SIRIMANE, J.—Hemaa (Estates) Ltd. v. Ceylon Workers' Congress
1971Present: Sirimane, J.
HEMAS (ESTATES) LTD. and another, Appellants, andCEYLON WORKERS’ CONGRESS, Respondent
S. C. 88169—Labour Tribunal, 9/484 & 485
Industrial dispute—Evidence—Burden of proof.
In proceedings before a Labour Tribunal relating to a dispute between aworkman and his employer, it is open to the President to accept the moreprobable version and to decide the case on a balance of probability.
-tipPEAL from an order of a Labour Tribunal.
H. W. Jayewardene, Q.G., with A. M. Coomaraswamy, for theemployers-appellants.
N. Satyendra, with V. Jegasothy, for the applicant-respondent.
Cur. adv. wit.
August 10, 1971. Sirimane, J.—
The main question which arose for decision in this case was whetherthe workman (a labourer on an estate) had handed over the line-roomallotted to him to another labourer, and gone to reside elsewhere.
There was conflicting evidence on this point.
It was the workman’s case that he never gave up residence in theline-room, and that his absence was temporary.
The President, having considered all the evidence, appears to haveaccepted the evidence of the workman and his witnesses in preferenceto that of the employer. He has expressed himself thus, “….
according to all the evidence produced before me, there is no reason tothink that Dharmadasa actually lived in house No. 349 ”.
In one part of his order, having said that the employer has failed toprove that the workman definitely resided outside the estate, he hassaid, “ I therefore give the benefit of the doubt to the applicant ”. I
I agree with the submission of the learned Counsel for the employers-appellants that in a case like this, there is no burden placed on theemployer to prove his allegations “ beyond all reasonable doubt ”, asin a criminal case. A case like this has to be decided on a balance ofprobability. But, despite the unfortunate use of the phrase “ benefitof the doubt ”, on a reading of the whole order, and on a considerationof the evidence, I am of the view that all that the.President has donewas to accept the more probable version.
60Ballicaloa Multi-Purpose Co-operative Societies Union Ltd. v.
I am unable to say that be has approached the evidence as a Judgeseeking proof of a criminal charge.
The balance of evidence and the surrounding circumstances certainlyfavour the workman, and I see no error in law which warrants interferencewith the President’s order.
The appeal is dismissed with costs.
HEMAS (ESTATES ) LTD . and another, Appellants, and CEYLON WORKERS’ CONGRESS, R