1. This is a petition by the Automobile Products of India, Ltd., for setting aside by a writ of certiorari or other writ, direction or order a supplementary award made by the Industrial Tribunal on March 17, 1954. The respondents are the Industrial Tribunal as respondent No. 1, the President of the Labour Appellate Tribunal and the Member of the Labour Appellate Tribunal as respondents Nos. 2 and 3 and an employee of the petitioner on behalf of himself and all other employees as respondent No. 4.
2. The facts that are material for the purpose of determining this petition are few. A dispute arose between the petitioner and its monthly paid employees as regards bonus for the year 1950-51, and the Government of Bombay by an order dated March 20, 1952, under Section 10(7)(c) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, referred the dispute to the Industrial Tribunal consisting of respondent No. 1. By an award dated March 10, 1953, the petitioner was directed to pay a bonus 'equivalent to five months' basic wages' to the employees. Against this award the petitioner appealed to the Labour Appellate Tribunal of India under the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950. The said Tribunal by its decision dated September 8, 1953, varied the order relating to bonus by substituting for the words 'bonus equivalent to 5 months' basic wages' the words 'the bonus granted shall be 5/12th of the basic earnings of the year.' Thereafter it appears that by a letter dated December 20, 1953, addressed to the Secretary to the Government of Bombay, the General Secretary of the Automobile Manufacturers' Employees' Association asked for clarification of the decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the Government of Bombay requested the Tribunal to clarify the award on the question whether 'basic earnings' did or did not include over-time wages. By a supplementary award dated February 17, 1954, the Industrial Tribunal held that 'basic earnings' did include over-time wages. It is this supplementary award that is challenged on the ground that there was no jurisdiction in the Government of Bombay to ask for a clarification and in the Industrial Tribunal to make any such clarification.
3. His Lordship after dealing with a point not material to this report proceeded :] On the merits of the petition, the clarification was asked for by the Government of Bombay under Rule 20-A of the Industrial Disputes (Bombay) Rules, 1947. That rule is in the following terms:
Reference for interpretation of award. If any question arises as to the interpretation of any award made by a Tribunal, the State Government may make a reference to the Tribunal for a decision on such question and the Tribunal may decide the matter after hearing the parties.
Now, it is the contention of Mr. Mistree for the petitioners that the award of the Appellate Tribunal is not an award made by the Industrial Tribunal, and therefore under this rule it is not competent for the Industrial Tribunal to interpret that award. No doubt it is true that the award of the Labour Appellate Tribunal cannot be said to have been made by the Industrial Tribunal, but Mr. Buch for respondent No. 4 has relied upon the provisions of Section 16 of the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950, for submitting that the award made by the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be an award made by the Industrial Tribunal and shall be given effect to in the same manner as the award of the Industrial Tribunal could have been given effect to in accordance with the law under which the award or decision of the Industrial Tribunal was first made. Section 16 of the Act is in these terms:
Effect of decision of the Appellate Tribunal.-Where on appeal from any award or decision of an industrial tribunal, the Appellate Tribunal modifies in any manner whatsoever that award or decision, the decision of the Appellate Tribunal shall, when it becomes enforceable under Section 15, be deemed to be substituted for that award-or decision of the industrial tribunal and shall have effect for all purposes in the same manner and in accordance with the same law under which the award or decision of the industrial tribunal was made as if the industrial tribunal made the award or decision as modified by the decision of the Appellate Tribunal.
Now, it is clear from the section that the award or decision of the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be an award or decision of the Industrial Tribunal. It is further clear that for the purpose of giving effect to that award, i.e. both as regards the procedure for giving effect as well as the substantive provisions which determine what the effect of the award shall be, the law that shall be applicable is the law under which the award or decision of the Industrial Tribunal was first made.
4. Now, the award of the Industrial Tribunal in this case was first made under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and this provisions regarding the effect of the award which are contained in that Act will also apply to the award made by the Labour Appellate Tribunal as specifically provided for by Section 16. Now, Section 38 of the Industrial Disputes Act, Sub-section (1), confers power upon the State Government to make rules for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Act, and under this power the Bombay Government has promulgated the Industrial Disputes (Bombay) Rules, 1947, Rules 20-A being one of them. That rule is essentially for the purpose of giving effect to an award which may be obscure and may require clarification, and since it is a statutory rule, it is a part of the machinery for giving effect to the award of the Industrial Tribunal and therefore a part of the law under which the original award was made by the Industrial Tribunal. That being so, Rule 20A is attracted to a clarification of the award of the Labour Appellate Tribunal, and, in my opinion, the Industrial Tribunal had jurisdiction to clarify the meaning of the expression 'basic earnings' as they purported to do.
5. The petition must, therefore, fail and is dismissed and the rule discharged with costs.