Principles of Back wages

In Gujarat Agricultural University v. All Gujarat Kamdar Karmachari Union, (2009) 15 SCC 335, doctrine of “now ork, no pay” has been discussed in a bit detail. It was observed:
“One of the principles well known in the matters of service is that if a person has worked, he must be paid and if he has not worked, he should not be paid. This is expressed in doctrine, ‘no work, no pay’. Another oft repeated principle in service jurisprudence is that if an employer has wrongly denied an employee his due then in that case he should be given full monetary benefits.
In Shiv Nandan Mahto v. State of Bihar, (2011) 11 SCC 626, the Hon’ble Supreme court set aside the decision of the High Court denying payment of salary, on account of suspension, by observing:
“The conclusion is, therefore, obvious that the appellant could not have been denied the benefit of back wages on the ground that he has not worked for the period when he was illegally kept out of service. The appellant was entitled to be paid full back wages for the period he was kept out of service.”
In respect of principle of grant of back wages, in Chairman-Cum-M.D., Coal India Ltd. v. Ananta Saha, JT 2011 (4) SC 252, it was held:
“Even after punishment imposed upon the employee is quashed by the court or tribunal, the payment of back wages still remains discretionary. Power to grant back wages is to be exercised by the court/tribunal keeping in view the facts in their entirety as no straight-jacket formula can be evolved, nor a rule of universal application can be laid for such cases. Even if the delinquent is re-instated, it would not automatically make him entitled for back wages as entitlement to get back wages is independent of re-instatement. The factual scenario and the principles of justice, equity and good conscience have to be kept in view by an appropriate authority/court or tribunal. In such matters, the approach of the court/tribunal should not be rigid or mechanical but flexible and realistic.
Thus, while considering the question of arrears of salary, where the employee could not work for an act of employer, which is found to be illegal or unauthorized, direction for payment of full salary or arrears of salary is not automatic or mechanical but has to be considered in the light of the numerous attending circumstances and the facts of the case. Bhagwat Prasad v. State of U.P., 2014 (6) AWC 5858.

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Filed under Back Wages, Employment Law

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