1. The opponent 2, hereinafter referred to as the opponent, was in the employ of the petitioners. On September 2, 1963, the opponent was dismissed from service. At that time a dispute between the petitioners and their workmen was pending before the labour court for adjudication. On the same day, September 2, 1963, the petitioners made an application to the labour court for approval of the action taken by them against the opponent under S. 33(2)(b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The body of the application refers to the action which had been taken against the opponent and in the prayer clause it was prayed that approval should be granted to the dismissal of the opponent. There is a union of workers employed by the petitioners, which is known as Teddington Chemical Kamgar Sangh. At the top of the application, the reference number of the dispute pending before the labour court was mentioned. The parties to the application were, however, shown as the union and the petitioners, instead of the petitioners and the opponent. According to the petitioners this mistake in the application was pointed out to them by the superintendent of the labour court on October 16, 1963. On October 21, 1963 the petitioners, therefore, made another application and along with it sent a covering letter in which they stated as follows :
'You had informed us that in accordance with the order in which the two parties are indicated in our application dated September 2, 1963 under Clause (b) of Sub-Section (2), Rallis (India), Ltd., I.C.F. Division, appear as opponent and this has also therefore resulted in our being shown as opponents in your notice under reference. As advised by you we are now forwarding herewith a fresh application in triplicate duly corrected which may kindly be taken on your record; the previous application may kindly be treated as cancelled.
Please note that the date of the application has not been changed as it is intended to replace our original application as advised by you.'
2. On October 29, 1963 the petitioners were informed by the labour court that they would have to withdraw their original application made on September 2, 1963 and that after that application had been withdrawn, the second application, which they had made on October 21, 1963, would be registered as a fresh application. On October 31, 1963 the petitioners addressed another letter to the labour court, in which they stated that their original application dated September 2, 1963 should be treated as withdrawn and that the fresh application forwarded with their letter dated October 21, 1963 should be registered. After receiving this letter, on 5 November the labour court passed an order allowing the first application to be withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh application. The second application, which was made on October 21, 1963, was then registered subsequently. It was rejected on the ground that this application was not part of the same transaction by which the opponent had been dismissed. Against that order the present application has been made.
3. It has been contended by Sri Phadke, the learned counsel for the petitioners, that the second application made by the petitioners on October 21, 1963 was really an application for amendment of the original application. He has pointed out that in their letter dated October 21, 1963 the petitioners had specifically stated that their second application was intended to replace their original application. There is considerable force in this argument. We have compared the two applications and we find that except for the description of the parties to these applications given at the top of the applications, both the applications are in identical terms. Each application contains four paragraphs and the prayer made in both the applications is the same, that the action of dismissal taken against the opponent should be approved. What, therefore, the petitioners really intended to do after the mistake had been pointed out to them on October 16, 1963, was to amend the description of the parties.
4. Sri Kamerkar has, however, contended that even though this may have been the intention of the petitioners, the petitioners had actually withdrawn their first application and had in their letter dated October 31, 1963 stated that the application sent by them Subsequently with their letter of October 21, 1963 should be registered as a fresh application. Sri Kamerkar is right that if the second application made by the petitioners is treated as a fresh application, then that cannot be said to be part of the same transaction by which the opponent was dismissed. It is true that the petitioners had asked the labour court to treat the original application as withdrawn. But on October 29, 1963 the labour court had informed the petitioners that unless the petitioners withdraw their original application, their subsequent application could not be registered. The petitioners, therefore, withdrew the original application under the order of the labour court made on October 29, 1963. That order was not quite correct, because the second application was in fact and substance not a fresh application but an application for amendment of the description of the parties mentioned in the original application. If, therefore, the second application is regarded, as in our opinion it should be, as an application for making certain amendments in the original application, then as the petitioners' original application was made on the same day on which action was taken against the opponent, the petitioners must be held to have complied with the requirements of S. 33(2)(b).
5. We are accordingly of the opinion that the labour court was wrong in dismissing the application made by the petitioners. As I have stated, the second application made by the petitioners on October 21, 1963 should be regarded as an application for substituting or mending the description of the parties given in the first application.
6. Accordingly we set aside the order made by the labour court. The labour court ( ?) should hear the application made by the petitioners on merits and then dispose of it in accordance with law. The petitioners should, however, bear the costs of the opponent of this application.