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Chhotelal Keshavram (by Manager) Vs. Industrial Court (by M.A. Razzaque, President) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)IILLJ733MP
AppellantChhotelal Keshavram (by Manager)
Respondentindustrial Court (by M.A. Razzaque, President)
Cases Referred and Sheojiram Permanand v. Commissioner
Excerpt:
.....section 16 (6) of the act of 1947 the revision petitions had to be filed within the 'prescribed time' and the time prescribed by rule 18 (3) of the central provinces and berar industrial disputes settlement rules, 1949, was 'within thirty days after the date on which the order complained against was announced 'that an order could not be said to be 'announced 'within the meaning of this rule unless and until it was communicated to the parties concerned; taking first the limitation of thirty days prescribed by rule 18 (3), that clearly speaks of thirty days' limitation from the date of announcement of the orders, and does not say that the limitation period is to be calculated from the date when the order is communicated to the parties concerned. when the petitioner failed to offer any..........until it was communicated to the parties concerned; and that the petitioner came to know of the orders, dated 31 january 1964, of the labour court on 13 february 1964 and if the thirty days' limitation prescribed by the said rule were to be computed from 13 february 1964, after making an allowance for the copying time, then revision petitions posted at rajnandgaon on 30 march 1964 were within time. learned counsel also alternatively argued that even if section 66 (2) of the act of 1960 governed the revision petitions filed in the industrial court, still the petitions had been filed within time as the expression ' unless it is made within thirty days of the date on which the case has been finally decided' must, on the authority of the decision of the supreme court in harish chandra v......
Judgment:
ORDER

P.V. Dixit, C.J.

1. This order will also govern the disposal of Miscellaneous Petition No. 581 of 1964.

2. These two applications under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution by the manager of Chhotelal Keshavram, bid manufacturers of Rajnandgaon, are for the issue of writs of certiorari for quashing two orders of the industrial court, dated 10 September 1964, rejecting two revision petitions filed by the applicant against the decisions of the presiding officer of the labour court, Raipur, setting aside the orders passed by the petitioner dismissing the non-applicants, Urukuda and Jamnabai, in the two petitions and directing the petitioner to reinstate them and pay them In full back-wages.

3. The two revision petitions were dismissed by the industrial court on the common ground that they were barred by time. The orders of the labour court sought to be revised were passed on 31 January 1964. The applicant despatched the revision petitions by post from Rajnandgaon to Indore on 30 March 1964, and the petitions were received in the office of the industrial court on 2 April 1964. The learned president of the Industrial court held that under Section 66 (2) of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act, 1960, the period of limitation for a revision petition was thirty days from the date of the order of the labour court and in computing this period of thirty day a the period requisite for obtaining a copy of the order of the labour court had to be excluded; and that even after excluding the time taken by the petitioner in obtaining copies of the orders, the two revision petitions were out of time inasmuch as the limitation period, after taking into account the period requisite for obtaining copies of the orders, expired on 22 March 1964. He further rejected the petitioner's prayer for condonation, under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, of delay In the filing of the revision petitions on the ground that the petitioner had not explained the delay in the filing of the petitions from 22 March 1064 to any date up to 30 March 1964 when the revision petitions were posted at Rajnandgaoa.

4. Sri Sen, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, argued that the applications made to the Labour Commissioner by the non-applicants, Urukuda and Jamnabai, under Section 16 of the Central Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947, for their reinstatement were pending when the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act, 1960, which repealed inter alia the Act of 1947, came into force; that under proviso (b) to Section 112 of the Act of 1960, the labour court had to decide the aforesaid non-applicants' applications pending before the Labour Commissioner in accordance with the Act of 1947 as if that Act had not been repealed; and that the said proviso also saved the petitioners' remedy of revision under Sub-sectiontion (5) of Section 16 of the Act of 1947 to the State industrial court against the decision of the labour court. It was submitted that under Section 16 (6) of the Act of 1947 the revision petitions had to be filed within the ' prescribed time' and the time prescribed by Rule 18 (3) of the Central Provinces and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Rules, 1949, was ' within thirty days after the date on which the order complained against was announced '; that an order could not be said to be ' announced ' within the meaning of this rule unless and until it was communicated to the parties concerned; and that the petitioner came to know of the orders, dated 31 January 1964, of the labour court on 13 February 1964 and if the thirty days' limitation prescribed by the said rule were to be computed from 13 February 1964, after making an allowance for the copying time, then revision petitions posted at Rajnandgaon on 30 March 1964 were within time. Learned Counsel also alternatively argued that even if Section 66 (2) of the Act of 1960 governed the revision petitions filed in the industrial court, still the petitions had been filed within time as the expression ' unless it is made within thirty days of the date on which the case has been finally decided' must, on the authority of the decision of the Supreme Court in Harish Chandra v. Deputy Land Acquisition Officer : [1962]1SCR676 , be construed as meaning within thirty days of the date on which the orders of the labour court were actually or constructively communicated to the party concerned; that the labour court never communicated those orders to the petitioner; and that there was a constructive communication of those orders to him when the petitioner himself came to know of those orders for the first time on 13 February 1964,

5. We are unable to accede to the contentions put forward by the learned Counsel for the petitioner. For the purpose of these petitions, it Is not necessary to enter into a controversy whether the revision petitions filed by the applicant were governed by Rule 16 (5) of the Act of 1947 and Rule 18 (3) of the aforesaid rules or by Section 66 (2) of the Act of 1960. Whichever section is held to be applicable, the petitioner's contention that the orders of the labour court were communicated to him on 13 February 1964 and that it was from this date that the limitation period of thirty days prescribed by Rule 18 (3) or Section 66 (2) of the Act of 1960 should be computed after making an allowance for the copying time cannot be accept-ed. Taking first the limitation of thirty days prescribed by Rule 18 (3), that clearly speaks of thirty days' limitation from the date of announcement of the orders, and does not say that the limitation period is to be calculated from the date when the order is communicated to the parties concerned. An order or judgment is announced when it is in effect pronounced by the Court. It may be pronounced in open Court immediately after the conclusion of the hearing in the presence of the parties or at some future date of which due notice is given to the parties or to their counsel. The announcement or pronouncement of a judgment or order cannot on any principle or authority be taken as requiring that it should be formally communicated to the parties even though they or their counsel are present at the time of the pronouncement of the judgment or order or even if notice of the date of the pronouncement of the judgment or order having been previously given to them, they are absent at the time of the pronouncement. If the judgment or order is pronounced in the presence of the parties immediately after the conclusion of the case, then there can be no doubt that the parties came to know of the judgment or order at that time, and there can be no question of the judgment or order being formally communicated to them so as to enable them to appeal or file a revision petition against the decision within time. If, on the other hand, the date for the pronouncement of the order of judgment is known to the parties, and it is accordingly pronounced on the date previously fixed, the order or judgment is communicated to the parties even if they are not actually present on the date of its pronouncement.

6. The decision of the Supreme Court in Harish Chandra v. Deputy Land Acquisition Officer : [1962]1SCR676 (vide supra) relied on by the learned Counsel for the petitioner, itself fully supports this view rather than establish the proposition contended for by the learned Counsel for the applicant that the date of the announcement of the order or judgment or the date of its making is the date when it is formally communicated to the parties. In the case of Harish Chandra : [1962]1SCR676 (vide supra), the Supreme Court held that where the rights Of a person are affected by any order and limitation is prescribed for the enforcement of the remedy by the person aggrieved against the said order by reference to the making of the said order, the making of the order must mean either actual or constructive communication of the said order to the party concerned, and, therefore, the expression ' the date of the award ' used in proviso (b) to Section 18(2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, meant the date when the award was either communicated to the party or was known by him either actually or constructively. The meaning of ' actual' or 'constructive' communication was also elucidated by the Supreme Court by making the following observations:

If the award is pronounced in the presence of the party whose rights are affected by it, it can be said to be made when pronounced. If the date for the pronouncement of the award is communicated to the party and It is accordingly pronounced on the date previously announced, the award is said to be communicated to the said party eves if the said party is not Actually present on the date of its pronouncement. Similarly, if without notice of the date of its pronouncement an award is pronounced and a party is not present, the award can be said to be made when it is communicated to the party later.

The Supreme Court also referred with approval to the decision of the Madras High Court in Swaminathan v. Lakshmanan Chettiar A.I.R. 1930 Mad. 490, where it was held that in a case where an order was not passed in the presence of the parties or after notice to them of the date when the order would be passed, then the expression ' within thirty days after the making of the order ' used in Sections 73(1) and 77(1) of the Indian Registration Act, 1908, meant within thirty days after the date on which the communication of that order reached the parties affected by it. The above observations of the Supreme Court and the reference to the decision of the Madras High Court abundantly make it plain that if the date for the pronouncement of an order or judgment is communicated to a party, and it is accordingly pronounced on that date, the order or judgment is communicated to the party even if he is not actually present on the date of its pronouncement.

7. Now, in the present case, it is clear from the record of the proceedings of the labour court that the parties were notified by the labour judge to appear before him on 16 December 1963. On this date the applicant prayed for an adjournment which was granted and the case was posted for arguments on 30 December 1963. On 30 December 1963 the non-applicants, Urukuda and Jamnabai, appeared through their counsel. The petitioner remained absent. Thereupon the labour court heard the arguments on behalf of the said non-applicants and closed the case for orders fixing 31 January 1964 as the date for pronouncement of the orders. The petitioner again remained absent on 31 January 1964 when the orders were pronounced in the presence of the non-applicants' counsel. Thus the labour court pronounced the two orders that it did on 31 January 1964 after previously intimating to the parties the date on which the orders would be pronounced. The fact that the petitioner absented himself on 30 December 1963 and the proceedings were held ex parte against the applicant makes no difference to the legal position that the labour court pronounced Its orders on 31 January 1964 after making that date known to the parties. The date, namely, 30 December 1963, on which date the matter came up for hearing before the labour court was known to the petitioner. That meant that the applicant was given an opportunity of hearing on 30 December 1963 of knowing all that transpired on that date Including the date of the pronouncement of the orders. But the applicant did not appear and the matter proceeded ex parte against him. It cannot, therefore, be said that the date of the pronouncement of the order was not previously intimated to the applicant. If the contention of the learned Counsel for the applicant that the applicant, who had notice of the date of hearing, namely, 30 December 1963, could not be fastened with, the knowledge of all that happened on that date as he was absent, were to be accepted, that would out at the very root of the firmly settled position that a party, who despite notice of the date of hearing remains absent, Is bound by the proceedings held In his absence unless he takes legal steps to have the ex parte proceedings set aside. Till then the proceedings are valid and binding on him. The contention, therefore, that the petitioner had no knowledge of the date on which the order would be pronounced as he was absent on 30 December 1963 cannot be accepted. It follows, therefore, that In the present case when the labour court pronounced its two orders on 31 January 1964, the date previously fixed and announced, the data of the announcement or pronouncement of those orders was 31 January 1964 and not the date on which the petitioner came to know of them for the first time on 13 February 1964.

8. What we have stated above also disposes of the petitioner's contention resting on Harish Chandra v. Deputy Land Acquisition Officer : [1962]1SCR676 (vide supra), that for the purposes of Section 66 (2) of the Act of 1960 the data on which the labour court made its orders sought to be revised was the date on which the petitioner came to know of them for the first time on 13 February 1964.

9. In support of his contentions, learned Counsel for the applicant also referred us to Dhanrajmal & Co. v. S.T.A. Authority 1962 J.L.J. 714 and Sheojiram Permanand v. Commissioner o/ Sales Tax (Miscellaneous Petition No. 309 of 1962. decided on 24 February 1962). In the first case, it was held that limitation for appeal under Rule 80 (a) of the Madhya Bharath Motor Vehicles Rules, 1949, is to be computed from the date of the receipt of the order against which the appeal Is filed.

10. In the other case, it was ruled that under Section 44 (1) of the Madhya Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1958, the limitation of sixty days should be counted from the date of the communication of the order by the tribunal to the party concerned and not from the date of the order itself. The decision in both these cases turned on the language of the relevant provisions, which, expressly or by necessary implication, provided for the computation of limitation not from the date of the order assailed but from the date of its receipt in one case and the date of its communication in another, to the party concerned. Those cases do not lay down any general proposition that whenever limitation is to be computed for purposes of an appeal or a revision from the date of the pronouncement or the making of the order sought to be appealed against or revised, then computation should be from the date on which the Order 18 communicated to the party affected by It.

11. Learned Counsel for the applicant also urged that the industrial court should have allowed the petitioner's plea under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. In regard to this, it is sufficient to say that the matter of condo-nation of delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. is discretionary. When the petitioner failed to offer any explanation as to why he was not able to file the revision petitions on any day between 22 and 30 March 1964, it cannot be said that in refusing to condone the delay the industrial court took an erroneous view of law or Acted arbitrarily without exercising judicial discretion.

12. For all these reasons, both these petitions are dismissed with costs, Counsel's fee in each easels fixed at Rs. 75. The outstanding amount of security deposit after deduction of costs shall be refunded to the petitioner.


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