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Lalbhai Tricumlal Mills Ltd. Vs. Manubhai Motilal VIn and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appn. No. 47 of 1955
Judge
Reported inAIR1955Bom463; (1955)57BOMLR907; ILR1955Bom921
ActsBombay Industrial Relations Act, 1947 - Sections 9, 42(4), 77, 78, 79 and 79(3); Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946 - Sections 81
AppellantLalbhai Tricumlal Mills Ltd.
RespondentManubhai Motilal VIn and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP.N. Bhagwati, ;Amarchand and ;Mangaldas, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateM.L. Shah and ;N.A. Nanavatti, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....failing to get any reply--employee filing application for reinstatement and compensation before bombay labour court--whether such court has jurisdiction to decide application.; the opponent was employed by the petitioner mills, having their registered office in ahmedabad, in their branch office in bombay. the opponent's services were terminated by an order passed by the petitioner at ahmedabad and delivered to the opponent in bombay. the opponent sent an approach letter to the petitioners at ahmedabad complaining of his dismissal and claiming to be reinstated. as no reply was received from the petitioner the opponent filed an application before the labour court at bombay for reinstatement and compensation. on the question whether the bombay labour court had jurisdiction to entertain..........by respondent 5, and the labour court made a reference to the industrial court under section 81, bombay industrial relations act, 1946, and the industrial court has held that the bombay labour court had jurisdiction. it is against that decision that the petitioner has come on this petition.2. now, under section 9 the state government is empowered to constitute one or more labour courts slaving jurisdiction in such local areas as may be specified in such notification, and a labour court has been constituted under this section for bombay; and under section 77 it is again emphasised that the territorial jurisdiction of labour courts shall extend to the local areas for which they are constituted. but neither s. 9 nor s. 77 throws any light as to what is the jurisdiction in retation to the.....
Judgment:

Chagla, C.J.

1. This petition raises a rather interesting question as to the jurisdiction of the Labour Court to try A certain industrial dispute. The facts are very brief. Opponent 5 was employed by the petitioner mills in their branch office in Bombay and his services were terminated on 27-8-1953, when the branch office was closed, lie wrote to the registered office of the mills in Ahmedabad complaining, of his dismissal and claiming to be reinstated. No reply was sent to this letter and respondent 5 filed an application before the Labour Court for reinstatement and compensation. A point was raised by the petitioner that the Labour Court at Bombay had no jurisdiction to try and dispose of the application made by respondent 5, and the Labour Court made a reference to the Industrial Court under Section 81, Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, and the Industrial Court has held that the Bombay Labour Court had jurisdiction. It is against that decision that the petitioner has come on this petition.

2. Now, under Section 9 the State Government is empowered to constitute one or more Labour Courts Slaving jurisdiction in such local areas as may be specified in such notification, and a Labour Court has been constituted under this section for Bombay; and under Section 77 it is again emphasised that the territorial jurisdiction of Labour Courts shall extend to the local areas for which they are constituted. But neither S. 9 nor S. 77 throws any light as to what is the jurisdiction in retation to the subject-matter. Both Section 9 and Section 77 deal with the territorial jurisdiction of the Courts, but what we have to consider is In respect of what matters arising within that territorial jurisdiction the Labour Court has been empowered to dispose of application filed before it.

3. What is pninted out by Mr. Bhagwati onbohalf of the petitioner is that S. 78 of the Act provides:

'('I) A Labour Court shall have! power to--

A. decide-- (a) disputes regarding -- (and we are here concerned with Clause (iii) )

(iii) any change made by an employer or desired by an employee in respect of an industrial matter specified in Schedule III and matters arising out of such change'; ' and the 'Explanation' to that section provides

''A dispute falling under Clause (a) of paragraph A of Sub-section (i) shall be deemed to have arisen if within the period prescribed under the proviso to Sub-section (4) of Section 42, no agreement is arrived at in respect of an order, matter or change referred to in the said proviso'.

And when we turn to Sub-section (4) of Section 42, it lays down:

'Any employee or a representative union desiring a change in respect of (i) any order passed by the employer under standing orders, or (ii) any f industrial matter arising out of the application or interpretation of standing orders, or (iii) an industrial matter specified in Schedule III, shall make an application to the Labour Court';

There is a proviso to this sub-section and the proviso is: ''Provided that no such application shall lie unless the employee or a representative union has in the prescribed manner approached the employer with a request for the change and no agreement has been arrived at in respect of the change within the prescribed period'.

4. What is contended is that an industrial dispute only arises when an employee, dissatisfied by any action on the part of the employer approaches the employer in the manner laid down in the proviso to Section 42(4) and no agreement has been reached between the employer and the employee after that approach has been made, and Mr. Bhagwati says that till that approach takes place and the approach is found to be futile, there is no industrial dispute, and, says Mr. Bhagwati,' in this case the approach was made at Ahmedabad, the approach did not result in an agreement, and therefore the dispute arose in Ahmedabad and only the Labour Court at Ahmedabad can entertain this application. Turning first to S. 42(4) and the proviso, it is clear that the proviso is procedural and it obliges the employee to comply with the condition precedent laid down in the' proviso before he can approach the Labour Court.

The proviso does not deal with the subject-matter of the industrial dispute at all, but it makes it necessary that certain procedure has got to be followed before the employee becomes entitled to approach the Labour Court. The arising of the dispute at a particular moment has also been laid down For another reason and that is to provide the starting point of time for limitation, because under Section 79(3) an application in respect of a dispute falling under Clause (a) of para. A of Sub-section (i) of Section 78 shall be made if it is a dispute falling under Sub-clause (iii) of the said clause, within three months of the employes concerned having last approached the employer under the proviso to Sub-section (4) of Section 42. But what we are concerned with to decide is: where : did the dispute substantially arise?

5. Now, the Act does not deal with the causes of action, nor does it indicate what factors [will confer jurisdiction upon the Labour Court. But [applying the well known tests jurisdiction, and Anr. Court or Tribunal would have jurisdiction if to parties reside within jurisdiction or if the subject-matter of the dispute substantialy arises within! jurisdiction. And therefore the correct approach, to this question is to ask ourselves -- where (SIC) this dispute substantially arise -- and in our (SIC) nion the only answer to that question can be (SIC) the dispute substantially arose in Bombay and (SIC) in Ahmedabad. What is the dispute'? The disputed is not as to whether the employee approached (SIC) employer: in Ahmedabad and no agreement (SIC) arrived at. The dispute is whether the employ,(SIC) was justified in dismissing the employee, and inasmuch as the employment was in Bombay and (SIC) dismissal' was in Bombay, it is difficult to (SIC) stand how it can possibly be urged that the (SIC), pute did not substantially arise in Bombay. (SIC)Mr. Bhagwati says is that there is no dispute till(SIC) approach is made by the employee under the (SIC) viso to Section 42(4)

It is true that there would be no industrial (SIC) tute till the procedure laid down in the proviso(SIC) Section 42(4) is satisfied, but in a more import(SIC) sense there would be no dispute at all if there had been no dismissal by the petitioner of respondent (SIC) In order- that there should be an industrial disp(SIC) two ingredients are necessary. One is the fact these the employee should be aggrieved in one of (SIC) manners laid down in the Act, and the second that he must comply-'with the procedure laid (SIC) in Section 42(4). If either ingredient is abse there would be no dispute. But to suggest (SIC) because the industrial dispute will arise provk(SIC) the second ingredient is complied with, one(SIC) completely ignore the first ingredient, is to put (SIC) ward a contention which is untenable. If, there fore, both the ingredients are necessary, the question that we have to ask is whether the first ingi(SIC) client is sufficiently important to constitute substantially the subject-matter of the dispute, and the can be no doubt that what the Labour Court (SIC) be considering and deciding would be whether the employee was wrongly dismissed or discharged by the employer.

If that is going to be the subject-matter of the inquiry before the Labour Court, that subject-matter arose in Bombay and not in Ahmedabad. we express no opinion as to whether the Ahmedabad Court would equally have jurisdiction or not. We are only concerned with deciding whether on these facts the Bombay Labour Court' has jurisdiction, and in our opinion if as in this case the employee was employed in Bombay and dismissed in Bombay and he is making a complaint about his dismissal and wants reinstatement and compensation, the Bombay Labour Court has jurisdiction to decide this application. We, therefore, agree with the Industrial Court in the view it has taken,

6. The result is that the petition fails andbe dismissed with costs.

7. Petition dismissed.


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