R.N. Misra, J.
1. The employer in an industrial dispute referred to by the State of Orissa for adjudication of the Industrial Tribunal of Orissa has come before us challenging the finding of the Tribunal on a preliminary question of maintainability of the reference. Two references were made under Section 12(5) read with Clause (d) of Sub-section (1) of Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) of the following disputes:
(1) Whether the workmen of Gammon (India) Ltd., Mundali, District Cuttack, engaged in construction of Mundali Weir are entitled to profit sharing bonus for the years beginning from 1960 to 1964? It so, what should be the quantum of the profit sharing bonus for each year ?
(2) Whether the strike resorted to by the workers of Gammon (India) Ltd., Mundali, District Cuttack from 5-3-1965 is legal and justified and whether they are entitled to full wages for the periods ?
These two questions were separately referred to by two independent orders- the first order being dated 17-3-65 (annexure-4/a and the second one dated 24-3-65 (annexure-4). On the basis of these two references Industrial Dispute Cases Nos. 6 and 9 of 1965 were registered. The parties to the dispute have been indicated in the orders of reference as the Management of Gammon (India) Ltd. on one side and its workmen represented through the Naraj Dam Mazdoor Association on the other. Before the Tribunal the maintainability of the references was disputed mainly on the ground that the Naraj Dam Mazdoor Association which was a registered trade union at the time the orders of references were passed had ceased to be registered trade union on 22-2-66. The Tribunal refused to go into the question of maintainability preliminarily and when this Court was approached in O.J.C. No. 72 of 1971 a direction was given to decide the maintainability question first. Accordingly the Tribunal by its order dated 11-8-73 determined the point and decided against the management. The present writ application is directed against the said order of the Industrial Tribunal and we are asked to quash the order as being contrary to law.
2. It is contended by the petitioner that the trade union was registered on 2-3-65 and ceased to be a registered trade union with effect from 22-2-66. At the time the references were made, the workers were represented by the said trade union. After the said trade union had ceased to be a registered one and, therefore, no more a body corporate, the references have to be suitably amended by the referring authority; otherwise they are not maintainable. Mr. Mohanty for the petitioner contends that while the Tribunal had posed the question properly in paragraph 5 of its order, it lost sight of that point which really arose for determination, examined a very different question and ultimately decided against the petitioner.
3. The real question in dispute is as to whether there has been any alteration of the parties to the dispute. Annexures 4 and 4/a which are the orders of reference make it sumptuously clear that the second party to the disputes were the workmen of M/s. Gammon (India) Ltd., It is not disputed that there has been no change in regard to the workmen. The representing agency has undergone a change in its legal status, it being at one point of time a registered union has ceased to be so during the pendency of the references.
4. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Manager, Hotel Imperial, New Delhi v. Chief Commissioner : (1959)IILLJ553SC , have clearly indicated that to an industrial dispute a single workman, or some workmen, or the workmen as a body may be parties. The union may espouse the cause of such workmen. On examining the said decision we are or the view that the law as laid down therein is to the effect that a reference under the Act would be maintainable if it is described as a dispute between the management on one side and its workmen on the other. For convenience of procedure, such as, notice of the proceeding, fixation of date of hearing, etc., it is the body of workmen that is usually represented through a convenient agency, namely, the union espousing the cause of the disputing workmen.
5. Mr. Mohanty relies upon a series of decisions to support his stand that it is really a material change and unless the referring authority brings it in accord with the existing situation the references would not be tenable. On the other hand, Mr. Misra for the workmen contends that the dispute arose at a time when the union had not been registered and the conciliation proceeding had also been taken up at the instance of the unregistered union.
6. We are satisfied that the references made by impleading the management and the workmen would have been competent. The references as made in this case are also of that type only, namely, the management of Gammon (India) Ltd. being on one side, and its workmen on the other. The workmen for convenience were sought to be represented through the Mazdoor Association which at the time of references had become a registered trade union. From the facts of the case it is abundantly clear that the industrial disputes had been entertained at the instance of the unregistered union. The conciliation proceeding was also taken at the instance of the unregistered union. At no stage the fact that the union had become registered was utilised for the purposes of the dispute. Indisputably an unregistered trade union can also espouse an industrial dispute. In such circumstances we do not find any merit in the contention of the petitioner that the references have become incompetent on account of the fact that during the pendency of the references the union has ceased to be registered. Certain additional advantages were available to the union upon registration. Even if those advantages are no more available, the pending references arc not affected in any way. The dispute subsists and, therefore, the references are competent. The proceeding is duly constituted before the Tribunal and, therefore, the finding of the preliminary point which has been disposed of in favour of the opposite party-workmen does not require any interference. The writ application is accordingly dismissed with costs. Hearing lee Rs. 100 (one hundred).
B.K. Ray, J.
7. I agree.