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State of U.P. and ors. Vs. the Muir Mills Co. Ltd. and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Appeal Nos. 319 and 530 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1967All284; [1968(16)FLR13]; (1967)IILLJ598All
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 7 and 11
AppellantState of U.P. and ors.
RespondentThe Muir Mills Co. Ltd. and anr.
Appellant AdvocateStanding Counsel
Respondent AdvocateC.S.P. Singh and ;J.N. Tewari, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....the mills was such as would enable it to bear the additional burden imposed, the conciliation officer had no jurisdiction to direct an increase in wages. the workmen in that case were demanding increase in wages on the ground that the company was prosperous and was well able to shoulder the additional burden in the shape of increased wages'.in the case before us additional wages were demanded by the workmen and granted by the conciliationofficer on the ground that the intensity of the work of the doffers had increased and they had also to do some work for which they were not originally engaged, though that work was confined to the regular working hours. the workmen (1962)iillj744sc ,where the increase in the wages was claimed on the ground that 'the appellant company was in a very..........was made at the instance of the workmen. the complaint of the workers is that the work load on the doffers working in the muir mills company limited, kanpur (hereinafter referred to as the mills) has increased and the work which was being done formerly by eight doffers, is now being done by four doffers and for that reason the doffers were entitled to an increase in their wages. 3. sri raghudatt pant, the conciliation officer, framed the following three issues: 1. have the employers reduced the number of doffers after 31st july 1955? 2. has there been an increase after 31st july 1955 in the speed of the machines with the result that more doffs are produced from the machines? 3. have additional duties been assigned to doffers after 31st july 1955? 4. sri pant answered issue no. 1.....
Judgment:

Jagdish Sahai, J.

1. By means of these two connected special appeals the judgment of V.D. Bhargava. J. dated 14-3-1961 is challenged. Special Appeal No. 319 of 1961 has been filed by the State of U. P., the Conciliation Officer and the Assistant Labour Commissioner, U. P., Kanpur Region, while special appeal No. 580 of 1961 has been filed by the workmen of the Muir Mills Company Limited Kanpur.

2. On the 9th of January 1957 the State Government referred a dispute to the Conciliation Officer, U. P., to the following affect :

'Whether the employers have wrongfully and/or unjustifiably increased the work load of their doffers mentioned in the annexure with effect from July 31, 1957? If so, to what relief, if any, are the workmen concerned entitled?'

The reference was made at the instance of the workmen. The complaint of the workers is that the work load on the doffers working in the Muir Mills Company Limited, Kanpur (hereinafter referred to as the Mills) has increased and the work which was being done formerly by eight doffers, is now being done by four doffers and for that reason the doffers were entitled to an increase in their wages.

3. Sri Raghudatt Pant, the Conciliation Officer, framed the following three issues:

1. Have the employers reduced the number of doffers after 31st July 1955?

2. Has there been an increase after 31st July 1955 in the speed of the machines with the result that more doffs are produced from the machines?

3. Have additional duties been assigned to doffers after 31st July 1955?

4. Sri Pant answered issue No. 1 against the workmen, in favour of the mills and held that the number of doffers remained the same. On issue No. 2 the finding of Sri Pant is that in room No. 1 there has been increase in the work of doffing and that justice demanded that there should be an increase in the wages of doffing. The award is in Hindi and the words used are

^^bu lc ckrks dks /;ku es j[krsgq;s eSaa bl fu.kZ; dks U;k;laxr ekurk gwa fd 31 tqykbZ 1955 ls gok?kj dejk ua-1 esa MkfQax ds dk;Z esa o`f) gqbZ gS bl o`f) dks vuqfpr jkaxQqy rks ugh dgktk ldrk D;ksafd vkB ?kUVs ls vf/kd dke ugha fy;k tk jgk gS A rnuq:i oru o`f) dsfcuk dk;ZHkkj c< ugha gSa A Lej.kjgs fd MkQj dh vekuh Vkbe jsV osru feyrk gS] tks dk;ZHkkj ds ?kVus cWestern India Automobile Association v. The Industrial Tribunal Bombay that an industrial tribunal can ignore a contract between the employer and the employee and make a new contract which either of the two parties is unwilling to enter into.

It is well settled that industrial adjudication does not mean adjudication according to the strict law of master and servant. An adjudicator's award might contain provisions for settlement of a dispute which no court administering ordinary law could order. Industrial tribunals are not fettered by the limitations under which an ordinary Court has to act. The scope of an adjudication under the Act is also much wider than that of an arbitrator making an award. See J. K. Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. v. Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, : (1956)ILLJ227SC . Its roots are in social justice and industrial harmony and it has been held that social justice is not based on contractual relations and is not to be enforced on the principle of contract of service. It is something outside these principles, and is invoked to do justice without a contract to back it. See (supra) and Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh Parel Bombay v. Appbllo Mills Ltd. : (1960)IILLJ263SC . There is also good authority for the proposition that in construction of a wage structure in a given case industrial adjudication does take into account to some extent considerations of right and wrong, propriety and impropriety, fairness and unfairness. See Standard Vacuum Refining Co. of India v. Its Workmen. : (1961)ILLJ227SC .

12. These being the principles which govern the adjudication of a labour dispute, the question to consider is whether the award of the Conciliation Officer was with jurisdiction in so far that he directed the payment of Rs. 3 per month over his salary to every doffer working in room No. 1. We have already pointed out that there is a clear finding recorded by the Conciliation Officer that the doffers were required to do some other kind of work also for which they were not recruited and which they did not do till 31st of July 1955. There is also a clear finding that even though the working hours (8 hours a day) were not increased, the speed or the intensity of work has increased. On the basis of these findings the Conciliation Officer concluded that it was only just and fair and it would also ensure industrial peace if every doffer working in room No. 1 was given a sum of Rs. 3 per month in addition to what he was getting as his salary.

In our judgment the Conciliation Officer, in the circumstances of the case, acted within his jurisdiction in giving the award that he gave. His findings are based on evidence and there is no mistake of law apparent on the face of the record. It is true that a labour Court cannot act beyond the provisions of the statute that created it and cannot act like a benevolent despot. See : (1956)ILLJ227SC (supra). We are, however, satisfied that the Conciliation Officer has not done so in the present case A doffer is a specialised worker who is engaged to do a particular kind of work and if he is asked to do another kind of work also, though within the fixed working hours, he certainly is entitled to get some compensation for it.

13. Learned counsel for the mills, relying upon Airlines Hotel (Private) Ltd. Bombay v. Its Workmen : (1961)ILLJ663SC , strenuously contended that in the absence of a finding that he was satisfied that the financial condition of the mills was such as would enable it to bear the additional burden imposed, the Conciliation Officer had no jurisdiction to direct an increase in wages. Learned counsel also contended that inasmuch as there is no finding by the Conciliation Officer that other companies, similarly situated, were paying the amounts awarded by the Conciliation Officer, he had no jurisdiction to direct the payment of Rs. 3/- per month each to the doffers in question.

14. In our judgment there is no substance in either of the two submissions made by the learned counsel for the mills. In the present case the doffers were not asking for and the Conciliation Officer did not award the additional payment of Rs. 3/- per month each on the ground that for the same work higher wages were required, as was the case in : (1961)ILLJ663SC (supra) relied upon on behalf of the mills. The workmen in that case were demanding increase in wages on the ground that the company was prosperous and was well able to shoulder the additional burden in the shape of increased wages'. In the case before us additional wages were demanded by the workmen and granted by the ConciliationOfficer on the ground that the intensity of the work of the doffers had increased and they had also to do some work for which they were not originally engaged, though that work was confined to the regular working hours.

In these circumstances the Conciliation Officer thought that it was a case where social justice demanded a slight increase in the salary. In our judgment the award is not invalid merely because the Conciliation Officer did not go into the question of the financial position of the mills The question regarding the financial position of the employer would be relevant in cases where bonus is claimed on the ground that the labour should share the extra profits when increase is claimed without there being any change in the nature of the work or the work load of the workmen.

15. There is no evidence to show that the conditions existing in the mills with regard to the doffers also exist in other textile mills at Kanpur or in the Kanpur region. Besides, it is necessary to compare wage scale prevailing in similar concerns in the region only when increase is demanded on the ground of sharing the additional profits in the shape of bonus or on the ground of higher cost of living or on the ground that the company is 'in a very flourishing condition and therefore the wage-scales should be revised,' but not in a case where the increase is claimed and awarded on the ground that the workmen are also required to do work for which they were not originally recruited and that the intensity of their work has increased. We, therefore, find no substance in the second submission also of the learned counsel for the Mills. In our judgment French Motor Car Co. Ltd. v. The Workmen : (1962)IILLJ744SC , where the increase in the wages was claimed on the ground that 'the appellant company was in a very flourishing condition and therefore the wage scales should be revised' and was awarded on the ground that 'there has been a large increase in the cost of living since 1955', is clearly distinguishable.

16. No other submission has been made before us'.

17. For the reasons mentioned above we allow these special appeals, set aside the judgment of V.D. Bhargava J. dated 14-3-1961 and dismiss writ petition No. 733 of 1958, with costs.


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