K.L. Pandey, J.
1. This is a Letters Patent appeal directed against the order of Bhatt, J., dated 8 October 1957, by which the appellant's petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution was dismissed.
2. The facts of the case are these. The petitioner was employed as a mechanic in Rajnandgaon Rice and Oil Mills on a monthly salary of Rs. 125. He was discharged from service by the employer on 14 March 1955. He made an application under Section 16(1) of the Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947 (which will hereafter be referred to as the Act), to Sri L.S. Titus, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Nagpur, exercising the powers of the Labour Commissioner, who, by his order, dated 13 September 1955 passed under Section 16(2) of the Act, 'directed that the petitioner be reinstated within one week of the, order.
3. On 19 September 1955, the petitioner's counsel wrote to the employer asking where and when the petitioner should resume his duties. The employer's counsel Sri K. M. Joshi, in his reply, dated 29 September. 1955 said that he was willing to reconsider the petitioner's case and to reappoint him on his old salary and wanted acceptance of the offer at the earliest. Soon afterwards, on 26 September 1955 the employer filed a revision in the State industrial court challenging the order of reinstatement and asking for its suspension. Sri Joshi appeared in that Court on 4 October 1955 and said that he was awaiting the petitioner's response to the employer' offer of reinstatement. The revision was adjourned from time to time till it was ultimately dismissed as withdrawn on 17 October 1955.
4. On 16 May 1953, the petitioner sent a letter to the employer again requesting him to Indicate where and when he should Join. In that letter, the petitioner also asked for arrears of his wages from March 1955. In reply the employer wrote to say that the petitioner did not avail of the offer of rein statement and had thereby forfeited his claim to be restored to the post. Therefore the employer adhered to that stand in the further correspondence that took place between the parties.
5. On 17 July 1956, the petitioner moved the Assistant Labour Commissioner under Section 16(3)(6) of the Act asking for recovery of back-wages as arrears of land revenue or further compensation of Rs. 2,000 together with all back-wages. In the order dated 29 September 1956, passed on the application the claim for back-wages was rejected but a compensation for Rs. 375 only was awarded to the petitioner. Thereupon, each party went up in revision to the State industrial court, Indore. The two revision petitions were dismissed by an order dated 15 July 1957.
6. The learned single Judge took the view that the petitioner's case was governed by Section 16 of the Act as it stood before its amendment by Act XXI of 1955, although his second application dated 17 July 1956 was made after the amending Act came into force. In regard to ether contentions, the learned Judge was of the opinion that the Assistant Commissioner and the State industrial court dealt with the matter in accordance with Section 16 ibid and no question of jurisdiction was involved.
7. The first point urged before us is that the amending Act XXI of 1955 applies to the case of the petitioner. It is manifest that the new Section 16 confers larger rights on employees and imposes correspondingly greater obligations on the employers. That being the position we consider that the learned single Judge was right in taking the view that the new provisions do not have retrospective operation and would not govern the petitioner's case.
8. For the purpose of this order, we would assume that the employer refused to rein state the petitioner. Indeed, we feel that in this matter the employer did not act fairly. However, we have to consider the rights of of the petitioner. The provisions of Section 16 of the Act as it stood before the amendment, which are relevant to the case, are these:
(2) If on such reference being made, the Labour Commissioner, after such inquiry as may be prescribed, fluds that the dismissal, discharge, removal or suspension was in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or in contravention of standing order made or sanctioned under this Act he may direct that the employee be reinstated forthwith or by a specified date or paid such sum not exceeding five hundred rupees by way of compensation as the Labour Commissioner may determine with due regard to the loss of wages suffered by such employee. If the employer refuses to reinstate the employee, the Labour Commissioner may direct that the employee be paid by the employer such further sum not exceeding two thousand rupees by way of compensation aa the Labour Commissioner may determine with due regard to the loss of employment and the possibility of getting suitable employment thereafter.
(3) Upon receiving such direction the employer shall employ as directed and pay him the compensation awarded and If the employer falls to pay the said compensation, it shall be recovered from him in such manner as may be prescribed.
The words which have been pointedly referred to us at the stage of arguments have been italicized.
9. We agree that the use of the italicized word 'or' is not quite consistent with the award of 'further' compensation in Sub-section (2) and the use of the italicized word 'and' in Sub-section (3X Perhaps the inconsistency, which has been removed in the amended Section 16 is attributable to drafting lapses. The important point is that even if, while ordering reinstatement, it was obligatory to award compensation with due regard to the loss of wages suffered by the employee, the petitioner himself remained content with the bare order of reinstatement, which after a lapse of more than three years must be regarded as final. It may be pointed out in this connexion that under the old section the petitioner was not entitled to back-wages as such as now claimed, but only to such sum not exceeding five hundred rupees by way of compensation as the Labour Commissioner may determine with due regard to the loss of wages suffered by him.
10. We have next to consider the rights of the petitioner whom his employer refused to reinstate in disregard of the order of the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Under Sub-section (2) of Section 16 as it stood prior to the amendment the petitioner was entitled to a ' sum not exceeding two thousand rupees by way of compensation as the Labour Com missioner may determine with due regard to the loss of employment and the possibility of getting suitable employment thereafter.' This has been determined by the authority named. It appears to us that the compensation awarded, namely, Rs 375, is small considering that the petitioner was getting a salary of Rs. 125 per month. Even so, determination of the amount awardable was in the discretion of the authority dealing with the matter and the special remedy under Articles 226 and 227-of the Constitution cannot be invoked in aid for interference with the exercise of that discretion.
11. The appeal fails and is dismissed. In the circumstances of the case, we direct the parties to bear their own costs.