Legal Analysis of Employee Retirement Age Dispute

Unravel the complexities of a compelling legal case centered around an employee retirement age dispute. The focus is on the court’s meticulous legal analysis and interpretation of relevant labor laws. Explore the nuances of union rights and the intricacies of industrial relations within the context of this engaging case.


  • Two settlements were reached in 2004 and 2010 under the Industrial Disputes Act, agreeing to a retirement age of 58 years.
  • Union conveyed no objection to the settlement alteration in a letter dated 04/09/2012.
  • Management was requested to provide input on the proposed alteration under Section 39(1) of the Act.
  • A reference was made to the Industrial Court under Section 73A of The Bombay Industrial Relations Act.
  • Formalities under the Maharashtra Industrial Relations Act needed to be completed for implementing the settlements.
  • Appellant filed an application on behalf of employees under Section 38(2) of the Act.
  • Application was heard by the Additional Labour Commissioner with consent from other unions dated 04.09.2012.
  • The Additional Labour Commissioner, in an order dated 25.10.2012, mentioned the representation of employees in various local areas by a specific union.

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  • Mr. Colin Gonsalves argued on behalf of the appellant, emphasizing the provisions of the Act and Section 27A
  • He contended that the employer should not be allowed to backtrack on a settlement at the stage of Ministerial implementation
  • Argued that the appeal against the Additional Labour Commissioner’s order should have been dismissed as either party could have approached the Labour Commissioner under Section 38
  • Mr. Vinay Navare, representing the Bank, supported the Bombay High Court judgment and highlighted the differences in the definitions under the Act, particularly in relation to ’employee’ and ‘representative union’
  • Stated that a representative union may not have the locus standi to move an application under Section 38 based on the Act’s provisions
  • Suggested that if his submission was not accepted, the matter could be reconsidered by the Commissioner of Labour after addressing the technical objection

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  • Employees must retire at the age of 55
  • Extension of retirement age up to one year at a time or three years in total can be granted by the president
  • The original standing order mandating retirement at 55 years was changed twice to 58 years through settlements in 2004 and 2010.
  • The settlements were sanctioned by an award of the Industrial Court.
  • The employer and employees both agreed to the changes in retirement age.
  • Technical objections regarding the locus of the union to file an application under Section 38(2) were dismissed due to mutual agreements.
  • The Bank chose not to become a model employer by not applying for alteration of retirement age under Section 38(2).
  • The Bank’s appeal claimed the union had no right to approach the Commissioner of Labour under Section 38(2) of the Maharashtra Industrial Relations Act.
  • The Industrial Court allowed the appeal based on the definition of ’employee’ in the Act, preventing the union from making the application.
  • The Court expressed concerns about allowing the bank to back out of the settlements regarding retirement age.
  • The Industrial Court should have considered Paragraph 10 of its own Judgment
  • The appeal should have been dismissed due to the bank’s actions
  • The bank should not be allowed to question the appellant’s locus standi at this stage

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  • High Court Judgment on merits is not disturbed
  • The question of law decided by the High Court is left open
  • All consequential benefits to employees of the respondent to be given within six months
  • Pending interlocutory application(s) are disposed of


Case Number: C.A. No.-002328-002328 / 2021

Click here to read/download original judgement

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