1. This is a petition filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the award of the Labour Court, Guntur, in Industrial Dispute No. 4 of 1958, on its file. The petitioner is the employer. Under G.O.Ms. No. 144, Social Welfare and Labour Department, dated 3 February, 1958, the Government of Andhra Pradesh referred to the labour court for adjudication the above said industrial dispute between the workman one Dasari Muttiah, represented by the Andhra Provincial Press Workers' Union, Vijayawada, and the present petitioner who is the owner of Kalyani Press, Tenali. The dispute is with regard to retrenchment of the said Dasari Muttiah. The case of the petitioner is that the retrenchment was (lone bona fide and due to the fall in the business. The Kalyani Press, it is stated, is a very small concern and on account of the shrinkage of the work the retrenchment became inevitable. It was further stated before the tribunal that the requirements of S. 25E of the Industrial Disputes Act have been complied with and that therefore the employee was not entitled to the reliefs claimed. The labour court found that there was no satisfactory evidence as to the shrinkage of the work in the press. It was pointed out that no accounts were produced except a mere assertion on the part of the employer that the work had fallen. The labour court also found that the so-called retrenchment was in a way due to the annoyance of the employer at the activities of Muttiah in connexion with the labour union agitation for the enforcement of the statutory provisions relating to the leave facilities. The labour court further found that the procedure laid down for the retrenchment and reemployment of retrenched workmen as per Ss.25G and 25H of the Industrial Disputes Act has not been admittedly observed in the present case. In those circumstances the Court held that the retrenchment of the workman Muthiah was not justified and that he was entitled to reinstatement and also to arrears of salary at the rate of Rs. 75 per mensem from the date of retrenchment to the date of reinstatement. Mr. Rajeswar Rao for the petitioner argues that there is no industrial dispute in this case within the meaning of S. 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act. His contention is that it is not a dispute between a class of workmen and the employer, but in fact and in law it is only a dispute between a single workman and the employer. He further contends that when such a reference is made, the entire proceedings are vitiated for lack of initial jurisdiction and that the award is therefore liable to be set aside.
2. An industrial dispute may start between an individual worker and the management, but when it is sponsored and espoused by workers' union, it cases to be an individual dispute and assumes the character of an industrial dispute. In Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate v. Management of Dimakuchi tea Estate [1958 - I L.L.J. 500] it has been held by the Supreme Court of India that ordinarily it is only the aggrieved party who can raise a dispute. But when the individual dispute is espoused by a union to which party the aggrieved party may belong, it becomes admittedly a dispute within the meaning of S. 2(k) of the Act. There is, therefore, no substance in the first contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner. The second contention of Mr. Rajeswar Rao is that the terms of S. 25E have been strictly complied with in this case. That may be so. But the labour court states that the procedure was not strictly complied with because the workman was the senior most workman and yet he was retrenched, and that the procedure laid down in Ss. 25G and 25H has not also been followed.
3. In the circumstances, I think, there is no force in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the award of the tribunal is vitiated by any lack of jurisdiction or wrong interpretation of any statutory provision or rule, or an error apparent on the face of the record or violation of any principles of natural justice (?) justifying interference under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The petition is, therefore, dismissed.