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The Industrial Disputes Act does not prescribe any time limit for referring a dispute to the labour court, the Supreme Court has stated in its judgment, Kuldeep Singh vs Instrument Design Development Centre. In this case, the employee was terminated without notice or compensation. He moved the Haryana government which referred the dispute to the labour court. It dismissed the worker’s petition on the ground that he moved the government nearly six years after the termination.

The high court also held the same view.

But when he appealed to the Supreme Court it took a favourable view. It said that the Act allowed the government to refer the dispute at any time. The real test is whether a dispute existed and not when it is made. When the state government is satisfied that there is a dispute, the labour court should consider it on merits. In this case, the labourer was representing his case before various authorities in the time between the termination and the reference to the labour court.

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June 2024