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Barbil Workers Union Vs. Union of India (Uoi) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1973)ILLJ546Ori
AppellantBarbil Workers Union
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi)
Excerpt:
.....to find out whether the claim leading to the dispute is such as is likely to disturb quiet industrial peace. it is asserted and there is no material to deny that from february, 1970 the gratuity scheme as recommended by the central wage board has been enforced as per settlement between m/s. this also finds specific mention in paragraph 2 under the heading 'union's view points' in the failure report......the following demands:(a) consequent upon the implementation of the recommendation of the central wage board on iron ore mining industry the emoluments of skilled workmen became more than rs. 500 and, therefore, the workmen's compensation act of 1923 was no more applicable to them. consequently an insurance scheme was necessary to be introduced to cover risks of accidents arising in course of employment as was in vogue in respect of officers.(b) the gratuity scheme of 1959 should be revised keeping in view the recommendations of the central wage board.(c) the workmen be paid the railway fare for themselves and the members of their families once a year while going from the factory to home and returning from home to the factory.the employers (m/s. orissa minerals development co. ltd.) did.....
Judgment:

R.N. Misra, J.

1. The Barbil Workers Union has asked for a writ of certiorari to quash the order made by the Union of India under Section 10(1)(d) read with Section 12(5) of the Industrial Disputes Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and for a writ of mandamus to dispose of the matter afresh. On 17-1-1971, the petitioner-union raised the following demands:

(a) Consequent upon the implementation of the recommendation of the Central Wage Board on Iron Ore Mining Industry the emoluments of skilled workmen became more than Rs. 500 and, therefore, the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1923 was no more applicable to them. Consequently an insurance scheme was necessary to be introduced to cover risks of accidents arising in course of employment as was in vogue in respect of officers.

(b) The gratuity scheme of 1959 should be revised keeping in view the recommendations of the Central Wage Board.

(c) The workmen be paid the railway fare for themselves and the members of their families once a year while going from the factory to home and returning from home to the factory.

The employers (M/s. Orissa Minerals Development Co. Ltd.) did not accept any of the demands. There was thus a dispute and Assistant Labour Commissioner took up conciliation proceedings. On 13-4-70, the failure report was submitted to the Government. On 29-5-70, the Union Government refused to refer the dispute and gave the following reasons:

I am directed to say that the Government of India do not consider the following demands fit for reference to an Industrial Tribunal for adjudication on account of reasons given against each :

(1) Introduction of Insurance Scheme- Since no such scheme exists in any of the neighbouring mines the demand is not justified. The union may make a suggestion for amendment to the Workmen's Compensation Act.

(2) Gratuity Scheme-This is a matter for the union and the management to come to a mutually agreed settlement, as this is a case of acceptance of the recommendations of the Wage Board.

(3) Railway fare-There must be some uniform policy in this regard in respect of all employees in the private sector. The case being purely general is not fit for reference to adjudication.

The petitioner-union impugns the Government order refusing to refer the disputes for adjudication by the Tribunal and it is contended that the reasons are neither relevant nor germane and reference of the disputes has been refused for considerations which cannot stand legal scrutiny.

2. The law applicable to a case of this type has been indicated succinctly in Bombay, Union of Journalists-State of Bombay [1964-1 L.L.J. 351]; A.I.R. 1964 S.C. 1917. The jurisdiction of this Court is not appellate and in an application of this type this Court has only to examine whether in reaching a prima facie conclusion about the referability of the dispute placed before Government, relevant considerations have been taken into account and reasons which are germane have been ascribed. It is not disputed that the failure report indicated the stand of the employees and the employer at considerable length. The Union Government on examination of the report and other materials placed before it came to the conclusion that the introduction of the insurance scheme did not appear to be justifiable. Dealing with the claim for railway fare it was also found that such a system was not prevalent in the area. It is well-settled that Government can take a broad view of matters to find out whether the claim leading to the dispute is such as is likely to disturb quiet industrial peace. The reasons given in regard to those two items seem to be based upon such consideration which we cannot rule out to be not germane to the matter.

3. Coming to the claim for gratuity scheme the position seems to be somewhat different. It is asserted and there is no material to deny that from February, 1970 the gratuity scheme as recommended by the Central Wage Board has been enforced as per settlement between M/s. Mining and Transporting Co. and M/s, Modern Construction who are its raising contractors. In the same area and in regard to the similar industries the gratuity scheme has been introduced. This also finds specific mention in paragraph 2 under the heading 'Union's view points' in the failure report. It is conceded that acceptance of the Central Wage Board's recommendation by the Government is not a condition precedent to its enforcement by consent or otherwise between the employers and the employees. A mutually agreed' settlement is not the only process by which the recommendations of the Central Wage Board can be enforced. If they are reasonable, it is open even to a Tribunal, while laying down fair conditions of service, to accept any part of it. The reasoning given so far as the claim for gratuity scheme is concerned does not. seem to be at ail germane and relevant. We would accordingly, while sustaining the Government order in regard to items 1 and 3 of the claim,, vacate that order in regard to item No. 2 dealing with gratuity scheme. That part of the dispute shall again be placed before the Government for consideration as to whether a reference need be made to the appropriate Tribunal. We would allow the writ application in part and quash the direction of the Union Government refusing to make a reference of the dispute relating to the gratuity scheme. The opposite party Government is Directed to reconsider the matter in accordance with law. We do not make any order for coils.

B.K. Ray, J.

4. I agree.


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