Reinstated staff can’t have back wages: SC

‘Should prove no job post-dismissal’
An employee has no right to back wages merely because the court has set aside his dismissal and returned his old job, the Supreme Court held in a judgment. “A workman has no right to claim back wages from his employer as of right only because the court has set aside his dismissal order in his favour and directed his reinstatement in service,” a Bench of Justices A.M. Sapre and U.U. Lalit held in a judgment pronounced on Thursday.
No gainful employment
Justice Sapre, for the Bench, held that it was necessary for the workman in such cases to plead and prove with the aid of evidence that after his dismissal from the service, he was not gainfully employed anywhere and had no earning to maintain himself or his family. “The employer is also entitled to prove that the employee was gainfully employed during the relevant period and hence not entitled to claim any back wages. The court can deny back wages in its entirety or award it partially depending on the facts of each case.” The court laid down the law while pronouncing judgment in the case of Phool Chand, who is now represented by his legal representatives, against the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation.
Departmental inquiry
Chand, a driver, was dismissed from service after holding a departmental inquiry on the ground of dereliction of duties. Both the labour court and the Rajasthan High Court set aside the driver’s dismissal and directed the Corporation to pay him or his legal representatives full back wages. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation had first appealed to the Supreme Court seeking its direction.
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