Rama Jois, J.
1. In these Petitions the Petitioner-the Management of the Charak Bhandar, Evergreen Industrial Estate, Bombay has questioned the legality of the reference made by the State Government under Section 10(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act as also the two orders of the Labour Court made on preliminary issues.
2. The facts of the case in brief are as follows : The Petitioner is a partnership firm and is an industry as defined under Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act (shortly the Act). Respondents-2 and 3 were engaged as commission agents and medical representatives in this State. Their services were terminated by the Petitioner with effect from 27-5-1974. Aggrieved by the order of termination respondents-2 and 3 raised an industrial dispute before the Conciliation Officer. As there was no agreement between the parties a failure report was submitted to the State Government. Thereafter the State Government by an endorsement dated 4-3-1977 (Ex. A) refused to refer the dispute. Thereafter the State Government made an order dated 2-7-1977 (Ext-B) by which the dispute was referred for industrial adjudication. In the reference the Petitioner raised two preliminary objections. One of the objections was that as the Petitioner was an industry situated in the State of Maharashtra and it had no branch office in this State even if there was an industrial dispute the appropriate Government which was competent to make the reference was the Government of Maharashtra and not the Government of this State. Another objection raised by the Petitioner was that the State Government could not have referred the question as to whether respondents-2 and 3 were workmen, for industrial adjudication for the reasons, that unless the Government was of the view that Respondents-2 and 3 were workmen there would be no industrial dispute and there-fore there was no competence on the part of the State Government to make reference, under Section 10(1) of the Act. Both these preliminary objections were rejected by the orders dated 31-3-1979 (Ext. C) and 19-12-1978 (Ext. D), by the Labour Court Thereafter the Petitioner has presented this Petition, not only questioning the legality of the aforesaid two orders of the Labour Court, but also the reference itself.
3. Sri B.C. Prabhakar, Learned Counsel for the Petitioner urged the following contentions :
1) The order of reference dated 2-7-1977 was invalid on the ground that it was in violation of rules of natural justice as no opportunity of hearing was given to the Petitioner though the State Government had, for recorded reasons, rejected to make the reference by its earlier order dated 4-3-1977 Ex-A.
2) The view taken by the Labour Court that the State Government, even without coming to the conclusion that Respondents-2 and 3 were workmen, could make a reference was patently untenable and perverse.
3) The view taken by the Labour Court that the Government of this State was the appropriate Government for making the reference was also not tenable.
4) The facts necessary for considering the first two contentions are the endorsement dated 4 3.1977 and the order of reference dated 2-7-77. The relevant part of the endorsement dated 4-3-1977 issued by the State Government under Section 12(5) of the Act reads thus :
'With reference to the above subject, I am directed to slate that Government consider that the dispute in question has no prima facie case for reference for adjudication for the reason that the employees in question were not 'workmen' within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 as on the alleged date of termination of their service'As can be seen from the above endorsement the State Government declined to refer the matter for industrial adjudication on the ground that Respondents-2 and 3 were not workmen. After about 4 months thereafter the State Government made the impugned order of reference dated 2-7-1977 which reads :
GOVERNMENT OF KARNATAKA
No. SWL 728 LLD 76
Karnataka Government Secretariat
Bangalore, Dated 2-7-1977