Skip to content


Kays Construction Company (Private), Ltd. Vs. Regional Conciliation Officer-cum-assistant Labour Commissioner and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1960)IILLJ461All
AppellantKays Construction Company (Private), Ltd.
RespondentRegional Conciliation Officer-cum-assistant Labour Commissioner and ors.
Excerpt:
.....due to the workmen concerned. the distinction between clauses (1) and (2) of section 6h of the uttar pradesh industrial disputes act, as well as between clauses (1) and (2) of section 33c of the corresponding central act (14 of 1947), and between clauses (1) and (2) of section 20 of the industrial disputes appellate tribunal act, 1950, is that the first clause is applicable where there is 'money' due to a workman, while the second comes into play when a workman is entitled to some 'benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money. we think that section 33c(2) of the industrial disputes act is wide enough to cover a case like this where the award of a labour court merely gave a benefit to the workman, namely, the benefit of back-wages, without specifying the amount the..........on the basis of this award; and on 21 july 1958, purporting to act under section 6h(1) of the uttar pradesh industrial disputes act, 1947, the labour commissioner, uttar pradesh, issued a certificate declaring that an amount of rs. 1,06,588-6-6 was due to the workmen thereunder. in pursuance of this order certain properties of the petitioner were attached by the collector of allahabad in october 1958. on 23 november 1958 written objections were forwarded to the state government by the petitioner against this action and it appears that in consequence of these objections the government ordered the regional conciliation officer of allahabad to verify the claims of the various workmen afresh. the result of these proceedings was that on 9 september 1959 a modified certificate under.....
Judgment:

W. Broome, J.

1. This is a petition by a private limited company under Article 226 of the Constitution asking for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash orders passed by the Uttar Pradesh State Government la the year 1959certifying certain amounts to be due from the petitioning company to various workmen under the terms of an award given by the Allahabad Industrial Tribunal (Sugar) on 31 January 1958. In addition, a writ of mandamus is prayed for to compel the authorities to release the petitioner's property from the attachment that was made in pursuance of the aforesaid certifying orders.

2. The relevant portion of the industrial tribunal's award in the dispute between the parties runs as follows :

As a result of my findings above. I hold that the management of Kays Construction Company (Private), Ltd. Allahabad, ale required to reinstate the old workmen given in the annexure of Kaye Construction Company, Allahabad. They will be restored in their old or equivalent jobs and given continuity of service. In view of the somewhat peculiar features of this case and in the largest interest of the industry, I would however order that the workmen be paid only 50 per cent of their back-wages for the period they were forcibly kept out of employment.

A number of workmen preferred claims on the basis of this award; and on 21 July 1958, purporting to act under Section 6H(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Labour Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh, issued a certificate declaring that an amount of Rs. 1,06,588-6-6 was due to the workmen thereunder. In pursuance of this order certain properties of the petitioner were attached by the Collector of Allahabad in October 1958. On 23 November 1958 written objections were forwarded to the State Government by the petitioner against this action and it appears that in consequence of these objections the Government ordered the Regional Conciliation Officer of Allahabad to verify the claims of the various workmen afresh. The result of these proceedings was that on 9 September 1959 a modified certificate under Section 6H(1), Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, was issued by the Labour Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh, declaring that a sum of Rs. 50,654-9-6 only should be realized at present, orders regarding the remainder of the claims being reserved pending further reverification. At this stage the petitioner came to this Court and filed the present petition on 12 November 1959.

3. The principal argument advanced by learned Counsel for the petitioner is that in the industrial tribunal's award of 31 January 1958 there was no fixed or determinate amount of money declared due to the workmen concerned and that consequently the provisions of Section 6H(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act would not be applicable and no certificate could be issued by the Government under Clause (1) at that stage. It is contended that the proper course for the State Government to adopt in the circumstances was to refer the matter to the labour court under Clause (2) of Section 6H be that the amount to which the various workmen were entitled might first be determined, before action was taken under Clause (1).

4. The contention put forward on behalf of the petitioner appears to me to be sound. All that the industrial tribunal's award says is:

The workmen be paid 60 per cent of their back-wages for the period they were forcibly kept out of employment.;

and it is obvious that before one can calculate the amount due, one must know the exact number of days that each of the workers concerned was kept out of employment. It appears from issue (2)(discussed in Para. 20 of the award) that several workmen had accepted fresh employment with the petitioning company; and Para. 28 of the affidavit filed along with this petition shows that according to the petitioner some of the workmen had been working elsewhere during the period under dispute. Obviously workmen who took up fresh employment in the relevant period, either with the petitioning company or with some other concern, could not be deemed to have been 'forcibly kept out of employment' during the continuance of such fresh employment. But the award gives no indication of how long each worker remained unemployed, nor does it seem that the materials available to the tribunal at the time of the award were sufficient to enable these relevant periods to be determined. Had the parties been in agreement as to the number of days each worker remained out of employment and as to when each of them took up fresh employment, it might have been possible to argue that there was no further dispute to be decided and that the amounts due might be determined by a mere arithmetical calculation on the basis of the award, taken in conjunction with the admission of the parties. But such was not the case. The petitioner has alleged, in Para. 28 of the affidavit already referred to, that certain workmen were working elsewhere during the period under dispute; but the workmen (respondent 3), far from admitting these allegations to be true, have asserted in Para. 82 of their counter-affidavit that the petitioner could not substantiate them. It is clear from these pleadings that there is no agreement between the parties as to the precise period for which each workman had been forcibly kept out of employment and could claim back-wages under the award, in the circumstances, I am satisfied that from the award, as it stands, it is not possible to calculate or ascertain the amount due to the workmen concerned. Before the award can be implemented as regards payment of back-wages it will tie necessary to record evidence and to arrive at a decision as to the precise period during which each individual workman took up fresh employment; for only then will it be possible to determine how long each of them has been 'forcibly kept out of employment.'

5. The question that now arises is whether the provisions of Clause (1) of Section 6H of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act can be applied straightaway in a case of this nature or whether action has first to be taken under Clause (2) of that section. The distinction between Clauses (1) and (2) of Section 6H of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, as well as between Clauses (1) and (2) of Section 33C of the corresponding Central Act (14 of 1947), and between Clauses (1) and (2) of Section 20 of the Industrial Disputes Appellate Tribunal Act, 1950, is that the first clause is applicable where there is 'money' due to a workman, while the second comes into play when a workman is entitled to some ' benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money.' Obviously, a fixed amount of back-wares would be 'money' and would be covered by Clause (1) but an indeterminate amount of back-wages that cannot be calculated without taking evidence and making an adjudication thereon is not 'money' but only a ' benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money.' in the present case, therefore, the amount due to the workmen is not money ' that can be certified as due by the State Government under Clause (1) of Section 6H but is only a ' benefit' and the amount at which it should be computed must be determined by the labour court under Clause (2) of the section.

6. This view finds support in a Madras decision in M.S.N.S. Transports, Tiruchirappalli v. Raja Bam and Anr. 1960 I L.L.J. 336 in which the following observation has been made regarding the analogous provision of Section 33C of the Central Act:

We think that Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act is wide enough to cover a case like this where the award of a labour court merely gave a benefit to the workman, namely, the benefit of back-wages, without specifying the amount the workman had become entitled to receive from the employer. This benefit is certainly one in respect of which the worker could apply to the labour court for determination of the actual amount.

Again, in a case of the Patna High Court in Sasamusa Sugar Works, Ltd. v. State of Bihar and Ors. A.I.R. 1955 Pat. 49 relating to the analogous provisions of Section 20 of the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950, it has been held that-

Sub-section (1) of Section 20 is applicable only in those cases where a determinate sum is held to be due under the award in favour of a specified and definite person. This is clear from the reading of Sub-section (2) of Section 20. This sub-section deals with cases where the benefit under an award is not given in the form of a determinate Bum but only in a form which is capable of being computed in terms of money.

7. I hold therefore that the word ' money ' used in Clause (1) of Section 6H of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act must be deemed to refer only to determinate sums of money, i.e., sums which are either expressly set forth in the award itself or which may be arrived at by mere arithmetical calculation on the basis of undisputed figures available before the tribunal which gave the award. But there the amount in question can only be determined after evidence has been led on disputed questions of fact; there is no 'money' due within the meaning of Clause (1); such an indeterminate amount is merely a ' benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money,' which must be determined by a labour court under the provisions of Clause (2).

8. My conclusion therefore is that the State Government was not justified in issuing a certificate under Sub-section (1) of Section 6H of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act in the circumstances of the present case. The proper course for the Government to adopt was to refer the matter for decision to the labour court under Sub-section (2) of Section 6H and the action taken under Sub-section (1) was clearly without jurisdiction.

9. I accordingly allow this petition with costs and quash the orders passed by the Labour Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh, under Section 6H(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act certifying the amounts due to the workmen under the award in question. The attachment of the petitioner's property which was carried out in pursuance of those orders of the Labour Commissioner must also be quashed; but in order to safeguard the Interests of the workmen concerned I direct that the property under attachment shall to released to the petitioner only on his furnishing adequate security to the satisfaction of the District Magistrate of Allahabad.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //