After both sides to a labour case informed that they had not received copies of the award passed by a labour Court, the Madras High Court has directed the Commissioner of Labour to ensure that order copies are properly sent to the parties via registered post or other modes by which its receipt can be recorded (Tmt. Vanaja and ors. v. .Sri Saravana Transport and anr). .Given that the Tamil Nadu Government has already introduced E-Governance after which every Department now has its own official website, the Court also suggested that the award copies must be uploaded online, thereby enabling parties to get the copy of the order without delay..In this case, the Office of the Joint Commissioner of Labour – II, Chennai told the Court that the order copies duly sent. However, the Court pointed out that it was not in a position to find out whether the order copy was received or not by the parties since it was sent by ordinary post. .Therefore, Justice SM Subramaniam has now directed that such copies be sent via registered post to the parties or their counsel, or in person by receiving an acknowledgement of receipt. On why this is important, the Judge further pointed out:."At the outset, the mode of communication must be proper, so as to ensure that ... allegations are not raised against the Department of Labour. If the Award copies are sent through ordinary posts, then there is a possibility that even after receiving the copy, parties may claim that they have not received the Award only for the purpose of condoning delay in filing further appeal to the higher Courts.".As far as the instant case was concerned, the Judge condoned the delay in filing an appeal since there was material to indicate that neither party had received earlier a copy of the award under challenge. .Constitute Special Cell to monitor complaints of irregularities and illegalities in Labour Department.In the course of this order, the Judge also took note that there have been complaints made by lawyers practising in labour law about the manner in which authorities under the Labour Department function..The allegations ranged from awards being ante-dated, demands made for extraneous considerations and corruption. It is the duty of the Labour Commissioner to keep a vigil over such aspects and initiate action against erring officials, the Court said. ."In the event of any lapses, negligence, dereliction of duty, corrupt activities, the Commissioner of Labour is expected to initiate action with iron hand and there cannot be any leniency or otherwise. All suitable actions are to be initiated against such officials who all are committing such misconducts as well as corrupt activities in the matter of hearing of the cases or signing of the orders or issuance of the Award copies to the parties or the learned counsels", reads the order further..In view of the complaints made, the Judge has now directed the Commissioner of Labour to constitute a special cell to monitor the irregularities and illegalities alleged of by the Bar"The Special Cell must contain a separate telephone number and a website enabling the workmen or the learned counsels appearing for the parties to register their complaint enabling the Commissioner to initiate further actions on such complaints", the Court said..Other directions for the Labour Commissioner to follow.The Commissioner of Labour must ensure that the copies of the Award are sent through Registered Post or through any other mode with acknowledgement. Where the order copies are handed over in person, acknowledgement is to be obtained. A foolproof procedure is required in order to ensure that award copies are received and to avoid unnecessary allegations against the Department of Labour regarding non-receipt of Award copies by the parties.The Commissioner of Labour is directed to formulate an acceptable procedure for serving the copy of the Award to the litigants, so as to avoid any further disputes in this regard between the parties. The Commissioner of Labour is directed to issue a circular to all subordinate officials to follow such procedures scrupulously, which is to be formulated by the Commissioner. In the event of any violation, the Commissioner should ensure that action are initiated against such subordinate officialsEven digital mode of communication can also be preferred by the Department of Labour. The Award copy once signed by the Competent Authority may be uploaded in the official website of the Department of Labour enabling the parties to access the copy of the Award. In such circumstances, the parties or the respective counsel would be in a position to download the copy of the Award and take a print copy. Such a mode also may be adopted by the Commissioner of Labour, so as to avoid unnecessary postal expenditures..The High Court's Registry has been directed to communicate a copy of the order with the Commissioner of Labour, Teynampet.