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Workmen of Aligarh Electric Supply Company Ltd. and anr. Vs. Aligarh Electric Supply Company Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)IILLJ839All
AppellantWorkmen of Aligarh Electric Supply Company Ltd. and anr.
RespondentAligarh Electric Supply Company Ltd. and ors.
Excerpt:
- - the labour court held that the burden of proving that the dispute was an industrial dispute lay upon the party invoking the jurisdiction of the labour court, and that since no evidence was led by the workmen they had failed to discharge the burden. consequently, holding that the dispute was an individual dispute and not an industrial dispute, and that it bad no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon it, the labour court gave an award dismissing the case of the workmen......unable to agree with the view expressed in this case. when an industrial dispute u referred by the state government for adjudication to the labour court, it cannot be said that the workmen are invoking its jurisdiction. it is the state government which refers the dispute and it is this reference which confers jurisdiction upon the labour court. if it can at all be said, it is the state government which invokes the jurisdiction of the labour court. it is true that the labour court is entitled to go into the question whether the dispute referred to it is an industrial dispute or not but onoe the state government has come to the opinion that there is an industrial dispute and refers it for adjudication, prima facie an industfflal dispute exists. in such olrcumstanoes, it would be for the.....
Judgment:

G.C. Mathur, J.

1. By order dated 22 April 1961, the State Government, In exercise of Its powers under Section 4K of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, referred for adjudication to the labour court at Meerut, the following matter of dispute:

Should the employers be required to put their workmen, named In the annexure, in the scale of Rs. 55-4-102-E.B.-5-125 If so, with effect from what date and with what other details?

In the annexure two workmen, B. D. Sri vastava and Inder Deo, were named. Before the labour court management raised an objection that the dispute was an Individual dispute and not an Industrial dispute. A preliminary issue was framed on this objection. Neither of the parties Adduced any evidence on this issue. The labour court held that the burden of proving that the dispute was an industrial dispute lay upon the party invoking the Jurisdiction of the labour court, and that since no evidence was led by the workmen they had failed to discharge the burden. Consequently, holding that the dispute was an individual dispute and not an industrial dispute, and that it bad no Jurisdiction to adjudicate upon it, the labour court gave an award dismissing the case of the workmen. It la this award which has been challenged by the petitioners in this writ petition.

2. The only Question which arises for consideration in this case is whether the labour court was right In its view of the law that the burden of proving whether the dispute referred to it was an industrial dispute or not lay on the workmen is correct or not. The labour court relied upon a decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Sri Kripa Printing Press v. Labour Court and Anr. 1860--1 L.L. J. 53, In this case it was held that the labour court is a statutory tribunal exercising a special jurisdiction and as such when Its Jurisdiction la challenged, It is for the person Invoking its jurisdiction to establish the facts upon which the Jurisdiction rests. With respect, I am unable to agree with the view expressed In this case. When an industrial dispute U referred by the State Government for adjudication to the labour court, it cannot be said that the workmen are invoking its jurisdiction. It is the State Government which refers the dispute and it is this reference which confers jurisdiction upon the labour court. If it can at all be said, it is the State Government which Invokes the jurisdiction of the labour court. It is true that the labour court is entitled to go into the question whether the dispute referred to it is an industrial dispute or not but onoe the State Government has come to the opinion that there is an industrial dispute and refers it for adjudication, prima facie an industfflal dispute exists. In such olrcumstanoes, It would be for the party who challenges the opinion of the State Government and contends that no industrial dispute exists or is apprehended to establish its case. The relevant portion of Section 4K of the Industrial Disputes Act reads thus:

Where the State Government is of opinion that any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended, it may at any time by order in writing refer the dispute ... to a labour court ...

The opening part of the notification malting the reference In the present case Is as follows:

Whereas the Governor of Uttar Pradesh is of opinion that an Industrial dispute between the employers and the workmen of the concern known as the Aligarh Electric Supply Company, Ltd., Aligarh, exists in respect of the matter hereinafter specified, and whereas in the opinion of the Governor it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community and for maintaining employment;

3. It is therefore evident that the State Government had come to the opinion that an industrial dispute existed in respect of the matter of dispute referred for adjudication. It was the management who raised the objection before the labour court that the dispute referred was not an industrial dispute. In my opinion, It was for the management to show that the opinion of the State Government was wrong and that In fact no industrial dispute existed. The burden of showing:, In these circumstances, that the dispute referred was not an Industrial dispute was on the management and was wrongly placed by the labour court upon the workmen. The Punjab High Court has also taken the same view In Kartar Bus Service, Ltd. v. Gurdial Singh and Ors. 1963-- I L.L.J. 231. On account of this error of law the labour court refused to exercise Jurisdiction vested in It.

4. Sri T.N. Sapru appearing for the management attempted to raise a question that respondent 2 was not a union which was competent to represent the workmen at the relevant time and as such It could not by sponsoring the dispute converts an individual dispute into an industrial dispute. He further contended that, in view of this, the union could not have filed this writ petition. This question should initially have been raised before the labour court which alone could investigate the facts. So far as the competence of the union to represent the workmen before the labour court is concerned, the management can still raise that question before the labour court.

5. I accordingly allow this writ petition and quash the award of the labour court dated 28 November 1962. There will be no order as to costs.


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