W. Broome, J.
1. The point that arises for decision in this writ petition, which has been referred to us at the instance of a learned stogie Judge is whether a labour court can dismiss an application under Section 6F of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act on the ground of its not having been presented within a reasonable time.
2. The petition is directed against an order of the first labour court, Kanpur, dated 29 September 1963, dismissing an application of a workman named Sri Ram under Section 6F challenging his dismissal with effect from 8 June 1961 by his employer (the Muir Mills Company, Ltd., Kanpur). The petitioner's contention is that the employer had contravened the provisions of Section 6E (2) of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, because it had not applies for permission to dismiss him, despite the fact that a number of industrial disputes were already pending between the concern and its workmen, in which the petitioner was directly interested. At first the State Government was asked to take action, but on 2 February 1962 It refused to make a reference under Section 4K of the Act. Thereafter, on 4 September 1962, Sri Ram himself filed an application under Section 6F; but the labour court, finding that the delay of six or seven months that had elapsed between the refusal of the State Government to make a reference and the filing of this application had not been accounted for, held that Sri Ram was guilty of laches and was, therefore, not entitled to any relief. The application under Section 6F was accordingly dismissed.
3. In Amrita Bazar Patrika (Private), Ltd. v. Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Tribunal and Ors. 1964-II L.L.J. 53, D.D. Seth, J., has expressed the view that
there must be a reasonable period for complaints to be filed under Section 6F of the Act.
and that the tribunal dealing with such a complaint has the power to refuse to entertain it, if it is too balated. But having carefully considered the wording of Section 6F, we find ourselvss, with due reapact, unable to agree with this view. The section runs thus:
Where an employer contravenes the provisions of Section 6F during the pendency of proceedings before a labour court or tribunal, any workman aggrieved by such. contravension may make a complaint in writing in the prescribed manner, to the labour court oil tribunal, as the case may be, and on receipt of such complaint that labour court on tribunal as the case may be shall adjudicate upon complaint as if it were a dispute referred to or pending before it, in accordance with this Act, and shall subject its award to the State Government and the provisions of this Act shall apply accordingly.
It is to be noted that this section lays down that whenever a complaint is made thereunder, the labour court or tribunal receiving such complaint
shall adjudicate upon the complaint as if it were a dispute referred to or pending before it is accordance with this Act.
In the first place, this implies that it is obligatory on the court or tribunal to give a decision on the merits of the complaint, provided, of course, it falls within the ambit of the section; there is nothing in the section to indicate that the court or tribunal has been given the power to throw out the complaint and to refrain from adjudicating on it it, has been filed late, Secondly the words used in the section shows that a complaint under Section 6F has been equated with a reference under Section 4K of the Act, for the complaint has to be adjudicated on by the court or tribunal
as if it were a dispute referred to or pending before it;
and if the court or tribunal has no power to dismiss a reference under Section 4K on the ground that it is belated there, would seem to be no justification for imputing to the court or tribunal the power to dismiss a complaint under Section 6F as such grounds. It has never been suggested that a reference under Section 4K can be thrown out on the score of delay: similarly, therefore, a complaint under Section 6F cannot be disposed of in this manner.
4. In Bombay Gas Company, Ltd. v. Gopal Bhiva and Ors. 1963-II L.L.J. 608, the Supreme Court draw a distinction between a claim based on social Justice (such as claim for bonus) and a claim made under Section 33C of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947(for recovery of money or the money value of any benefit capable of being computed in terms of money, due from an employer) and remarked that:
if it appears that a claim for bonus was made after long lapse of time, industrial adjudication may refuse to entertain the claim, or Government may refuse to make reference in that behalf. But these considerations would be irrelevant when claims are made under Section 33C(2) where these claims are, as in the present, case, based on an award and are intended merely to execute the award. Id such a case, limitation cannot be introduced by industrial adjudication on academic ground of social justice. It can introduced, if at all, by the legislature.
A dispute raised under Section 6F of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Dispute Act is clearly not to be placed on a par with a claim for bonus, which, as pointed out by the Supreme Court,
is entertained on grounds of social justice and is not based on any statutory provision.
It would appear therefore that, in conformity with the view taken by the Supreme Court in the above mentioned case, a claim under Section 6F is not subject to any period of limitation.
5. The result is that both on a consideration of the actual wording of Section 6F of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act and also in view of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Bombay Gas Company case 1963-II L.L.J. 608 (vide supra) we are Battened that a complaint under Section 6F cannot be dismissed merely on the ground of its not having been presented within a reasonable time. This writ petition is accordingly allowed with costs, the impugned order of the labour court, dated 29 September 1963 is quashed and the labour court is directed to readmit the petitioner's application under Section 6F and to dispose of it on the merits.