1. This is a petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India seeking to obtain a writ of certiorari quashing the award of the Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, Jullundur, dated 4 September 1957, published in the Punjab Government Gazette, dated 20 September 1957. Sri Brij Mohan, respondent 3, was employed in the mills of the petitioners on 5 September 1949. On 10 October 1950, the standing orders framed by the petitioners were certified by the Labour Commissioner under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, XX of 1946, and they were annexure A on the present record. Purporting to act under standing order 15, the petitioners transferred respondent 3 to Ballarpur Paper Mills in Central Provinces on the basis that the managing agents of the petitioners' millls as also that of Ballarpur Paper Mills were the same. Respondent 3 left Yamuna Nagar on 26 December 1956, with a view to join the Ballarpur Paper Mills. Before the said transfer an industrial dispute pending between the present petitioners on the one hand and certain workmen on the other had been referred to the tribunal-Reference No. 27 of 1956. On 20 of December 1956, Brij Mohan, respondent 3, made an application under Section 33A of the Industrial Disputes Act to the tribunal where Reference No. 27 of 1956 was pending. He, however, did not appear before the tribunal and did not lead any evidence with the result that the tribunal gave an award on 1 April 1957, dismissing the complaint in default. The said award was published in the Punjab Government Gazette, dated 26 April 1957, and is annexure B on the present record. According to the provisions of law, the said award became enforceable on 26 May 1957, and was to remain In operation for at least a year. On 22 May 1957, however, Brij Mohan, respondent 3 made another application under Section 33A to the same tribunal and precisely on the same grounds. An objection was taken by the petitioners before the tribunal that the previous award being operative, no fresh complaint could possibly be entertained and no fresh award could possibly be given. The tribunal, however, did not agree with the petitioners on this point and proceeded to determine the complaint on its merits. On 4 September 1957, the Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, gave an award setting aside the order of transfer as having been passed without jurisdiction and as being mala fide. The tribunal also found that the standing orders certified on 10 October 1950, i.e., after the employment of respondent 3 in the petitioners' mills on 5 September 1949, could not be taken as governing the conditions of employment of respondent 3. Feeling aggrieved against the said award, the petitioners have made the present application seeking to have the award quashed. The petition has been contested by respondent 3, who urges that the second award, dated 4 September 1957, is binding on the parties. Mr. Bhagirath Das, learned Counsel for the petitioners, raises two points before me which are as under:
(1) that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the second complaint and to give an award when the first award given on 1 April 1957 was still in operation; and
(2) that there is a patent error on the face of the award in that the tribunal has found that the standing orders certified on 10 October 1950 are not binding on the respondent merely because he entered service of the petitioners on 5 September 1949.
In my opinion, the contentions have a good deal of force. The first award was given on 1 April 1957, and having been published on 26 April 1957, became enforceable on 26 May 1957, by virtue of Section 17A of the Industrial Disputes Act. According to Sub-sections. (2), (5) and (6) of Section 19, the award was to remain operative at least for a period of one year unless the appropriate Government reduced he said period or fixed any other period. It is admitted that the appropriate Government had neither reduced this period nor fixed any other period. It is obvious, that during the currency of the first award, the matter could not be agitated again and could not be made the subject-matter of a complaint which has to be decided like a reference. Mr. Roop Chand, learned Counsel for respondent 3, in reply urges that the first award was based only on an order of dismissal of the complaint in default and the matter had not been decided on merits. This, however, does not affect the point that the award] was given on 1 April 1957, and according to law, had to remain in operation for one year from 26 May 1957. If the respondent did not lead any evidence in support of the complaint, the tribunal had no other option but to dismiss the complaint and to give an award on the same. The award of 1 April 1957 must be deemed to have been given in these circumstances and must, therefore, be held binding on the parties at least during the period prescribed by Section 19 of the Act.
2. On the second point, I am of the opinion that the whole purpose of making the standing orders and getting them certified from the Labour Commissioner is that conditions of service of the employment must be regulated by the same. The manner in which the standing orders are made and certified suggests that the standing orders, when certified, will be binding on the employees, who are at the time in service of the employers. A similar view has also been taken by Bishan Narain, J., in Civil Writ No. 540 of 1957. I would, therefore, allow the petition and issue an appropriate writ quashing the award made by the tribunal on 4 September 1957, and published in the Punjab Government Gazette on 20 September 1957. The employee having already been hard-hit by his transfer to a far-off place, I do not propose to burden him with costs of this petition.