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National Tobacco Company (India), Ltd. Vs. Miriyala Kalidas and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1962)IILLJ207AP
AppellantNational Tobacco Company (India), Ltd.
RespondentMiriyala Kalidas and ors.
Excerpt:
.....delivery of a copy of the challan for deposit of rent in office of controller or appellate authority, as the case may be, so as to enable controller or appellate authority to cause maintenance of proper accounts under sub-rule (5) and give notice of deposit to person amounts to wilful default in making valid payment or lawful tender of the rent by the tenant to the landlord. thus, where a tenant obtains an order to deposit rent, same shall be deposited at least by the last day of the month following that for which rent is payable and rent challan shall be delivered in the office of controller within a reasonable time so that rent controller can take necessary action for service of notice of deposit under sub-rule (4) of rule 5 of the rules within seven days of such delivery. in..........be entertained as the industrial tribunal in i.d. nos. 14 and 17 of 1957 gave a decision that the muttah workers, who were the applicants before the authority, were not workmen within the scope of the industrial disputes act and this decision operated as res judicata.6. the authority under the payment of wages act negatived this contention in the view that the remarks of the tribunal could not constitute res judicata for the reason that there was no issue in that case whether the muttah workers were workmen within the meaning of the industrial disputes act and that, in any event, the proceedings before the industrial tribunal could not be invested with finality so as to debar the petitioners before the authority from claiming the benefits under the payment of wages act. being of that.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddi, C.J.

1. The petitioner seeks the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain the authority under the Payment of Wages Act from proceeding further with the hearing of P.W. No. 38 of 1959.

2. Certain workmen, whose status la now in dispute, applied under Section 15(2) of the Payment of Wages Act for the reliefs contemplated by that section. They first approached the regional inspector of factories for directing the petitioner to grant them leave with wages. The concerned Inspector went into the question and decided that they were workmen entitled to leave with wages and called the petitioner to give them leave with wages. On Intimation by the regional inspector, the petitioner postponed the payment laying that his Calcutta office was considering the matter and wanted the applicants to wait.

3. As the petitioner did not implement the direction of the regional Inspector, the matter was referred to the Chief Inspector of Factories. The latter informed the president of the General Transport Mazdoor Union thus:

The grievances stated in your petition have been examined. The workers concerned may be advised to apply to the management for leave with wages as required under Section 79(6) of the Factories Act under Intimation to the regional inspector of factories, Guntur. Suitable action can be taken in the matter, if these applications are not favourably considered by the management.

4. It is, in these circumstances, that the concerned workmen invoked 3.15 of the Payment of Wages Act.

5. On notice, the petitioner, i.e., the management, appeared before the authority under the Payment of Wages Act and raised an objection that the proceedings could not be entertained as the industrial tribunal in I.D. NOS. 14 and 17 of 1957 gave a decision that the muttah workers, who were the applicants before the authority, were not workmen within the scope of the Industrial Disputes Act And this decision operated as res judicata.

6. The authority under the Payment of Wages Act negatived this contention in the view that the remarks of the tribunal could not constitute res judicata for the reason that there was no issue in that case whether the muttah workers were workmen within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act and that, in any event, the proceedings before the industrial tribunal could not be invested with finality so as to debar the petitioners before the authority from claiming the benefits under the Payment of Wages Act. Being of that opinion the authority decided to proceed to enquire into the merits of the application. It is this finding of the authority that is sought to be removed on certiorari.

7. The point presented by Sri Srinivasamurthi, learned Counsel for the petitioner, is that as it was found by the industrial tribunal that the muttah workers represented by their secretary, respondent 1, were not workmen for the purpose of the Industrial Disputes Act, the authority under the Payment of Wages Act had no jurisdiction to entertain the application by these workmen.

8. The short question, therefore, that falls for consideration is whether there is anything in the award given by the Industrial tribunal in I.D. NOS. 14 and 17 of 1957 which would operate as res judicata and, in any event, whether any relief could be afforded to the petitioner in the exercise of the writ jurisdiction. We find it dfficult to accede to the proposition of Sri Srinivasamurthi that such effect could be attributed to the award of the Industrial tribunal in I.D. Nos. 14 and 17 of 1057. One of the issues in the award related to 'restoration of customary privileges and grant of greater number of festival holidays to muttah workers employed in redrying factory, Guntur.' The workmen claimed the grant of a certain number of dhoties to each of them and increase in the number of festival holidays with wages. It must be remembered that the management, i.e., the petitioner, refused to grant this request on the ground that the maistri had not submitted toe names of workers with reference to the register who worked for more than eleven months and, as such, they were not entitled to this relief.

9. On this issue, this is what the tribunal observed:

The privilege claimed is grant of a pair of dhoties every year with arrears from 1954 ; and the grant of six festival holidays. Scanty evidence has been adduced to prove the muttah workers to be the workers of the employers. It is not proved that the employer has control over their work. Unless this is done, the relationship of master and servant is not established. It is, therefore, clear that the muttah workers are not the workers of the company, still, it is not denied that dhoties were given till 1954 and the only reason given for discontinuance is that the muttah maistrl did not give from the register the names of the workers who worked for eleven months. This does not appear to be a good reason. There must be register in the National Tobacco Company itself as various laws require that the names of workers who work in a factory should be maintained....

10. In that view, the tribunal directed that from 1958 the yearly dhoties should be given as a gesture of goodwill.

11. It is seen from the passage extracted above that there was no issue before the tribunal whether the muttah workers were workmen within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act.

12. It is argued by Sri Srinivasamurthi that in order to attract the principle underlying Section 11, Civil Procedure Code, it is sufficient if such an Issue was impliedly raised before the tribunal. We do not think that we can agree with the proposition. In order that a particular decision should operate as res judicata, the matter musts have been directly and substantially in issue in the former proceeding. It is not sufficient if the issue was Implied in the former proceeding. That apart, in this case, there was no enquiry at all before the tribunal and, in fact, the tribunal observed that no material was placed by the workmen to enable it to adjudge whether the muttah workers were workmen within the scope of the Industrial Disputes Act. It was also unnecessary for the tribunal to go into that matter because what the muttah workers claimed was restoration of customary privileges. So, the only Question before the tribunal was not whether really they were workmen entitled to the benefits of the Industrial Disputes Act or not but whether the privilege claimed by them was a customary privilege.

13. In this view, we do not think that Burn & Co. v. their employees 1957--I L.L.J. 226, renders any help to the petitioner. It may be mentioned that the question in the cited case was whether the award given on a matter in controversy between the parties after full hearing ceased to have any force if either of them repudiated it under Section 19(6) and their lordships answered it in the affirmative, having regard to the fact that the competent authority decided the issue between the parties on a full enquiry. In such circumstances, it was ruled that an award should be given finality on the basis of the principle enacted by Section 11, Civil Procedure Code. The question there was not whether particular persons were workmen or not within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act. It is also to be noted that the question whether particular workers are workmen within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act does not directly arise in proceedings before the tribunal. It arises only as a collateral issue for the decision of the point whether the persons concerned are entitled to the benefits of the Act.

14. It is also a debatable point whether a finding given by the Industrial tribunal on the question as to whether certain workers are workmen for the purposes of the Industrial Disputes Act would constitute res judicata in proceedings arising subsequently under the Payment of Wages Act. The objects of the Industrial Disputes Act and those of the Payment of Wages Act as also the functions to be discharged by the tribunals under the two Acts are different. The definitions of workmen under both the Acts are also not identical. It may be mentioned here that the Payment of Wages Act does not define a workman but adopts the definition contained in the Factories Act and the definition under the latter Act seems to be of wider import than the one contained in the Industrial Disputes Act. For these reasons, there is considerable force in the argument of the learned Government Pleader that even on this ground we should hold that the doctrine of res judicata cannot come into operation in a case like this. However, it is unnecessary for us to give a final opinion in this matter, as we feel that there has been no issue in the proceedings before the tribunal and no final adjudication of this matter except casual observations which are not based on the material before it.

15. There is also another reason why no effect could be given to the argument pressed upon us by Sri Srinivasamurthi. it should be remembered that the award, in which the statements in question were made, is under appeal to the Supreme Court and the whole award was stayed by their lordships subject to certain terms and conditions agreed upon between the parties. As such, this question is at large. In these circumstances, it is futile to contend that the observations in question should have the effect of debarring the muttah workers from claiming the benefits under the Payment of Wages Act.

16. Lastly, we do not think that this is a fit case in which the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution could be exercised. It could not be overlooked that the authority under the Payment of Wages Act has not so far gone into any question except the preliminary issue raised by the petitioner. Even without filing a counter as regards the merits of the application of the workers, the petitioner has formulated the objection which is now pressed upon us. It should be remembered that there has been no final adjudication, so far, on any issue. The authority has merely considered the preliminary issue raised by the petitioner. There has been no Investigation of facts, and in fact, we do not even know the nature of the work performed by the muttah workers or the relationship that exists between them and the management.

17. It is also pertinent to note that the regional inspector of factories, after a preliminary investigation, decided that they were workmen entitled to leave with wages. We are not here concerned with the nature and effect of that adjudication. We are referring to this only for the purpose of showing that the tribunal on an earlier occasion did not nave all the material before it. Be that as it may, there is time enough for the petitioner, i.e., the management, to agitate all these questions when the matter is fully gone into by the authority. Even on this ground, we have to dismiss this petition.

18. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed with costs. Advocates' fee Rs. 200.


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