In the case of M/S Deccan Charters Private Limited vs. Sarita Tiwari, Delhi High Court has held that a trainee/probationer doesn’t fall under the definition of workman under Industrial Disputes Act, and the termination of such person doesn’t amount to retrenchment.

The petitioner, M/S Deccan Charters Private Limited, had filed the petition to challenge the ex-parte order of the Labour Court wherein the respondent was held a workman and hence directed to reinstatement with full back wages. The respondent was terminated during her probationary period as “Trainee AME” due to unsatisfactory performance and further misbehaviour with a Senior AME via a notice of termination served 7 days earlier as per the appointment letter.

The respondent contented that she was a deemed workman and hence her termination must be treated as retrenchment while the petitioner argued that she was never appointed as a workman and was a probationary trainee.

In Mahinder Singh, the Division Bench had rejected the workman’s contention that he would be treated as deemed confirmed employee as his probation period had come to an end and the same was not extended further.

Justice J.R. Midha held that “In the present case, the respondent was a “Trainee AME” on probation for a period of three months from the date of joining i.e. 01st August 2006. Clause D of the appointment letter provides that the petitioner shall be deemed to continue on probation until confirmed in writing and such period, after initial period of probation, shall be deemed to be extension of probation. Clause E of the appointment letter provides that the service of the petitioner can be terminated without assigning any reason during the probation or extended probation period. Admittedly, the respondent has not been confirmed in writing and therefore, the respondent shall be deemed to be on extended probation period. Following the principles laid down in the aforesaid judgments, this Court is of the view that the petitioner is not a workman within the definition of 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act and there is no infirmity in her termination during the extended probation period.”

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