The Supreme Court remanded the matter related to the employment status of workmen of Solapur Municipal Corporation to the Bombay High Court for document verification.

The bench comprising Justice A S Bopanna and Justice Sanjay Kumar observed, “Though, ordinarily, we would not allow documentary evidence to be produced belatedly at the last stage, we are also mindful of the fact that the rights of several workmen are at stake and the issue for consideration would invariably turn upon the conclusions that are to be drawn from these new documents. We are, therefore, of the view that minute verification and examination of these documents would necessarily have to be undertaken.”

Brief Facts-

The main issue for consideration in this civil appeal was related to the employment status of Shankarrao Govindrao Patil and others who were in the service of Majarewadi Gram Panchayat. The said gram panchayat was merged with the Solapur Municipal Corporation. They claimed to be the regular employees of the said gram panchayat as on the appointed date as only then they would be entitled to claim the benefit of Section 493 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 as per which transitory provisions in Appendix IV shall apply to the constitution of the Corporation and other matters specified therein.

The Court stated that the employment status of the respondents in Majarewadi Gram Panchayat assumes great significance. According to the Court only if they were regular employees of the said gram panchayat they would be entitled to seek the protection of Clause 5 in Appendix IV to the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, 1949.

The Court noted that though both resolutions were passed on the same day, Resolution No.83(8) was earlier than Resolution No. 83(9). By Resolution No. 83(8), all the employees working with the gram panchayat were permanently appointed whereas Resolution No. 83(9) specifically stated that the 48 temporary appointments made thereunder were to come into effect. Therefore, those 48 appointees were not entitled to claim the benefit of Resolution No. 83(8).

According to the Court, the matter would have to be reconsidered by the Bombay High Court in the light of and on the strength of the new documents.

The Court stated that such an exercise would be more appropriate before the High Court. According to the Court further documentary evidence may have to be led, perhaps, in relation to these new documents and that is not a task that we would normally undertake in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution.

Finally, the Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title: Solapur Municipal Corporation v. Shankarrao Govindrao Patil (Neutral Citation 2024 INSC 423)