Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday dismissed an application filed by the Madras Race club to reject the civil suit filed by its 164 employees who were not allowed to rejoin duty, holding that they are well within their rights in approaching the court.
The court rejected the contention of MRC Club that it is not the appropriate forum for the workers to approach and they have to canvass their rights only through the Labour Court.
“The MRC has not come up with any assertion as to whether the master and servant relationship is served or not,” Justice V Ramasubramanyan said.
The judge said MRC in its affidavit made only two submissions that the 164 workers have deliberately absented themselves from attending work without any reason from August 2012 and another one was that most of them are casual labourers who cannot claim themselves as workmen as they have not worked required days in a year.
Upholding the legal right of the workers to file the civil suit, the judge said, “Even if the Labour Court rules are in favour of the workers it will at most order wages for their strike period of four months.”
The 164 workers were employed as workmen in MRC which is incorporated as a company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. MRC terminated the services of 110 security personnel during the period from July 29 to August 9, 2012. Protesting the termination, the unregistered workers union called for a strike from August 30 demanding reinstatement of the personnel.
Conciliation proceedings initiated by the Deputy Commissioner of Labour failed and the workmen decided to return to duty on December 17. But the management prevented them from joining duty, following which the workers filed a civil suit.