Bharat Forge Co Ltd v Uttam Manohar Nakate

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Bharat Forge Co Ltd v Nakate
Court Supreme Court
Citation(s) [2005] INSC 45
Keywords
Labour, dismissal

Bharat Forge Co Ltd v Uttam Manohar Nakate [2005] INSC 45 is an Indian labour law case concerning the dismissal of a worker who was found to be asleep in 1983. After 22 years, the Supreme Court of India upheld his dismissal.[1]

Facts[edit]

Uttam was a helper in Bharat Forge.[2] He was found lying fast asleep on an iron plate in the corner of the department at 11:40 a.m. on 26 August 1983.[3] This was the fourth time this had happened,[3] After five-month-long disciplinary hearings, the company fired him in January 1984.[4] Uttam went to court, which found the company guilty of "unfair trade practice" and forced the factory to take Uttam back and pay him 50 percent of his lost wages.[4] The case was appealed to the Bombay High Court and eventually to the national Supreme Court of India, reported as AIR 2005 SC 947.

Judgment[edit]

In 2005 the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the company had the right to fire him.[4]

Significance[edit]

Nakate's case is often used as an example of the problems with Indian labour law system of requiring government approval before dismissals can take effect.[1][2][4]

Aside from highlighting the problem of India's lethargic legal system, Uttam's case dramatizes how the country's labor laws actually reduce employment, by making employers afraid to hire workers in the first place. The rules protect existing unionized workers -- sometimes referred to as the "labor aristocracy" -- at the expense of everyone else. At this point, the labor aristocracy comprises only 10 percent of the Indian work force.

— Gurcharan Das on the Foreign Affairs magazine.[4]

The fact that we finally got a sound judgement shows we do have a system of checks and balances for those with the stamina to travel the course. But the more important point is why did our judges take 22 years to decide the set of appeals? How long, then, will our court system take to handle more complex issues? One reason investors hesitate to put their money into India is the problem of getting any dispute adjudicated and enforced in a reasonable time. Uttam's case shows those fears are very real. Worse, what does it say about our system's ability to deliver simple and swift justice to the average Indian?

The Financial Express[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Sleepy system". Financial Express. 
  2. ^ a b "Caught napping". The Tribune India. 
  3. ^ a b "Uttam Manohar Nakate vs Bharat Forge Company Ltd., Pune". indiankanoon.org. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gurcharan Das (July–August 2006). "The India Model". Foreign Affairs.