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Workmen of Rice and Oil Mills (Rice, Oil and Mica Workers Union) Vs. Industrial Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1959)ILLJ563AP
AppellantWorkmen of Rice and Oil Mills (Rice, Oil and Mica Workers Union)
Respondentindustrial Tribunal and ors.
Excerpt:
- - a, b and c, would show detailed figures of the demands of the workmen of the aforesaid mills in dispute and also the net turn over, profits earned by the employers as well as the properties they have acquired as a consequence thereof. 6 and it has been argued that the tribunal has not referred to its contents which clearly show the kalasia to be under the control of the employers as notice to dismiss had been issued by the document. therefore all arguments pressed against the conclusion of the tribunal regarding kalasis not being workmen under section 2(s) of the industrial disputes act fail......overlooked the case of other workers. i find the following passage in the second paragraph of the award:the employers' witnesses 1 and 2 have deposed that they are paying the minimum wages of re. 1 to the mazdoor (called kalasi here) and that though re. 1-2-0 has been fixed as minimum wages for oilman, they are paying re. 1-4-0 to them. in the circumstances i do not feel the need of countenancing the demand for dearness allowance.7. again in para. 5 the following words occur:the permanent workmen are paid from rs. 30 to 45 per month and the demand is for an increase of 25 no. in the daily wage and 50 no. in the dearness allowance. this itself shows that what was contemplated in the statement of claim and its schedules was the increment in the wages and dearness allowance of the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Mohammed Ahmed Ansari, J.

1. The petitioners claim to be the workmen of the rice and oil mills at Kothavalasa through their union, which is called Rice, Oil and Mica Workers Union. They seek to vacate the award by the industrial tribunal, which has been published in the Gazette of 24 July 1958. Two issues had been referred for adjudication to the tribunal. They are :

(1) Whether the demand of the workmen for enhancing of wages and dearness allowance is justified.

(2) Whether the demand of the workmen for the payment of bonus for the year 1955-56 is justified. If so, what should be the quantum of bonus ?

2. In the first paragraph of the claim petition to the tribunal it is stated that the annexure to the statement, Schuss. A, B and C, would show detailed figures of the demands of the workmen of the aforesaid mills in dispute and also the net turn over, profits earned by the employers as well as the properties they have acquired as a consequence thereof. Schedule A appears to be divided into two parts. The first contains eight items and each mentions a distinct class of workers. The other part contains only kaiasis. The tribunal by the award, which the petitioners seek to quash, has held that the need of countenancing the demands for dearness allowance was not established. It has in Para. 2 of the award further found that the minimum wages were being paid to the workmen. As regards the second issue, the two grounds for justifying the claims to bonus have been found to be absent; for the tribunal has found the demands not only to be belated; but the surplus, out of which the bonus were to be paid, not to be established. The tribunal has also added a further ground for rejecting the kalasis' claim. It has found that they were not workers under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, and therefore their claims could not be adjudicated by the tribunal.

3. The counsel for the writ petitioners has urged before me that the award has erred in holding the kalasis not to be workers, firstly because no such plea was taken in the employers' written statement and secondly because the finding has been reached in disregard of the relevant evidence on the record. Particular emphasis has been placed on Ex. W. 6 and it has been argued that the tribunal has not referred to its contents which clearly show the kalasia to be under the control of the employers as notice to dismiss had been issued by the document. That apart, it has been urged that the two findings on the issues by the tribunal are vitiated by the error apparent on the record, inasmuch as the tribunal has proceeded to decide as though the kalasis were the only persons who were claiming the enhanced wages and bonus, whereas Sum. A to the claim contained eight classes of other workers.

4. It cannot however be disputed that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 is very much circumscribed for it is generally exercised only where the order of the inferior tribunal be without or in excess of, jurisdiction, or where it be tainted with error of law apparent on the face of the record, or where it be in violation of the principles of natural justice. So far as the powers under Article 227 are concerned, these also are limited in scope as the power of supervision is used in order to keep the lower tribunals within the bounds of their jurisdictions or to correct gross violation of principles of natural justice by them. It follows that decisions on facts are generally not interfered with in exercise of powers under either of the two articles. In this connexion I would refer only to Dharangadhra Chemical Works, Ltd. v. State of Saurashtra 1957-I L.L.J. 477, where Sri Bhagwati, J., has held that the jurisdiction under the articles could not be invoked if the finding of facts be supported by evidence. The counsel of the writ petitioners in order to succeed must therefore show the award to be vitiated by one or several of the grounds enumerated above. As regards the decision on kalasis he has urged that there is the legal error apparent on the face of the record, because the conclusion is arrived at in disregard of the relevant evidence in the case. In support of this argument he relies on Burmah Shell Company v. L.A. Tribunal1957 Madras 60. This argument does not appeal to me. Ex. W-6 does show notice of dismissal as having been issued, but as against this evidence there is the deposition by M.W. 3 that the mills had no supervision over the kalasis. There are also parts of the deposition of W. W. 2, which forms a basis of the conclusion concerning the kalasis not being under the supervision of the mill owners. It is therefore clear that some evidence does exist to support the conclusions reached by the tribunal and the probability of a different conclusion by me on the material is no ground for intereference by writ of certiorari. It follows that there is some evidence to support the decision concerning supervision and the latter is decision of fact. It further follows that because the finding of fact is supported by some evidence, no error of law arise.

5. The next argument is that the conclusion of kalasis, not being workers, was in violation of principles of natural justice as no such plea was raised in the written statement. I was at first impressed with the argument, because not affording a party a fair opportunity of meeting the case which is going to be pressed against him, is against cannons of fair play. Therefore a decision secured by surprise can hardly be one in conformity with the principles of natural justice. The counsel for the respondent however has drawn my attention to the sequence in which the evidence have been produced before the tribunal. It appears that on 2 May 1958, the memorandum relied upon by the writ petitioners was produced. Thereafter the employers' witnesses were examined On 5 May 1958, the workers examined three witnesses and next day two more witnesses. It is therefore clear that the writ petitioners have had a fair opportunity of meeting the case the employers were putting against them about the kalasis as not being workers. Therefore any decision on the evidence so produced can hardly be treated as vitiated by surprise. Therefore all arguments pressed against the conclusion of the tribunal regarding kalasis not being workmen under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act fail.

6. There remains the further plea of the award being vitiated because it has overlooked the case of other workers. I find the following passage in the second paragraph of the award:

The employers' witnesses 1 and 2 have deposed that they are paying the minimum wages of Re. 1 to the mazdoor (called kalasi here) and that though Re. 1-2-0 has been fixed as minimum wages for oilman, they are paying Re. 1-4-0 to them. In the circumstances I do not feel the need of countenancing the demand for dearness allowance.

7. Again in Para. 5 the following words occur:

The permanent workmen are paid from Rs. 30 to 45 per month and the demand Is for an increase of 25 no. in the daily wage and 50 no. in the dearness allowance. This itself shows that what was contemplated in the statement of claim and its schedules was the increment in the wages and dearness allowance of the dailyrated workmen. As such the demand does not extend to monthly paid permanent workmen. It is not even specified what increments they require in the monthly wages.

8. The aforesaid extracts show that the claim of the other workers was also presented to the tribunal when decisions on the two issues were being given and the argument of their claims having been overlooked fails. For these reasons I hold that sufficient grounds have not been made out to allow this writ petition. It is accordingly dismissed with costs to the party respondent. Advocate's fee Rs. 50.


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