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State of Maharashtra Through the Collector and ors. Vs. Cycle Rickshaw Union, Through Its General Secretary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 247 of 1977
Judge
Reported in1982(2)BomCR166
ActsBombay Public Conveyances Act, 1920 - Sections 7; Specific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 34; Trade Unions Act, 1926 - Sections 18
AppellantState of Maharashtra Through the Collector and ors.
RespondentCycle Rickshaw Union, Through Its General Secretary
Appellant AdvocateB.B. Jadhav, A.G.P.
Respondent AdvocateR.G. Bhadekar, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
labour and industrial - legal right - section 34 of specific relief act, 1963 - suit for declaration that plaintiff entitled to represent member rickshaw owners in their all official functions - prayer also made for perpetual injunction restraining defendants from compelling personal attendance of rickshaw owners - suit decreed in favour of plaintiff - plaintiff cannot claim as matter of legal right to represent every rickshaw holder before defendants - no injunction be granted in absence of any averment in plaint with reference to legal character involving legal right - defendants cannot be restrained by order and injunction of civil court from discharging their lawful duties - decree to be set aside. - .....judge, nanded, dated november 26, 1976, in regular civil appeal no. 62 of 1975.2. the cycle rickshaw union, nanded, through its general secretary filed a suit against the appellants-original defendants for a declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to represent the member rickshaw owners in all official functions of the rickshaw owners for a perpetual injunction restraining defendants nos. 2 and 3 from compelling personal attendance of rickshaw owners. the learned civil judge, (senior division), nanded, by a judgment and decree dated july 21,1975, decreed the plaintiff's suit on the following terms :---'(1) be it hereby declared that the cycle rickshaw union, nanded, through its general secretary is entitled to represent the member rickshaw owners of nanded so long as the union.....
Judgment:

M.P. Kanade, J.

1. This second appeal by the State is directed against the judgment and decree passed by the learned District Judge, Nanded, dated November 26, 1976, in Regular Civil Appeal No. 62 of 1975.

2. The Cycle Rickshaw Union, Nanded, through its General Secretary filed a suit against the appellants-original defendants for a declaration that the plaintiff is entitled to represent the member rickshaw owners in all official functions of the rickshaw owners for a perpetual injunction restraining defendants Nos. 2 and 3 from compelling personal attendance of rickshaw owners. The learned Civil Judge, (Senior Division), Nanded, by a judgment and decree dated July 21,1975, decreed the plaintiff's suit on the following terms :---

'(1) Be it hereby declared that the Cycle Rickshaw Union, Nanded, through its General Secretary is entitled to represent the member rickshaw owners of Nanded so long as the union continues to function and continues to function for lawful purposes, in the office of defendants 2 and 3 for the matters enumerated show below :---

(a) for payment of licence and renewal fees for rickshaw owners.

(b) for collection of receipts and licences for distribution to rickshaw owners.

(c) for giving information about the change of address of rickshaw owners.

(d) to represent rickshaw owners who are ladies and Pardanshin women at the time of passing of vehicles by defendants 2 and 3.

(e) for communications in the matter of grievances of rickshaw owners.

(2) Defendants 2 and 3, their servants, agents and successors are hereby restrained from compelling the personal attendance of rickshaw owners for the purpose enumerated in Clauses (a) to (e) above so long as they are represented by the General Secretary of the union and so long as the union exists and functions for lawful purposes.'

The said judgment and decree is confirmed by the learned District Judge in the appeal. Against that judgment and decree, the present second appeal has been field.

3. It is a strange suit where a cause of action given in the plaint is stated as follows :---

'That in compliance with this notice General Secretary of plaintiff attended the office of defendant No. 3 on 10-8-1974 for depositing licence fee and paid the same with a covering letter. 10th August, 1974 being second Saturday clerk concerned accepted the same and started writing the receipts but did not pass the receipts and requested the General Secretary to come on 12th August. On 12th August, 1974 clerk concerned returned the original letter and fees to the General Secretary along with a letter of the office of S.D.P.O. and thereby refused to accept the fees through General Secretary. Hence cause of action.'

The entire reading of the plaint does not disclose any civil dispute between the parties. The cause of action stated in paragraph 9 and reproduced above is so vague that no decree could be passed on such cause of action. An official duty is to be discharged by the original defendants Nos. 2 and 3 under the provisions of the Bombay Public Conveyances Act, 1920. A licence is to be issued in respect of rickshaws being plied on the streets of Nanded. Their fitness is to be examined by the authorities concerned and the licence is to be either issued or denied having regard to the provisions of the said Act. If an offence is committed; if a wrong is done; if there is a violation of personal obligations of a rickshaw holder; the authority concerned shall have the right to call for an explanation or make an investigation into the matter. No Court should issue an injunction against an officer who is entrusted with the duty to discharge legal obligations and duties under the statute. In the instant case, what is asked for is that the Union should be allowed to represent. There cannot be any grievance in respect of representation by the Union. But in cases where the presence of a rickshaw holder is necessary, the officer concerned shall call upon the rickshaw holder to present the rickshaw or to comply with the requirements of law. No Court should grant an injunction against an officer to discharge the lawful duties entrusted to him under any of the enactments or rule or regulation or bye-laws. The nature of injunction granted by both the courts below appears to be something unusual. The declaration asked by the plaintiff in the suit is that they have got a right of representation of member rickshaw owners in all official functions of the rickshaw owners. I am unable to appreciate such a declaration being asked for from a Civil Court. The plaintiff is a registered body registered under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926. It is a body incorporate and can sue and be sued. The purpose of such an union is to agitate or represent the industrial disputes connected with such union. So far as licences are concerned, it is a matter of an individual right to obtain licence. Licence is not granted to a union, but it is granted to an individual rickshaw holder and certain rights and obligations have been created under the Act and they have got to be discharged by an individual rickshaw holder. In the said circumstances, it is something strange that the General Secretary of the Union is seeking a declaration to represent the rickshaw owners in each and every matter connected with the plying of rickshaws on the streets of Nanded city. There may be individual offences; some act to be done by an individual in connection with the plying of a rickshaw; there may be a violation of some law or a regulation by an individual. Such matters are to be represented either personally or through an union or a duly constituted attorney or an Advocate. Such a right need not be granted under a decree of a Civil Court and it is, therefore, the decree passed in favour of the plaintiff is not only illegal, but contrary to established norms of representation by the trade union.

4. Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, lays down that any person entitled to any legal character, or to any right as to any property, may institute a suit against any person denying, or interested to deny, his title to such character or right, and the Court may in its discretion make therein a declaration that he is so entitled, and the plaintiff need not in such suit ask for any further relief. Having regard to the said provisions of section 34, I am unable to appreciate as to what is the legal character involved in the present suit so far as the plaintiff is concerned. I do not find that the plaintiff can claim, as a matter of right or a legal right, to represent every rickshaw holder before defendants Nos. 2 and 3, who are Police Officers entrusted with the duty to grant licences or receive fees. In the absence of any averment in the plaint with reference to legal character involving legal right, no injunction can be granted. As stated above, defendants Nos. 2 and 3 and their successors cannot be restrained by an order and injunction of a Civil Court from discharging their lawful duties. Such an injunction is on the face of it illegal and cannot be allowed to sustain. Both the courts below have committee an error in granting a decree for a declaration and also for an injunction against defendants Nos. 2 and 3. Therefore, both the judgments and decrees have to be set aside.

5. It is necessary to state here that defendants Nos. 2 and 3 will act within the framework of law in granting or refusing licence or receiving fees therefore. They are supposed to maintain the dignity of society while discharging their duties. Pardanshin ladies, who are owners of rickshaws cannot and should not be compelled to personally visit the Police Office so, that their status as Pardanshin ladies is impaired. A right of representation is an individual right. A Pardanshin lady may represent herself or may engage a representative or may approach through an authority letter or may appoint a legal practitioner or may ask the union to represent her and the Police Officers shall receive such a representation in the ordinary course of discharge of their duties. Since I am setting aside the decrees and dismissing the plaintiff's suit, the above observations were necessary to be made. The officers must see that no inconvenience is caused to the citizens in the discharge of their lawful duties as and when such inconvenience could be avoided.

6. With these observations, this second appeal is allowed and the judgment and decree passed by the trial Court and confirmed by the lower Appellate Court is set aside and the plaintiff's suit is dismissed. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to the costs throughout.


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