G.D. Khosla, C.J.
1. This appeal under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent arises oat of the decision of Mehar Singh, J., in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution relating to an Industrial dispute.
2. The facts briefly are that the respondent before us, Shambu Nath Vaid, owns pharmacies at Amritsar, Mussoorie, Delhi and Dehra Dun where he sells Ayurvedic medicines. The appellant, Ram Kishan, was employed by him first at Dehra Dan and then at Amritsar. He worked at Amritsar till July 1957 and then the respondent made an order transferring him to Mussoorie. This gave rise to a difference of opinion between the employer and the employee, and at the intervention of the conciliation officer the transfer to Mussoorie was cancelled. Subsequently, the employer again attempted to send him to Mussoorie, but he refused to go and his services were dispensed with. The matter was taken up by the Punjab Government and the dispute, which was said to be an Industrial dispute, was referred to the labour court. Before the labour court the employer took up the objection of jurisdiction and also raised other matters. On 9 May 1958 the written statement filed by the employer was received by the labour court. The hearing was fixed for 14 May 1958, and a day before the employer intimated to the labour court that he was unable to appear on account of illness. On 14 May it appears, a telegram was also received to the same effect and a medical certificate in proof of the allegation of illness was also sent. The Court, however, declined to adjourn the hearing and also refused to hear the manager of the Amritsar branch as a representative of the employer. On the same day, an ex parte award was accordingly given in favour of the employee.
3. The matter was brought to this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution by the employer, and on his behalf it was urged in the first place that the dispute could not have been referred by the Punjab Government, because the Punjab Government was not the appropriate Government in relation to this dispute as contemplated by Section 2(a) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. In the second place, it was urged that the employer had not been given adequate opportunity to represent his case and that, therefore, the award was bad in law. Mehar Singh, J., upheld the first objection and thought it unnecessary to go into the second matter, namely, the matter of lack of adequate opportunity. He accepted the petition and set aside the award on the ground that the Punjab Government was not the appropriate Government, and, therefore, was not competent to refer this matter to the labour court.
4. Before us it has been urged that the dispute related to the establishment at Amritsar. The employee was working at Amritsar; although he had been ordered to go to Mussoorie, he had never gone there and, therefore, the dispute having arisen within the territories of the Punjab State, the Punjab Government was the appropriate Government. On the other hand, it has been argued by Mr. Bhagirath Dass that in the order issued by the Government the dispute is shown to have arisen 'between the workmen and the management of D.A.V. Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Akali Market, Amritsar, and Mall Road, Mussoorie.' From this it has been argued that the dispute was between the workmen on one hand and two establishments on the other. Of these two establishments, one was at Amritsar and the other at Mussoorie. Therefore, one of the establishments being beyond the territories of the Punjab State, the Punjab Government could not possibly be considered to be the appropriate Government in respect of the dispute in so far as it related to the Mussoorie establishment. The dispute being one and indivisible (so the argument proceeds), the entire dispute must be said to be beyond the jurisdiction of the Punjab Government. Mr. Bhagirath Dass drew our attention to Section 10(1A) of the Act and contended that the proper course, in the circumstances, was to approach the Central Government to refer the dispute to a national tribunal.
5. Mehar Singh, J., took the view that one of the parties to the dispute was the management, D.A.V. Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Amritsar and Mussoorie, and as with regard to Mussoorie, the Punjab Government could not be said to be the appropriate Government, the labour court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter. After examining the phraseology of Sections 2(a) and 10(1A) I am not satisfied that this view is correct in law. It seems to me that the appropriate Government really means the Government of the State where the dispute arises. Section 10(1A) is applied only in extraordinary circumstances, and in those circumstances too, the option is given to the Central Government to appoint a national tribunal. The present dispute really arose at Amritsar, and the Mussoorie address was probably given because the employer resides at both places and has an establishment not only at Amritsar bus also at Mussoorie. It is said by the employer himself that the Mussoorie establishment is run by himself and it was probably for that reason that the Mussoorie address was given and a copy of the notice was sent by the labour court to the employer at both addresses. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the Punjab Government is not the appropriate Government.
6. The question now arises whether the second point, which was urged before the learned Judge and not dealt with by him, should be considered by us. The matter has been argued before us and since this is an appeal under Clause 10 of the Latters Patent, it seems to me that we can entertain the argument and deal with it even though the learned single Judge did not consider it necessary to discuss it. It is quite clear from the facts I have set out above that the labour court was in undue haste in disposing of the matter. The hearing was fixed for 14 May 1958 and on that date intimation of the employer's illness was received. On the actual date of hearing the employer's manager from Amritsar was present but he was not allowed to represent his case and the matter was disposed of by the Court ex-parte. It seems to me, therefore, that on this ground alone the award was liable to be set aside. I would, therefore, dismiss this petition. It will be for the labour court to consider the matter again in the light of what has been said if the law permits him to do so. In the circumstances of the case there will be no order as to costs.
A.N. Grover, J.
7. I agree.