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Athalye (D.G.)(Upper Ganges Valley Electricity Supply Co., Ltd.) Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1959)ILLJ1All
AppellantAthalye (D.G.)(Upper Ganges Valley Electricity Supply Co., Ltd.)
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh
Excerpt:
- - tribunal as well as the regional conciliation officer, the applicant thought that the permission of the appellate authority to dismiss would be enough and no separate permission from the conciliation officer was. his company as well as the sister concern had on previous occasions tried to obtain permission to dismiss employees from the regional conciliation officers of the area concerned but they had refused to give permission on the ground that because cases are pending before the appellate authorities permission should be given by them and they did not exercise their right and there had been several occasions when this reply had been received by the company. it cannot but be said that the applicant had acted in good faith. 'good faith' has been defined under section 4(17) of the..........one sri g.s. srivastava, mains foreman. these labour disputes had been pending both before the regional conciliation officer, kanpur, and the central government industrial tribunal, india, lucknow, and also before the labour appellate tribunal in appeal. the company wanted to dismiss sri g.s. srivastava on account of misconduct and therefore permission was sought from the central government industrial tribunal, lucknow, to dismiss him as required under section 22 of the industrial disputes (appellate tribunal) act, 1950. section 22 of it runs as follows:during the period of thirty days allowed for the filing of an appeal under section 10 or during the pendency of any appeal under this act, no employer shall-(a)* * *(b) discharge or punish, whether by dismissal or otherwise, any.....
Judgment:

V.D. Bhargava, J.

1. This is an application under Sections 561A and 526 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing the proceedings or in the alternative to transfer the case from Moradabad to some other adjoining district. The applicant Sri D.G. Athalye was Resident Engineer of the Upper Ganges Valley Electricity Supply Company, Ltd., Moradabad, on 12 March 1956 but on the date of the prosecution he had ceased to be so. There were labour disputes pending between the company, of which the applicant was the Resident Engineer, and its employees, one of them being one Sri G.S. Srivastava, mains foreman. These labour disputes had been pending both before the Regional Conciliation Officer, Kanpur, and the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, India, Lucknow, and also before the Labour Appellate Tribunal in appeal. The company wanted to dismiss Sri G.S. Srivastava on account of misconduct and therefore permission was sought from the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, Lucknow, to dismiss him as required under Section 22 of the Industrial disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950. Section 22 of it runs as follows:

During the period of thirty days allowed for the filing of an appeal under Section 10 or during the pendency of any appeal under this Act, no employer shall-

(a)* * *(b) discharge or punish, whether by dismissal or otherwise, any workman concerned in such appeal, save with the express permission in writing of the Appellate Tribunal.

2. On 8 March 1956 the industrial tribunal gave permission to the company to dismiss Sri Srivastava and thereupon Sri G.S. Srivastava was dismissed.

3. The District Magistrate of Moradabad thereafter instituted a complaint under Section 14 of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act read with 01.29 of the Government Notification No. 4-464 (LL/XXXVI-B-257 (LL)/1954 dated 14 July 1954, on the ground that the workman was dismissed without the permission of the regional conciliation officer of the area concerned. Clause 29 of thei said notification reads as follows:

During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings or proceedings before the tribunal or an adjudicator in respect of any dispute ...an employer shall not

(a) * * *(b) discharge or punish, whether such punishment is by dismissal or otherwise, any workman concerned in such dispute, save with the express permission in writing of a conciliation officer of the area concerned, irrespective of the fact whether the dispute is pending before a board or the tribunal or an adjudicator.

4. Clause 33 of the same order provides:

Any person who contravenes or attempts to contravene any provisions of this order or abets any such contravention shall be liable, on conviction, to fine or to imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

5. It has been asserted that since the matter had been pending both before the Appellate. Tribunal as well as the regional conciliation officer, the applicant thought that the permission of the appellate authority to dismiss would be enough and no separate permission from the conciliation officer was... necessary. It has further been stated that in similar cases when permission of the regional conciliation officer of the area concerned had been sought for, such officers had declined to give permission on the ground that the permission of the Appellate Tribunal alone would be deemed sufficient and that no permission of the conciliation officer was necessary. In order to support his case the applicant has filed as annexure E an order of the Additional Regional Conciliation Officer, Bareilly, dated 7 October 1953, where the regional conciliation officer did not pass any order on the ground that proceedings relating to that concern were pending to appeal before the Appellate Tribunal in which workmen were involved. He had ordered that the employers, if they so desired, should take permission under Section 22of the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950. Similar is the order by the same officer in another case which has been filed as annexure F. Another regional conciliation officer of another region in the case of a sister company, i.e., Uttar Pradesh Electric Supply Company, Ltd., Allahabad, had passed similar order. In that case permission was sought to discharge one of the employees. The additional regional conciliation officer of Allahabad on 1 September 1955 ordered that as he had been informed that appeals are pending before the Labour Appellate Tribunal of India, the company should seek permission from there and no permission was granted by the regional, conciliation officer. Annexure H is also an order to the same effect. When the conciliation officer was requested to give the permission again after these orders, he informed that the decision has already been intimated and no further action could be taken by that office.

6. The present prosecution is under Clause 33 read with Section 14 of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. There can be no doubt that so far as the present applicant is concerned he had acted bona fide. His company as well as the sister concern had on previous occasions tried to obtain permission to dismiss employees from the regional conciliation officers of the area concerned but they had refused to give permission on the ground that because cases are pending before the appellate authorities permission should be given by them and they did not exercise their right and there had been several occasions when this reply had been received by the company. Thereafter, the applicant acted on that advice and dismissed Sri G.S. Srivastava after taking permission from the Appellate Tribunal. It cannot but be said that the applicant had acted in good faith. 'Good faith' has been defined under Section 4(17) of the General Clauses Act as meaning, anything done honestly whether it is done negligently or not.'

7. Here I am of opinion that there can be no doubt of the good faith of the applicant. He was under a bona fide impression that since permission from the Appellate Tribunal which was higher authority had been obtained, no permission of the regional conciliation officer was required. He had also very good reasons to arrive at that conclusion, because in several of the cases regional conciliation officers had also rejected the applications for permission on that very ground.

8. I do not wish to express any opinion on the question whether in such circumstances permission of the regional conciliation officer of the area concerned was necessary or not. Even assuming that it was necessary, in any event the applicant is protected by Section 22 of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act which reads as follows:

No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any rule or order made or deemed to be made thereunder.

9. Thus, if the applicant in good faith dismissed Sri G.S. Srivastava, I think he would be protected under this section. It may be argued that this section only says 'an act done in good faith' but here there was an omission of obtaining the permission for which he is being charged and, therefore, it can be said that Section 22 would not apply to the facts of the present case. Section 4(2) of the Uttar Pradesh General Clauses Act provides:

Act used with reference to an offence or a civil wrong shall extend to series of acts and words which referred to acts done include also illegal omissions.

10. Thus, if that omission, though may be illegal, was bona fide, it would amount to 'act done' within the meaning of Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act.

11. I have perused the complaint filed in this case against the applicant which is annexure B and the affidavit. There is no allegation of bad faith on the part of the applicant. Under the circumstances unless there be circumstances from which inference of bad faith can be drawn, it would be deemed that he was acting in good faith and there cannot be a presumption of bad faith against an accused. I, therefore, allow this application and quash the proceedings.


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