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imperial Electric Trading Co., Aligarh Vs. Industrial Tribunal (ii), U.P., Allahabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 5195 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1969All242; [1968(17)FLR420]
ActsUttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 6(I)(3)
Appellantimperial Electric Trading Co., Aligarh
Respondentindustrial Tribunal (ii), U.P., Allahabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Kacker and ;V.K. Mehrotra, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....that no officer of the union shall be entitled to represent any party unless the union has been registered for one trade only. could not be said to have been registered for one trade only for it has as its members the workers of the metal industries as well as the workers of the petitioner..........company workers union, sometimes in 1956; and the said union was registered with the registrar of trade unions, u. p., kanpur. sometimes in 1961 this union made radical amendments to its constitution and changed its name to dhatu udyog maz-door sangh, aligarh (hereinafter referred to as 'd.u.m.s.'.in this union all workers employed in the metal industries of aligarh were entitled to join. according to the allegation of the petitioner company, one chandra bhan, the secretary of d.u.m.s., filed an application before the additional regional conciliation officer, aligarh, on 7th march 1963, claiming two months' bonus for each workman of the company for the year 1961-62. the company filed objections contending, inter and, that the d.u.m.s or its secretary were incompetent to raise any.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R.L. Gulati, J.

1. This writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution has been filed by Messrs. Imperial Electric Trading Co. of Aligarh, to challenge an order dated 6th November, 1963, passed by the Industrial Tribunal (II), Allahabad.

2. The petitioner is a partnership concern carrying on the business of manufacture and sale of electrical goods in the name and style of Messrs. Imperial Electric Trading Co. (hereinafter called 'the company'). The company has alleged and the same has not been denied that it produces electric table lamps, wall and ceiling fittings, out of brass circules, pipes, electric wires, switches, glass and plastic shades purchased and imported from outside and that it does not carry on any moulding or casting of any metal goods in the factory. The total number of workers employed by the company at the material time was 25, who had formed themselves into a union known as Imperial Electric Trading Company Workers Union, sometimes in 1956; and the said union was registered with the Registrar of Trade Unions, U. P., Kanpur. Sometimes in 1961 this union made radical amendments to its constitution and changed its name to Dhatu Udyog Maz-door Sangh, Aligarh (hereinafter referred to as 'D.U.M.S.'.

In this union all workers employed in the metal industries of Aligarh were entitled to join. According to the allegation of the petitioner company, one Chandra Bhan, the Secretary of D.U.M.S., filed an application before the Additional Regional Conciliation Officer, Aligarh, on 7th March 1963, claiming two months' bonus for each workman of the company for the year 1961-62. The company filed objections contending, inter and, that the D.U.M.S or its secretary were incompetent to raise any dispute with regard to the petitioner's workmen, inasmuch as the D.U.M.S. represented the workmen of the metal industries only. As no settlement could be arrived between the petitioner and the D.U.M.S., the State of Uttar Pradesh by a notification No. 613 (LC)/XVIII-LA-33 (ARG)/1963, dated 9th August 1963, referred the following matter for adjudication to the Industrial Tribunal (II), U. P., Allahabad.

'Should the employers be required to pay bonus to their workmen for the year 1961-62tending on October 28 1962)? If so, at what rate and with what other details?'

When the Tribunal took cognizance of the dispute, the petitioner raised a preliminary objection to the effect that the D.U.M.S. was not entitled to sponsor the dispute on behalf of the workmen of the petitioner company and as such the reference itself was incompetent. The company challenged the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to adjudicate upon the reference made by the State of Uttar Pradesh. The D.U.M.S. filed its written statement through one Chander Singh, its Joint Secretary. At the request of the company the Tribunal proceeded to decide the preliminary objection before embarking on the adjudication of the dispute which related to the payment of bonus. The Tribunal framed the following two issues on the preliminary objections of the company:

'(1) Is the Dhatu Union Mazdoor Sangh, Aligarh, competent to sponsor the case of the workmen concerned? If not, what is its effect?

(2) Have the workmen espoused their own cause properly?

After the parties had filed their written statement and led other evidence, the Tribunal by its order dated 6th November, 1963, rejected the preliminary objection. It is against this order of the Tribunal that the present writ petition is directed.

3. The Tribunal has accepted the fact that the members of the D.U.M.S. are the workers employed in Metal Industries of Aligarh, but it has expressed the opinion that the petitioner company can also be said to be engaged in metal industry inasmuch as it employs metal as its raw material. According to the Tribunal, it is the raw material employed which would determine the nature of the trade rather than the finished goods produced by the company. The D.U.M.S. was, therefore, competent to take up the cause of the workers of the petitioner company. The Tribunal has further held that the workmen of the petitioner company had espoused their own cause and that D.U.M.S. was merely representing them which it was competent to do under Section 6-I (3) of the U. P. Industrial Disputes Act.

4. The view taken by the Tribunal on both the issues is manifestly erroneous. In order that a dispute between an employer and its workmen may assume the nature of an industrial dispute, it is necessary that the dispute must be sponsored by the union of the workers of the company concerned or by a union of the workers employed in a similar or allied trade. If these conditions do not exist, any dispute between any employer and its workmen would be only an individual dispute which cannot be referred by the State Government for adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act (See Newspapers Ltd. v. State Industrial Tribunal, U. P., AIR 1957 SC 532.) In that case also the matterhad been taken up by the U. P. Working Journalists' Union, Lucknow, with which the workers concerned had no concern whatsoever and the matter was not taken up by any union of the workers of the company concerned or by any of the employees of similar or allied trades. The Supreme Court in that case quashed the award which had been affirmed by the Labour Tribunal and had been upheld by a Division Bench of this Court on appeal from the decision of a learned Single Judge.

The decision of this Court in J. K. Cotton . v. U. P. Government, AIR 1960 All 734, is also to the same effect. There also a dispute between an employee of the J. K. Cotton Mills, Kanpur, concern engaged in the manufacture of textile, (sic) was taken up by a trade union called the Kanpur Mechanical and Technical Workers' Union. It was held that the Kanpur Mechanical and Technical Workers' Union was not competent to take up the dispute on behalf of a worker of a textile mill.

5. That the nature of the trade of a company engaged in the manufacture and sale of electrical goods is entirely different from the trade of a company engaged in metal industries admits of no doubt whatsoever. It is not the raw material used in the manufacturing process which determines the nature of the trade, but the finished goods produced by the company that are determinative of the nature of the trade carried on by the company. To quote an instance, it is well known that sand is the raw material used in the manufacture of glass and glasswares. But a concern engaged in quarrying sand, cannot be said to be carrying on the same trade as a concern engaged in the manufacture of glass and glasswares. Aluminium is a metal which is used for the manufacture of utensils and is also used in the manufacture of aeroplanes and other aeronautical parts. It would be absurd to say that the manufacture and sale of aluminium-ware is the same as the manufacture of aeroplanes and aeronautical parts.

6. Under Section 2 of the Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951, the Union Government is authorised to take under its control the industries specified in the First Schedule of the said Act. A clear distinction is made in the First Schedule between metallurgical industries noted at Serial No. 1 and the electrical equipments noted at Serial No. 5 of the First Schedule. Under the heading 'Metallurgical Industry' there are two groups. Group A is of ferrous industries and Group B is of non-ferrous industries. Group A itself has seven different industries employing iron as raw material and under Group B there are three industries employing non-ferrous metal as raw material. The industries enumerated in Groups A and B may be called allied industries, but they certainly cannot be called allied industries to the industries mentioned at Serial No. 5 under the heading 'Electrical Equipment Industries.' Under the heading of the Electrical Equipment, there are as many as eleven different industries according to the nature of the electrical goods manufactured. The view of the Tribunal, therefore, that the trade carried on by the petitioner company was similar or allied to the trade carried on by the metal industries is, obviously and palpably wrong. That being so, the D.U.M.S., which has as for its members the workers of metal industries, was not competent to take up the dispute on behalf of the workers of the petitioner company.

7. Now turning to the second question, a reference to Sub-section (3) of Section 6-I of the U. P. Industrial Disputes Act show very clearly that no officer of the union shall be entitled to represent any party unless the union has been registered for one trade only. The manufacture of electrical goods and a metal industry being two separate trades, the D.U.M.S. could not be said to have been registered for one trade only for it has as its members the workers of the metal industries as well as the workers of the petitioner company. Moreover, this union which was formed in 1961 is admittedly not registered. For that reason also it could not represent the workers of the petitioner company.

8. Mr. K. B. Garg, learned counsel for the State, then tried to place reliance upon G. O. No. 646(LL)/XXXVI-B-257(LL) 1954, dated 14-7-1964, which is quoted in the case of J. K. . (supra) at p. 736. It provides for reference of disputes to Conciliation Boards. It further provides that if reference is to be made on behalf of the workmen, it can be made by a registered trade union of workmen or by a Federation of such trade unions or 'where no such union or federation exists in relation to any particular concern or industry, by representatives not more than five in number of the workmen employed in that concern or industry, by election in that behalf by majority of the workmen employed in the concern or industry, as the case may be, at a meeting held for the purpose'.

9. Learned counsel stated that the D.U.M.S. was competent to have as its members the workers of the petitioner company as the company had no separate union or federation of its own and in such a case the G.O. would operate. That may be so, but, according to the G.O., where a particular concern of industry has no union of its own, the workers of the concern can be represented by their own representatives chosen from amongst themselves, and not by a union of a different trade.

10. There is a peculiar feature of this case which may be noticed at this stage. The D.U.M.S. which has been impleaded as the Opp. Party No. 3 in the writ petition has not filed any counter-affidavit nor has it engaged any counsel to represent it before this Court. The petitioner company has alleged that the dispute was not sponsored by any of its workmen, but by the Secretaryof the D.U.M.S., who was not an employee of the petitioner company. The Tribunal has, of course, stated relying on the statement of one Inder Prakash that a resolution was passed by the union in a meeting in which the majority of the workmen were of the petitioner company and they had authorised the D.U.M.S. to represent their ease. However, no copy of any such resolution has been filed and the petitioner company has stated in paragraph 16 of the writ petition that no documentary evidence was filed before the Tribunal either on behalf of the D.U.M.S. or on behalf of the petitioner disclosing that the workmen of the petitioner concerned had at any stage sponsored the dispute relating to the bonus for the year in question either before the Additional Regional Conciliation Officer or before the State of Uttar Pradesh. This allegation of the petitioner has not been properly controverted. In paragraph 11 of the counter-affidavit of Shri K. N. Srivastava, there is a denial which is of a very vague nature. No worker of the petitioner company has filed any affidavit to show that the dispute had in fact been raised or sponsored by the workmen of the petitioner company. Obviously, the workmen of the petitioner company do not seem to be interested in prosecuting this dispute. In these circumstances it is rather strange that the petition is being contested by the State of Uttar Pradesh.

11. As a result of this discussion, it must be held that there was no industrial dispute nor had the same been properly sponsored and the D.U.M.S. was not competent either to sponsor the dispute or to prosecute it as a representative of the workers of the petitioner company. The order of Tribunal dated 6th November, 1963, is, therefore, patently erroneous and has to be quashed.

12. The writ petition is accordinglyallowed. A writ of ccrtiorari shall issuequashing the order of the Industrial Tribunal, Allahabad, dated 6th November 1963,as also the notification No. 613(LC)/XVIII-LA-33(ARG)/1963 dated 9th August, 1963.The petitioner will be entitled to his costsfrom the Opposite Party No. 2.


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