Industrial Dispute – Principle of Res Judicata

The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code are not applicable to Industrial Disputes Act. It does not mean that the principle of res judicata will not be applicable to cases involving industrial dispute. On the principle of res judicata, the Apex Court in the case of Bharat Barrel and Drum Manufcaturing Company Pvt. Ltd. v. Bharat Barrel Employees Union, (1987) 2 SCC 591 has held that a question which is once decided can never be re-agitated and the exceptions are classes of cases like disputes regarding wage structure, service conditions etc. which arise as circumstances change and new situations arise which may not be barred by the rule of res judicata. The principle object of the Labour Legislation is to bring a quietus to the dispute. The question as to whether a person was or was not an employee of the Management on the particular date is one which cannot be re-agitated in a subsequent case, if it has already been decided by the Industrial Tribunal of competent jurisdiction in an earlier case. Rajiv Gandhi ONGC (CON) Workers Welfare Association v. Government of India, 2016 (150) FLR 499.

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