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Apex court declines IPCL plea on voluntary retirement

Apex court declines IPCL plea on voluntary retirement

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined the plea of IPCL, now merged with Reliance Industries Ltd, to stay a high court order that directed it to move the labour court on a dispute with its employees on the voluntary retirement scheme.

On 23 August 2010, the Gujarat high court order had referred the dispute between workers of the RIL group firm over Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) to labour court and industrial tribunal.

A bench comprising justices Markandey Katju and T.S. Thakur declined the plea of IPCL to stay and maintain status quo of the high court’s order till 25 October.

“Its a perfect order. There is nothing wrong in it," the bench said while declining IPCL’s plea.

The apex court is scheduled to hear IPCL’s main petition challenging the high court order on 25 October.

IPCL, earlier a PSU, was transferred to RIL, which after taking over the management came out with a VSS on 6 March 2007.

The applications were to be filed on 20 March 2007 and about 2,400 employees chose to apply for VSS in the last two days.

However, on late evening of the last day, alleging pressure tactics adopted by the management, many of workers submitted applications recalling their VSS request.

The withdrawal applications were filed on 21 March, before the actual cessation of services.

However, the management retired the workers and the company transferred their dues to their accounts.

The move was challenged before the labour commissioner, who declined to entertain the plea on the ground that after opting for VSS, they was no relationship of employer and employee with the RIL group firm.

Workers then moved the high court, and a division bench set aside the orders and remitted the matter to labour court.

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