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Shivprasad Shivprasan and ors. Vs. the Model Mills Nagpur Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 1675 of 1966
Judge
Reported in(1971)3SCC799
ActsBombay Relief Undertakings (Special Provisions) Act (XCVI of 1958) - Section 4(1)(a); C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947 - Section 31
AppellantShivprasad Shivprasan and ors.
RespondentThe Model Mills Nagpur Ltd. and ors.
DispositionAppeal Party Allowed
Excerpt:
.....jj.] -- industrial and labour law — reference — claim by workers including those of model mills given up — claim of workers of model mills to be deemed to be given up — express provision in award not necessary to take existing benefit of workers -- what is the effect of the settlement, dated december 8, 1961 and the resultant award, dated december 21, 1961, made in reference no. 4 of 1955 by the state industrial court on the existing agreement and rights flowing therefrom to get double wage on sundays and holidays in addition to substituted holiday? some of the employees filed an application before the district industrial court under section 41 of the c.p. and berar industrial disputes settlement act praying that the court should declare that the change..........court of judicature at bombay, nagpur bench, in special civil application 352 of 1964 filed by the model mills, nagpur, whereby the high court held that “the petitioners would be entitled to decline to pay overtime wages on and after march, 26, 1960. so far as the earlier period is concerned, they would be liable to pay the same as held by the authorities below. subject therefore to this modification in the orders of the authorities below, that the petitioners are liable to pay double overtime wages for holidays only up to march 25, 1960 and not subsequently, the petitions are dismissed”.2. in this appeal the learned counsel for the workmen raised two questions which he formulated as follows:(1) what is the effect of the settlement, dated december 8, 1961 and the resultant.....
Judgment:

S.M. SIKRI, J.

1. This appeal by certificate is directed against the judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, in Special Civil Application 352 of 1964 filed by the Model Mills, Nagpur, whereby the High Court held that “the petitioners would be entitled to decline to pay overtime wages on and after March, 26, 1960. So far as the earlier period is concerned, they would be liable to pay the same as held by the authorities below. Subject therefore to this modification in the orders of the authorities below, that the petitioners are liable to pay double overtime wages for holidays only up to March 25, 1960 and not subsequently, the petitions are dismissed”.

2. In this appeal the learned counsel for the workmen raised two questions which he formulated as follows:

(1) What is the effect of the settlement, dated December 8, 1961 and the resultant award, dated December 21, 1961, made in Reference No. 4 of 1955 by the State Industrial court on the existing agreement and rights flowing therefrom to get double wage on Sundays and holidays in addition to substituted holiday?

(2) What is the scope and effect of notification of State Government, dated March 25, 1960, made under Section 4(1)(a) of the Bombay Relief Undertakings (Special Provisions) Act (XCVI of 1958) exempting Model Mills from Section 31 of the C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947, on existing rights flowing from the agreement?

3. It appears that the Model Mills Nagpur Ltd. put up a notice on June 12, 1953, stating that the payment of double wages so far made to the workers in the Engineering Department for the work done on Sundays and other holidays will not be made as before from and after July 1, 1953. The change proposed was that after July 1, 1953, those workers would be given not double but only single wages for the work done on Sundays and other holidays. Some of the employees filed an application before the District Industrial court under Section 41 of the C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act praying that the court should declare that the change effected by the notice, dated June 12, 1953, was an illegal change under Section 41. The District Industrial court made the declaration prayed for and the State Industrial Court and the Labour Appellate Tribunal maintained the declaration. Thereupon the Model Mills filed a Miscellaneous Petition (No. 501 of 1956) in the High Court of Bombay at Nagpur. That petition was also dismissed by order, dated April 4, 1957, by the High Court. The High Court observed:

“Mr Nandedkar who appeared for the petitioner tried to show that there was no agreement between the petitioner and the workers to pay double wages and give a substituted holiday, but it was only as a result of misapprehension in the mind of the management of the Mills. This is a question of fact. It has been decided by the courts below and it is, therefore, not open to the petitioner to urge the same point by this petition before us.”

4. There were two applications (38 of 1960 and 54 of 1960) under Section 15(2) of the Payment of Wages Act to the authorities under the said Act for payment of double wages for the work done on holidays. These also succeeded.

In the meantime the Model Mills were closed and by the notified order, dated July 18, 1959, the Central Government, through a Controller, took over the management of the mills.

5. In the meantime the industrial dispute between the various textile mills situated in the Vidarbha Region and their employees in the Engineering Department and Mechanical Branches were referred to the arbitration of the State Industrial court under Section 39 of the C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947, by the State Government by an order, dated August 22, 1955, which reference was registered as No. 4 of 1955. The parties, however, entered into an agreement during the proceedings and in terms of the agreement an award was passed by the State Industrial Court on December 20, 1961. As there was some discussion before us about the effect of the award, we may here refer to the statement of claims made on behalf of all the employees in the Engineering and Mechanical branches of all the textile mills in the State. One claim was as follows:

The Union also demanded that the workers should also be paid double overtime wages if they are called on duty on holidays in addition to holidays on the next day.”

6. In the agreement which was arrived at in Reference No. 4 of 1955, no mention is made about this particular claim, while a number of other claims relating to rates of wages or standard wages, personal pay, etc., were mentioned. In para 6 of the agreement it is mentioned that “the settlement and the consequent award shall come into force from November 1, 1961, in respect of all the mills in Vidarbha Region but that in respect of mills given in Schedule ‘A’, the employees concerned shall be given arrears of wages as if the award would be applicable from January 1, 1961”. In para 8 it was mentioned that “the unions on behalf of the employees concerned hereby withdraw all the other demands mentioned in their statements of claims”. In para 9 it is stated that “the parties have reached the settlement with the object of securing uniformity and standardisation in the wages and conditions of service pertaining to employees in the Engineering and Mechanical Branches of the textile mills in the Vidarbha Region, covered by the Reference”. As we have already stated, an award was given in terms of this agreement.

7. The learned counsel contends that the effect of the agreement, dated December 8, 1961, and the resultant award, is not that the previous benefits which were being enjoyed by the workers in the Model Mills would be taken away implicitly. He says that there should be an express provision taking away existing benefits.

8. We are unable to appreciate this contention. As observed by the High Court, the reference was made to bring about uniformity in the service conditions of the workers of all the mills in the Vidarbha region. The High Court further observed: “A dispute did exist in respect of the Model Mills. It had a necessary bearing on the points in the reference. A claim was made on behalf of workers and no distinction was made between the workers of the Model Mills and those of other mills”. We agree with the High Court that the claim was made on behalf of all workers including those of the Model Mills and since this claim was unconditionally given up, the claim of the Model Mills workers must be deemed to have also been given up.

9. Coming to the second point raised by the learned counsel it seems to us that the notification which exempted the Model Mills from Section 31 of C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act does not assist the Model Mills in any manner because if Section 31 of the C.P. and Berar Industrial Disputes Settlement Act, 1947, is not applicable this only means that it is not necessary to follow the procedure laid down in Section 31 for effecting the change in any standing orders settled under Section 30 or in respect of any industrial matter mentioned in Schedule II. But in this case the Controller took the position that he was not bound by any previous agreement or practice, as he called it, regarding the payment of double overtime wages. In the written statement filed on behalf of the Model Mills it was stated:

“It is true that there was a system at the time the mill was closed down by the old management of the company of paying double wages including D.A. when any of the workers in the Engineering and Mechanical Department were called to work on holidays. It is contended that this system is not binding upon the Industrial Undertaking under the Authorised Controller since the Industrial Undertaking under the Authorised Controller is not a successor of the company under the old management.”

The High Court held that after the notification exempting the Model Mills from the operation of Section 31, the normal law of master and servant would revive and begin to operate, and further that by that law the master could by giving adequate notice, alter the terms of employment.

10. It is contended that no notice of stoppage was given but only the money wages were not paid since March 25, 1960. We need not discuss this question elaborately because the counsel agreed that the respondent mill will pay double wages for work done on holidays for the period June 27, 1961 to October 31, 1961, both days inclusive, but this is without prejudice to the contention of the learned counsel of the respondent that the appellants are not entitled to this in law.

The appeal is accordingly allowed to the extent indicated. There will be no order as to costs in this Court.


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