1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution by the Union of Workers of Messrs The Aluminium Industries, Ltd., Hirakud, against the appellate order of the District judge, under Section 6 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1948.
2. The management of Messrs Aluminium Industries prepared Draft Standing Orders under Section 3 of the aforesaid Act and submitted the same to the Certifying Officer, under Section 5 of the Act. Sub-clause (IX) of Clause 32 of the said draft orders which is relevant for the purpose of this application, is as follows :
'32 (ix) Commission of any act subversive of discipline or good behaviour :
(a) On the Company's premises or
(b) In the course of duty or
(c) Outside the company's premises, if it is proved to have directly affected the discipline or administration of the Company if it is directly linked with the general relationship of employer and employee, or has a direct connection with the contentment or comfort of the man at work or has a material bearing on the smooth and efficient working of the concern'.
The Union objected to Sub-clause (c) which deals with acts of misconduct committed outside the factory premises and the Certifying Officer upheld the objection and directed the deletion of the whole of Sub-clause (c). On appeal however the learned District Judge, relying on some observations in Shalimar Rope Works Mazdoor Union, Howrah v. Shalimar Rope Works, Ltd., 1953-2 Lab LJ 876 (LATI) and Central India Coalfields Ltd., Calcutta v. Rambilas Shobnath, 1961-1 Lab LJ 546, AIR- 1961 SC 1189 set aside the order of the Certifying Officer and directed that the said draft Sub-clause (c) should remain. The Union has come up with this petition under Article 226 against this order of the District Judge, on the ground that attempt to regulate the conduct of workers outside the factory premises by such standing orders will be outsids the scope of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act and as such ultra vires.
3. Mr. Govinda Das could not point out any provision in the Act which either expressly or by necessary implication restricts the scope of the standing orders to acts of misconduct committed by workmen within the premises ot the factory only. On the other hand the Preamble makes it clear that the standing orders should deal with 'conditions of employment of workers in Industrial establishments'. These words are wide enough to include acts which may De committed even out of the factory premises. There is a recent decision of the Supreme Court cited by the learned lower Court namely AIR 1961 SC 1189 where it was held that a drunken brawl outside the premises of a factory would amount to misconduct within the meaning of Standing Orders No. 29(5);. referred to in that decision. Apparently the draft standing orders here clearly try to give statutory recognition to the principle laid down in the aforesaid-Supreme Court decision.
4. Mr. Das further contended that the model standing orders prescribed in Schedule I to the industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules 1946 would, on a fair construction show that only acts of misconduct committed within the premises of a factory would fall within the scope of the Standing Orders and that the model orders may be taken as a guide in ascertaining the scope and content of the powers to make standing orders. Even this argument will not be available because a careful scrutiny of the various provisions of the Model Standing Orders, show that some ot those provisions may apply to acts of misconduct committee by workmen outside the factory premises. Thus para 14 of the Model Standing Orders deals with disciplinary action for misconduct and sub-paragraph (3) of that sub-para, mentions seriatim the various acts of workmen which shall be treatea as misconduct. Clause (b) of that sub-paragraph mentions dishonesty in connection with the employer's business or property as an instance of misconduct. Such dishonest acts may take place either within the premises of the factory or outside the premises of the factory.
If a workman being entrusted with the money of the employer commits criminal breach of trust in respect of the same, his action would come within the scope of that clause. Similarly, Clause (S) which deals with taking or giving of bribe or illegal gratification and Clause (h) which refers to any act subversive of discipline could not even as a matter of construction be limited to acts done within the factory premises only. They must necessarily include acts committed even outside factory premises by the workmen. Hence it cannot be held that even if the Model Standing Orders are taken as a guide, any provision in the Standing Orders for regulating the action of a workmen outside the factory premises is ultra vires the Act so as to justify interference under Article 226 of the Constitution.
5. As this is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution and we are not sitting as an appellate authority over the District Judge, it is unnecessary to consider the fairness or reasonableness of the offending provision.
The application is dismissed with costs. Hearing fee is assessed at Rs. 100/- (Ruoes one hundered only). The costs shall be apportioned equally between the management and the State Govt.
6. I agree.