Skip to content


Mysore Vegetable Oil Products Ltd. Vs. their Workmen and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 464 of 1960
Judge
Reported in(1965)IILLJ8Kant
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 10(1) and 19(2)
AppellantMysore Vegetable Oil Products Ltd.
Respondenttheir Workmen and anr.
Excerpt:
- sections 7 & 13(1)(d): [a.s. pachhapure, j] demand and acceptance of bribe proof -tahsildar demanded bribe of rs.150/- from complainant for issuing copy of layout sketch - trap arranged - next day when amount was given to accused he received the same evidence of witnesses consistent and cogent - held, conduct of accused proves implied demand and acceptance of bribe. minor discrepancies in statement of trap witness regarding demand by accused occurred due to long period of 7 years having been passed in between is immaterial. conviction of accused, proper. .....first provides that every settlement referred to in sub-section (1) shall be in operation for the period fixed by the parties if such period is fixed by them. it next proceeds to provide that if no such period is fixed by the parties, it will be in operation for a period of six months. this part of sub-section (2) is clear and can give rise to no controversy in regard to its interpretation. but it is the interpretation of the other part of this sub-section on which the parties are not in agreement and that part reads : 'and shall continue to be binding on the parties after the expiry of the period aforesaid, until the expiry of two months from the date on which a notice in writing of an intention to terminate the settlement is given by one of the parties to the other party or parties to.....
Judgment:

Somnath Ayyar, J.

1. The petitioner before us is the management of a company called the Mysore Vegetable Oil Products, Ltd. The respondents are the workmen of that company. In the course of a conciliation proceeding relating to a dispute between these workmen and the company, a settlement was reached on 23 December, 1957, in regard to bonus, increments, grades and scales of pay. Clause 2 of that settlement provided that pending the fixation of grades and scales, the company would implement the terms of that agreement. According to the agreement between the parties, the settlement had to be in force for a period of one year from 23 December, 1957. After the expiry of that period of one year, the company declined to continue to implement the terms of the settlement with the result that an industrial dispute came into existence. That dispute was referred under Sub-section (1) of S. 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to the labour court and that Court made an award in favour of the workmen. The award made by the labour court rested on its view that although, according to the agreement between the parties, the settlement had to be in operation only for a year, that settlement continued to be operative since no notice in writing of any intention to terminate the settlement was given by any of the parties. That view taken by the labour court rested on the provisions of Sub-section (2) of S. 19 of the Industrial Disputes Act, and it is the correctness of the this view which is assailed by the company in this application. No other submission has been made on behalf of the company to us.

2. Our decision in this application should rest upon what should be the true construction of Sub-clause (2) of S. 19 of the Industrial Disputes Act. Sub-section (1) of that section provides that a settlement shall come into operation on the date fixed by the parties to the dispute, and if no such date is fixed, on the date on which the memorandum of the settlement is signed by them. Now, Sub-section (2) of that section, on the interpretation of which depends our decision in this case, reads :

'Such settlement shall be binding for such period as is agreed upon by the parties, and if no such period is agreed upon, for a period of six months from the date on which the memorandum of settlement is signed by the parties to the dispute, and shall continue to be binding on the parties after the expiry of the period aforesaid until the expiry of two months from the date on which a notice in writing of an intention to terminate the settlement is given by one of the parties to the other party or parties to the settlement.'

3. This sub-section first provides that every settlement referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be in operation for the period fixed by the parties if such period is fixed by them. It next proceeds to provide that if no such period is fixed by the parties, it will be in operation for a period of six months. This part of Sub-section (2) is clear and can give rise to no controversy in regard to its interpretation. But it is the interpretation of the other part of this sub-section on which the parties are not in agreement and that part reads :

'and shall continue to be binding on the parties after the expiry of the period aforesaid, until the expiry of two months from the date on which a notice in writing of an intention to terminate the settlement is given by one of the parties to the other party or parties to the settlement.'

4. The question is whether the expression 'the period aforesaid' occurring in this part of the sub-section refers also to the period agreed upon between the parties in addition to the statutory period of six months during which the settlement continues to be in force if the parties had not agreed upon the period during which it had to be in force.

5. The argument presented on behalf of the company by Sri Mahesh Chander Guru is that the expression 'the period aforesaid' refers only to the statutory period of six months during which the agreement continues to be in operation in the absence of a period fixed by the parties, and not to the period agreed upon by the parties.

6. The labour court found no difficulty in repelling this contention and thought that the expression 'the period aforesaid' has reference not only to the agreed period but also to the statutory period of six months. In my opinion, it was right in placing that interpretation upon the provision of Sub-section (2) of S. 19.

7. Now, it is obvious from Sub-section (2) that if the parties are agreed upon the period during which the settlement should be in operation, that is the period during which that settlement will be in force. If no such period is agreed upon, what that sub-section does is to statutorily create a period during which that settlement will be in operation, Now, if after having done that, that sub-section proceeds to direct that the period during which the settlement shall be in operation in that way shall not expire but shall continue to be in operation and to bind the parties unless a notice in writing of an intention to terminate the settlement is given by one of the parties to the other party to the settlement, would it be reasonable to place the construction that what is continued by Sub-section (2) is only a settlement in respect of which the parties did not fix the period during which it has to be in force but in respect of which a statutory period was fixed by Sub-section (2) Now the obvious intendment of Sub-section (2) is that every settlement reached between the parties shall continue to be binding upon the parties until one of the parties expresses his intention to terminate the settlement by a notice in writing to the other party. The plain intention of the legislature was to provide for a continuance of the settlement until such termination was manifested in the prescribed manner, and that there should be no disturbance of industrial peace until then.

8. To confine the operation of Sub-section (2) only to cases in which there has been no period specified by the parties, in my opinion, to give Sub-section (2) a meaning other than its natural, obvious and prima facie meaning and to tear that part of Sub-section (2) out of its context and to place an unduly narrow construction on it. The acceptance of the interpretation suggested for the company may lead to curious result. If the parties agree that a settlement should be in operation for a period of less than six months, the position would be that that settlement would perish the moment that period expires. It would not continue to be in force under the second part of Sub-section (2). But if the parties, do not fix the period during which the settlement is to be binding on the parties, not only would such settlement be binding on the parties for a period of six months but also during the further period referred to in the second part of Sub-section (2), viz., until the expiry of two months from the date a notice expressing the intention to terminate the settlement is given by one of the parties to the other. It would, in my opinion, be nothing short of affectation to treat the second part of Sub-section (2) as governing only those settlements in respect of which the parties have fixed no period. Why a settlement even in respect of which the parties have fixed a period, should not continue to be in force until one of the parties, expresses his intention in writing to terminate it and why such continuance should be recognized only in cases in which the parties have not fixed any period during which it has to be in force is what I am unable to understand.

9. In my opinion, 'the period aforesaid' occurring in Sub-section (2) not only refers to the statutory period of six months referred to in Sub-section (2) but also to the period agreed upon between the parties. That, in my opinion, would be a correct way of interpretation Sub-section (2) of S. 19 of the Act. The view that I take in this case was also the view taken by the High Court of Calcutta in National Carbon Company, Ltd. v. M. N. Gan [1958 - I L.L.J. 472].

10. I am not impressed by the submission made by Sri Guru that the interpretation which, in my opinion, is the true interpretation to be placed on Sub-section (2), offends any canon of grammar. I do not agree with him that the position of the conjunction 'and' occurring in Sub-section (2) does not permit the construction which I have placed.

11. In that view of the matter, the labour court was right in coming to the conclusion that the company could not have properly refused to abide by the terms of the settlement until it had expressed in writing its intention to terminate it by a notice served on the workmen.

12. This application, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.

Kalagate, J.

13. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //