1. This is a petition under Article 226, of the Constitution of India for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order, dated 7 June 1957, of the Industrial Tribunal, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad.
2. The petitioners are the workmen of the Hyderabad District Board, Saroonagar, which has been cited as the respondent 2. The respondent 1 is the industrial tribunal.
3. The learned Government Pleader has represented to me that he was not instructed ho appear for the respondent 1, as in the opinion of the Government the district board which was really the contesting party would appear before me and make such representations as it may deem fit. But I find that though it has been served, the board has taken no steps to get it represented by counsel. A counter also has not been filed.
4. The petitioners claim to be the workmen under the District Board, Hyderabad. 'Between the workmen and the employees of She District Board, Hyderabad, and the employer there were certain disputes. One of such disputes was the continuance of Interim relief to Kamatees and Kamatans. By an order dated 1 June 1955 the dispute between the workmen and the district board was referred to the industrial tribunal and registered as industrial dispute No. 10 of 1955. An award was passed in that dispute on 10 January 1956. The workmen filed an appeal. Four issues were framed. The findings of the industrial tribunal with respect to the first three issues were not disturbed by the Labour Appellate Tribunal, Bombay. But with respect to the fourth and the last issue regarding the interim relief to the Kamatees and the Kamatans, the Labour Appellate Tribunal, Bombay, framed two issues for reconsideration by the Industrial Tribunal, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad. Those two issues are in these terms :
(1) Whether having regard to the total emoluments being drawn from time to time by the Kamatees and Kamatans concerned in Case No. 10 of 1955, the interim relief, which was being previously given to them for some time, Should be continued to be paid to them, either wholly or in part, taking into consideration all the relevant factors which should be taken into account in fixing the emoluments of such workers, including the wages prevailing in such employment taken zone and industry wise, the nature of work performed by the workers concerned, their requirements and also the financial position and capacity of the employer to meet the claim for such additional remuneration.
(2) If so, from what date such additional remuneration should be paid, having regard to the fact that the reference was made by the State Government on 1 June 1955.
5. After remand the parties adduced evidence and the case was argued before the learned Chairman, Industrial Tribunal, Hyderabad. Saroonagar, Amberpet and Saidabad would originally appear to form part of the Sarf-e-Khas of his Exalted Highness the Nizam. The abovementioned areas were amalgamated with the Diwani and brought under the Hyderabad District Board. In 1946 there were certain recommendations made by the Technical Wages Committee with respect to the emoluments of the employees. By an order dated 25 January 1950 of the then Labour Minister, the salaries of the employees were increased to Rs. 20-25 for both the sexes and an interim relief of Rs. 8-8-0 was also sanctioned. Subsequently, it would appear that with respect to Saroonagar the Government wanted to make it a panchayat village and, among other things, the interim relief of the workers was stopped by the Finance Department. The workers now claim that the interim relief should not have been stopped.
6. In this petition we are concerned only with the interim relief to Kamatees and Kamatans. The learned chairman of the tribunal in a carefully considered order found that there was a disparity in the wages paid to the Kamatees and Kamatans of Saroonagar and that they suffer by comparison with the workers of the Municipal Corporation or the factory workers. But he held that they are better off when compared to the district board workers and that having regard to the nature of their work, their requirements and the financial position of the Hyderabad District Board, the continuance of the interim relief to them is not called for. It is this decision that is challenged in this writ petition.
7. A writ of certiorari will be issued by this Court only if there is an excess of jurisdiction, in the sense, that the tribunal, whose decision is sought to be removed and quashed, assumed a power which it did not possess in law, or for an error of law made manifest on the record, or where principles of natural justice had been violated. There can be no question of any error of jurisdiction in this case. Nor can there be any question of infringement of principles of natural justice, as I am satisfied that the learned chairman has given every opportunity to the workers as well as the employers to adduce evidence, oral and documentary, and has carefully considered their representations. The only ground upon which this writ can be sustained is an error of law apparent on the face of the record.
8. Mr. Kulkarni, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, contends that there is such an error. His argument is that the learned chairman was bound to consider issue (1) in all its implications, which he, had not done in this case. It is conceded by Mr. Kulkarni that the financial capacity of the employer, the nature of the work performed by the petitioners, the wages and emoluments including the interim relief drawn by the workers more or less similar, are no doubt relevant circumstances. But what is argued is that the learned chairman failed to consider the question as to whether the financial resources of employer are such that would negative the claim of the petitioners for the continuance of the interim relief in its entirety. Issue (1) clearly states that the question that the tribunal had to consider was whether the interim relief should be continued to be paid to the workers, either wholly or in part. It is argued that the tribunal did not consider the question whether the petitioners are entitled to the continuance at least of a part of an interim relief. In this case it is clear that the interim relief was being paid to the petitioners for some time. That question would not appear to have been considered by the tribunal.
9. It seems to me that while the approach of the tribunal to the questions that it had to decide is quite correct, it has failed and neglected to consider whether if the petitioners are not entitled to the whole of the interim relief they are also not entitled at least to a portion. In that view, I think there is some basis in the complaint of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that there is an error apparent on the face of the record.
10. The present award is, therefore, set aside and the industrial tribunal is directed to consider also the question whether the facts in this case do not justify the continuance of the Interim relief at least in part. The petition therefore is allowed. The petitioners are entitled to their costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.