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Harbanswala Tea Estate Vs. Srivastava (J.N.) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1962)ILLJ682All
AppellantHarbanswala Tea Estate
RespondentSrivastava (J.N.) and ors.
Excerpt:
- - it is well settled on the authority of this court as well as on the decision of the supreme court that in order to entitle a petitioner to obtain relief in a writ petition, it is not sufficient that there has been an error of law or that there is want of jurisdiction......which the learned single judge took of the matter. we do not think that in taking that view, the learned judge was not right.6. the learned single judge went on to state that even if it was assumed that any irregularity was committed by the arbitrator in allowing the workmen to be represented by a union during the course of the proceedings before him, that was not sufficient to vitiate the proceedings before him. the learned judge also went on to observe that despite that irregularity no serious prejudice had been caused with regard to the merits of the matter to the petitioner. we are inclined to agree with both the reasons given by the learned single judge for not setting aside the award.7. when the learned single judge observed that no serious prejudice was caused to the petitioner,.....
Judgment:

Brijlal Gupta, J.

1. This is a special appeal under the rules of Court challenging the decision of a learned single Judge on a writ petition.

2. The writ petition was filed for quashing the award of an arbitrator under the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, It appears that there was a dispute between the petitioner and its six workmen, who are respondents 2 to 7 in the special appeal. The workmen appear to have been penalized by certain orders of the petitioner. The petitioner and its workmen entered into an agreement for arbitration of the dispute by the regional conciliation officer. The agreement was drawn up in a form prescribed under the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act. There was a column in this form headed 'Name of the union, if any,representing workmen in question. 'Against this column the word 'none' was entered.

3. In due course the parties appeared before the arbitrator and an award was pronounced. During the course of proceedings before the arbitrator the six workmen came to be represented by a union. The petitioner raised an objection before the arbitrator that the representation of the workmen by the union was contrary to the terms of reference, The arbitrator overruled the objection on the ground that under Rule 40 of the rules under the Act such a representation was permissible. In due course the arbitrator gave his award. After the application of the petitioner raising the objection regarding representation of the workmen by the union was rejected, the petitioner did not withdraw from arbitration proceedings and allowed the proceedings to go on and result in an award.

4. In the writ petition which was filed in this Court challenging the validity of the award, several points were taken by the petitioner. One of the points was that as the dispute was concerned only with six Individual workmen and, as under the agreement of reference the six Individual workmen were not represented by a union, the dispute did not amount to an 'industrial dispute.' The point was overruled by the learned single Judge on the ground that, apart from the facts which have already been stated above, there was the additional fact that subsequent to the imposition of penalty by the petitioner on the six workmen, the cause of the workmen was taken up by about one hundred and fifty workmen and a representation by these one hundred and fifty workmen was made to the petitioner for reinstatement of the six workmen. The learned single Judge came to the conclusion after consideration of the provisions of the Act and the circumstances of the case that there was an 'Industrial dispute' between the parties. This point has been reiterated before us by Sri S.N. Kacker, learned Counsel for the petitioner. He relied, in support of his contention, on a decision of the Supreme Court reported in Newspapers, Ltd. v. State Industrial Tribunal, Uttar Pradesh and Ors. 1957--II L.L.J. 1. That was a case of an individual workman. The individual workman was not represented by the union of the company of which he was an employee or of union of workers of allied trades. The cause was taken up by some association with which the workman in that case had no connexion whatsoever. On those facts the Supreme Court laid down that in the circumstances It could not be said having regard to the provisions of the Act that the dispute of that individual was within the meaning of an 'industrial dispute' under the Act. The circumstances in the present case are materially different. There is plurality of workmen which raised the dispute. Their cause was taken up by a very large number of employees, namely one hundred and fifty employees of the petitioner. We have examined the definition of the words 'industrial dispute, 'and' workmen' in the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act and we are of the opinion that the learned single Judge was right in his conclusion that thedispute in the present instance must be held to be an 'industrial dispute.'

5. The only other point which has been seriously urged by learned Counsel for the petitioner is that by reason of the representation by a union before the arbitrator, the proceedings have been vitiated. Undoubtedly so far as the written agreement for reference is concerned, it appears that at the time when that agreement was entered into, the factual position was that no union represented these six workmen. This, however, is very different from saying that the mention of this fact that at that time the workmen were not represented by any union puts any fetters or limitation upon the powers of the arbitrator in regard to this matter, or that if subsequently during the course of the proceedings the workmen were represented by a union that would affect the award. That was the view which the learned single Judge took of the matter. We do not think that in taking that view, the learned Judge was not right.

6. The learned single Judge went on to state that even if it was assumed that any irregularity was committed by the arbitrator in allowing the workmen to be represented by a union during the course of the proceedings before him, that was not sufficient to vitiate the proceedings before him. The learned Judge also went on to observe that despite that irregularity no serious prejudice had been caused with regard to the merits of the matter to the petitioner. We are inclined to agree with both the reasons given by the learned single Judge for not setting aside the award.

7. When the learned single Judge observed that no serious prejudice was caused to the petitioner, it must be taken to be implied in the observation that the view which the learned Judge took was that even if there might have been an error of law, no injustice had been caused by the irregularity of the proceedings to the petitioner. It is well settled on the authority of this Court as well as on the decision of the Supreme Court that in order to entitle a petitioner to obtain relief in a writ petition, it is not sufficient that there has been an error of law or that there is want of jurisdiction. It has to be shown in addition that there has been manifest injustice. On this point the latest decision of this Court is reported in Sripat Narain Rai v. Board of Revenue : AIR1960All93 . On this ground also the appellant is bound to fall.

8. The matter may be looked at from another point of view. It is not denied that at an early stage of proceedings before the arbitrator an objection was taken to the representation by the union. That objection was rejected by the arbitrator. The petitioner did not withdraw from the proceedings but continued to take part in the proceedings. The proceedings before the arbitrator terminated very long after the rejection of the objection made by the petitioner. From this it follows that the petitioner took the chance of a favourable decision by the arbitrator in his favour despite his objection regarding the representation of the workmen by the union having been dismissed. The petitioner came to this Court only after the decision of the arbitrator had gone against it. We are of the view that in such a situation the petitioner is disentitled to any relief. In a sense he waived his objection or acquiesced in the proceedings before the arbitrator. This principle has been laid down in Kailash Nath Halwai v. The Registrar, Co-operative Society, Uttar Pradesh and Ors. 1960 A.L.J.R. 20.

9. Sri S.N. Kacker, learned Counsel for the petitioner, states that according to the case of the petitioner, the arbitrator did not reject the petitioner's objection regarding representation by the union then and there but only when he came to make the award. It is admitted by Sri Kacker that this position is contested on behalf of the respondents. According to the respondents the representation was rejected soon after it was made. This is a disputed question of fact and it is not possible for us to go into it. We can only proceed upon what has been stated on behalf of the respondents in this matter or not at all.

10. For ail these reasons, we reject this Special Appeal summarily.


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