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Sharda Saran Srivastava (Cinema Employees' Union) and Anr. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. (24.08.1966 - ALLHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1967)IILLJ772All
AppellantSharda Saran Srivastava (Cinema Employees' Union) and Anr.
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh and Ors.
Excerpt:
- - accordingly it held that the reference was bad in law and that it has no jurisdiction to entertain it. but applying the well-known tests of jurisdiction, a court or tribunal would have jurisdiction if the parties reside within jurisdiction or if the subject-matter of the dispute substantially arises within jurisdiction. i shall try to find out whether the second test la satisfied here. at delhi, he was like a bird of passage;.....to transfer petitioner 1 from kanpur to new delhi. the latter did not agree; and there ensued an industrial dispute between the employer and petitioner 2 about the transfer of petitioner 1. the matter went of before the regional conciliation officer, kanpur. before him the parties arrived at an agreement. the agreement was reduced into writing and is annexure i to the petition. the agreement provides for the reinstatement of petitioner 1. ha was posted at delhi for sixty days. after sixty days he was to be sent back to kanpur.3. pursuant to this agreement, petitioner 1 went to delhi and worked there for 58 days. the employer then terminated his service at delhi. thereupon, petitioner 2 raised an industrial dispute at kanpur. the state government then referred to the labour court,.....
Judgment:

S.N. Dwivedi, J.

1. Fllmistan Exhibitors (Private), Ltd,, Delhi, owns several cinema houses situated all over India Including Filmistan Theatres, Kanpur, and New Filmistan Cinema, Model Basti, New Delhi. It also carries on the business of exhibiting films in these cinema houses. Petitioner 1, Sharda Saran Srivastava, was employed as a permanent operator in Fllmlatan Theatres, Kanpur. Petitioner 2, the Cinema Employees' Union, Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur, as Its name indicates, is the union of the employees of cinema houses In this State. Petitioner 1 was its president in 1958.

2. It appears that sometime In 1957 Fllmistan Exhibitors (Private), Ltd, (hereinafter called the employer), purported to transfer petitioner 1 from Kanpur to New Delhi. The latter did not agree; and there ensued an industrial dispute between the employer and petitioner 2 about the transfer of petitioner 1. The matter went of before the Regional Conciliation Officer, Kanpur. Before him the parties arrived at an agreement. The agreement was reduced Into writing and is annexure I to the petition. The agreement provides for the reinstatement of petitioner 1. Ha was posted at Delhi for sixty days. After sixty days he was to be sent back to Kanpur.

3. Pursuant to this agreement, petitioner 1 went to Delhi and worked there for 58 days. The employer then terminated his service at Delhi. Thereupon, petitioner 2 raised an industrial dispute at Kanpur. The State Government then referred to the labour court, Kanpur, the following dispute:

Whether the employers have wrongfully and/or unjustifiably terminated the services of their workman, Sharda Saran Srivastava, with effect from 6 November 1057 If so, to what relief Is the workman entitled?

4. Before the labour court the employer ralaed a preliminary objection. The objection was that the State Government has no jurisdiction to refer, and the labour court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon, the Industrial dispute, ralaed by petitioner 2 about the termination of petitioner 1's services. It was said that the lack of jurisdiction followed from the circumstance that the service of petitioner 1 was terminated at New Delhi and not anywhere in this State. Tae labour court examined this preliminary objection and found it correct. Accordingly It held that the reference was bad in law and that it has no jurisdiction to entertain it. This petition is filed against this award of the labour court.

5. In upholding the objection of the employer the labour court has gone by the provisions of Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act (Central). There Is no doubt that there the labour court went wrong. Tae State Government has referred the industrial dispute not under the Industrial Disputes Act (Central) but under Section 4K of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act. Whether or not the State Government and the labour court have Jurisdiction over the industrial dispute is to be decided on the basis of the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act and not the Industrial Disputea Act (Central). Counsel for the employer could not support the main reasoning of the labour court based on the Industrial Disputes Act (Central). This flaw la the award of the labour court should not however be sufficient to allow the writ petition. Tae question shall remains whether the State Government and the labour court have jurisdiction over the Industrial dispute regarding the termination of petitioner 1's services at New Delhi.

6. It is not disputed by the parties that the question of jurisdiction hinges on the agreement (annexure I). In view of the importance of the -agreement I reproduce It here:

1. The employers ... agree to reinstate Sharda Saran Srivastava at Delhi with effect from 16 August 1957. The aforesaid workman shall not be paid any wages whatsoever for the intervening period of his unemployment up to 15 August 1957.

2. The said employers further agree that after Sharda 43aran Srivastava has actually put in work for sixty working days at Delhi he shall be transferred bank to Kanpur on the same wages which he had been drawing at Kanpur prior to his transfer to Delhi.

3. The terms of this settlement are fully acceptable to the workman and they agree not to agitate on the matter of S. S. Srivaetava's transfer to Delhi and they further agree not to raics any industrial dispute whatsoever with regard to the payment of any wages whatsoever to the aforesaid workman for the entire period of his involuntary unemployment.

7. The agreement is a short one, and its true meaning la to be ascertained in order to decide the question of jurisdiction. la interpreting the document it is necessary to have regard to certain elementary principles of interpretation, The document la to be Interpreted as a whole in order to find out its true meaning. In interpreting its words due weight is to be given to its purpose and context. A word here or there cannot be taken out of it and given a meaning In isolation,

8. It appears from Para. 1 of the agreement that the employer agreed to reinstate petitioner 1 at Delhi. 'To reinstate at Delhi ' is the key expression in the document. I have already mentioned that petitioner 1 was employed as a permanent operator at Kanpur. Ordinarily, his reinstatement would mean his restoration to the post of permanent operator at Kanpur. In S. S. Shetty v. Bharat Nidhi, Ltd. 1957-II L.L.J. 696, the Supreme Court held that the

effect of an order of reinstatement is merely to set at naught the order of wronglal dismissal of the working by the employer and to reinstate him in the service of the employer as if the contract of employment originally entered into had been continuing.

9. I think that It would follow from this observation that petitioner 1 was reinstated to his old job at Kanpur, If the expression 'to reinstate at Delhi' is interpreted in this light, it would appear to be a shorthand for reinstatement of petitioner 1 as an operator at Kanpur and his simultaneous posting as an operator at Delhi. In other words, petitioner 1 remained an employee of the employer at Kanpur. While posted at Delhi, he should be deemed to be as if on deputation. If that is so, I think he would retain his Hen at Kanpur. This Interpretation is strengthened by Para. 2 of the agreement. It la clear from Para. 2 that petitioner 1 was to work at Delhi for only sixty days. After the expiry of sixty days he was to go back to Kanpur. At Kanpur he was to serve permanently. Again, at Kanpur he would draw the same wages which ho had been drawing there prior to his transfer to Delhi. In other words, Para 2 shows that he was relay reinstated to his post at Kanpur. The old contract was revived.

10. On this interpretation of the agreement, it would follow that petitioner 1 was a permanent employee at Kanpur notwithstanding his temporary posting at Delhi. Counsel for the employer has however submitted that the agreement is susceptible of the interpretation that he was reinstated at Delhi and not at Kanpur. Alternatively, although he was reinstated to hailed post at Kanpur, he was transferred from that post to a similar post at Dalai. On his transfer to the similar prth at Delhi, ha ceased to be an employee at Kanpur. Fur the reasons already discussed I find it difficult to angst these alternative arguments, la tile renal I would hold that petitioner 1 of his reinstatement became a permanent employee at Kanpur. Though posted at Delhi, he retained his lien at Kanpur.

11. The Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act lays down no guidance for deciding the question of jurisdiction over industrial disputes. The matter was however considered by the Supreme Court In Indian Cable Co. Ltd. v. Ms workmen 1962-I L.L. J. 409. The Supreme Court said there:

The Act contains no provisions bearing on this question, which must, consequently be decided on the principles governing the jurisdiction of Courts to entertain actions or proceedings.

Dealing with a similar question under the provisions of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, Chagla, C.J., observed In Lalbhai Tricumlal Mills, Ltd, v. Vin (D. M.) and Ors. 1956-I L.L.J. 557 at 558;

But what we are concerned with to decide is where did the dispute substantially arise. Now, the Act does not deal with the cause of action, nor does It indicate what factors will confer jurisdiction upon the labour court. But applying the well-known tests of Jurisdiction, a Court or tribunal would have Jurisdiction if the parties reside within Jurisdiction or if the subject-matter of the dispute substantially arises within Jurisdiction.

12. In our opinion, these principles are applicable for deciding which of the States has jurisdiction to make a reference under Section 10 of the Act.

13. In deciding the question of jurisdiction In the present case I shall keep in mind the test propounded by Chagla, C.J., and approved by the Supreme Court. Chagla, C.J,, has formulated two tests:

(1) the test of residence of parties ;

(2) the test of the situs of the dispute.

I shall try to find out whether the second test la satisfied here. If the subject-matter of the dispute has substantially arisen within this State, then the State Government and the labour court would have Jurisdiction over It. While Interpreting the agreement, I have already held that petitioner 1 was a permanent employee At Kanpur and that during his posting at Delhi he retained his lien at Kanpur. Accordingly, even though his service was terminated at Delhi, the subject-matter of the dispute substantially arises at Kanpur within this State, as the termination order at Delhi extinguishes the Men of petitioner 1 at Kinpur.

14. I shall now examine the question of Jurisdiction on the assumption that the Interpretation of the agreement suggested by counsel for the employer is correct. I shall assume hero that petitioner 1 was reinstated at Delhi or that after his reinstatement at Kanpur he was transferred to Delhi. On these assumptions It should now be examined whether the subject-matter of dispute can be said to substantially arise within this State. Whether he is reinstated at Delhi or is reinstated at Kanpur and then transferred to Delhi, petitioner 1 WHS to remain at Delhi for a short spell of sixty days. After the expiry of sixty days he was to go back to his permanent post at Kanpur on the basis of the contract of service. At Delhi, he was like a bird of passage; he belonged permanently to the cadre of employees at Kinpur. While deciding the question of jurisdiction under the Industrial Disputes Act the Court should have regard for the realities of the situation. Being a bird of passage at Delhi, the workmen at Delhi would have little Interest in petitioner 1's fats, It is the workmen at Kanpur where he was to be permanently posted after the expiry of sixty days at Delhi, who would be substantially Interested In the fate of petitioner 1, because his permanent place was at Kanpur. The Impact of the termination order substantially falls at Kanpur and not at Delhi. In that view of the matter even on the argument of counsel for the employer the Uttar Pradesh State and the labour court would have Jurisdiction over the industrial dispute and the terrah aloud order at Delhi permanently forecloses the possibility of petitioner 1's posting at Kanpur, a part of the cause of action arises there.

15. In view of the foregoing discussion I would hold that the State Government and the labour court have Jurisdiction over the dispute. Counsel for the petitioners has also advanced some other points. As I am allowing the petition on his first argument, it is not necessary to deal with those points.

16. I allow the petition. The award of the labour court is quashed. I direct the labour court to hear and decide the referred dispute on other points now.

17. The employer shall pay costs to the petitioners which I assess at Rs. 200.


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