving at the conclusion that Mahesh Chand had worked for five hours a day over a 240 days of period for his entitlement to regularisation, a view affirmed by the High Court.
However, in the appeal, the apex court noted that Mahesh Chand was only working for two to three hours and was not in possession of any documents to prove his claim for entitlement to regularisation.
Moreover, on the basis of the material produced by BSNL it was evident that Mahesh Chand had even deputed his wife and mother to work on his behalf, the bench observed while quashing the order of reinstatement passed by the industrial tribunal.