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breach of contract

(Querist) 31 May 2008 This query is : Resolved 
Dear Sir,
i was working for one speciality chemicals manufacturing co.on a senior post for 10 yrs. from 1996-2006.
In 2003 the main owner of the company died and his his son had taken over.That time the condition of the company was not good and was about to become a sick unit.
one fine day his son decleared that he is going to collaborate with some foreign company .He came to the factory with some set of agreements with him on the name of individual technical staff and asked senior peoples that this foreign collaborator needs that each technical staff of this company should sign this secreacy agreement before collaboration.
He was in so much hurry and didnt gave us time to read that agreement but forced us to sign that secreacy agreement .
Then that foreign collaboration never realised ,company was running as usual ,company was defaulter in pf/esic offices as not deposited money against pf/esic inspite of deducting from salaries of employees.This i am writing just to have an idea of condition of the company.
Having fade up with this situation of the company i resigned one day from services i.e. in join some other company in the similar field.
Son called me and threatened that i can not join any company which is competitor to his company.
i said why??
he replied in that secreacy agreement there is one clause no 10 which prohibits me from joining any competitor company for 3 yrs.
i said--you have not given me copy of the agreement .Then he had given me one xerox copy and said i will go up to supreme court if u join any of our competitor.
infact i am working presentlyina company which is coppetitor to that in some products but range of products is more here and almost 50 % products are totally different than my earlier company.
now he had sent me a notice after 2 yrs of leaving that company why legal action should not be taken against me ?/
please advice me what i should do in this situation ???
H. S. Thukral (Expert) 31 May 2008
A contract of employment stands on different footings than a commercial contract. A contract of employment which is unfair, unjustified, unconscionable is void and can not be enforced. It is also agasint the Public Policy. Your earlier employer had put in unreasonable and unfair restriction in the contract and therefore the same are bad in law.
You may go through an elaborate landmark judgment of SC Central Inland Water Transport Corporation v BN Ganguly 1988(2) LLJ 171.
It is doubtful that your employer would succeed in law.
suhas Divekar (Querist) 01 June 2008
Dear Sir,
thank you very much for your advice.
The said employer appoints persons fron competitor in his organisations ,but restricts his old employees to join competitor by this agreement.IS IT CORRECT????
H. S. Thukral (Expert) 02 June 2008
There is nothing to stop him in engaging suitable employees from other competitors but he can not impose unfair unreasonable unconscionable conditions in the employment contract.
suhas Divekar (Querist) 02 June 2008
ok thank you.
Hiralal Das (Expert) 06 April 2009
Thanks all of you.
I do agree with views and/or valuable opinions of our ld. members/friends.

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