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Payen and Talbros Ltd. Vs. Hans Raj and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 1160 of 1967
Judge
Reported in4(1968)DLT130
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947- Sections 2
AppellantPayen and Talbros Ltd.
RespondentHans Raj and ors.
Advocates: Anand Prakash,; Grover and; Madan Mohan, Advs
Cases ReferredLimited v. The. Industrial Tribunal
Excerpt:
labour and industrial - industrial dispute - section 2 of industrial disputes act, 1947 - union a sought introduction of gratuity scheme in petitioner-company - said was per se industrial dispute - locus standi of union to raise such dispute challenged - no espousal needed for such dispute - appropriate government entitled under section 10 to refer this dispute to tribunal for settlement - majority rule incapable in matters of reference of industrial disputes under section 10 - letter adduced as evidence signed by considerable number of employees of petitioner-company in support of demand - union a was newly formed union with about 80 workmen of petitioner-company as its members and is different from union b - no error apparent so as to entitle petitioner to invoke articles 226 and 227 -..........his case was nto taken up by any union of workers of the appellant company nor by any of the unions of workmen employed in a similar or allied trade, but the u. p. working journalists. (10) union, lucknow took up the matter to the conciliation board, allahabad, and ultimately the u, p. government made a reference to the industrial tribunal. under these circumstances the question that arose for consideration in this case was whether such a dispute was at all an industrial dispute under the u p. industsial disputes act. their lord,' ships observed that the provisions of the act were based on the necessity of achieving collective amity between labour and capital by means of conciliation, mediation and adjudication. the object being to prevent industrial strife, stiikes and.....
Judgment:

S.N. Shanker, J.

(1) By order dated 26th December, 1966 the Delhi Administration made a reFerence to the Industrial Tribunal, Delhi, for the determination of the following issue : Whether the management of the petitioner-Company be required to introduce a Gratuity Scheme and if so, on what terms and conditions ?

(2) The parties filed their pleadings before the Tribunal. In the written statement of the management, the following preliminary objection i was taken: 'An appreciable or substantial number of workmen employed by the company have nto espoused or supported the matter of dispute i under reference and the Union alleging to represent the workmen emjployed by the company has no locus stand! to represent them In fact, there is antoher Representative Union recognised by the Com- pany namely Payen-Talbros Employees Union (Regd ) which has j t entered into a number of long term and comprehensive settlements Jl with the Company in the past regarding various demands of the workmen, but it has nto taken up this matter of dispute. The Hon'ble ^ Industrial Tribunal. Delhi, has also held that the Union alleging to represent in this case has no locus stand! to represent the Workmen . employed by the Company, in its Award dated 29th February, 1964 I . passed in 1. D. Ii of 1962. Under the circumstances, the dispute under reference is nto an Industrial Dispute and this Hon'ble Tribunal ; has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the same'.

(3) This position was controverter by the workmen in the refoinder filed by them. Shri Hans Raj, Presiding Officer, Additional Tndustrial ' . Tribunal, Delhi, before whom the matter was pending framed the follow- ing issue: 'Has the West Delhi Engineering Mazdoor Union no focus standi ?'

(4) By his order dated 10th July, 1967, the Tribunal repelled all the contentions that were raised by the Management before him. The present writ petition is directed against this order.

(5) Several pleas were urged on behalf of the Management before the Tribunal under the above issue. It was contended that appreciable or substantial number of workmen had nto espoused or supported the (r) dispute under reference and that the West Delhi Engineering Mazdoor Union, whose name appeared in the reference order as representing the workmen of the petitioner-Company had no locus standi to represent them. The Tribunal, however, found that it was only an individual dis- pute that needed espousal by an appreciable or substantial number of workmen or the Union of the establishment to convert it into an indus- trial dispute and that the demand for introduction of the gratuity scheme, which formed the subject matter of the reference before it was a matter common to all the workmen and from its very nature was an industrial dispute and did nto need to be espoused or supported. It was further held that the ttoal number of workmen employed by the Management was about 335 when the dispute arose, out of whom about 80 were members of the West Delhi Engineering Mazdoor Union named in the reference and that even a minority groups of workmen could make a demand and thereby raise an industrial dispute, which could be referred for adjudication under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act. To show that the West Delhi Engineering Mazdoor Union did nto have a locus staudi to represent the workmen of the petitioner-company, reliance was further placed on the award in 1. D. Ii of 1962 (Exhibit M-IV) and it was urged that in that case, the workmen were sought to be represented by the Engineering Mazdoor Union, but, it was held in terms of the award that this Union had no locus standi to represent them. On the assumption that the present Union was the same as that Union. It was maintained that the present Union could nto represent the workmen of the petitioner-company. On this plea, the finding of the Tribunal is that West Delhi Engineering Union, the present Union, having about 80 workmen of the petitioner-Company as its members at the time when the dispute arose in December, 1965 is different from the Engineering Maz- door Union, which had sought to represent the workmen of the petitioner- Company without a single workmen of this Company being its member.

(6) Antoher objection taken before the Tribunal to attack the locus standi of the present Union was that there was no resolution of its Gene- ral Body authorising it to take up the case of the workmen of the petition- er-company. In regard to this plea the findings of the Tribunal is that the passing of a formal resolution was nto necessary.

(7) The learned counsel for the petitioner contends that this order is had and is vitiated by errors apparent on the face of it and is liable to be quashed by this Court in exercise of the powers under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India.

(8) He urges that the finding of the Tribunal that even a minority number of workmen could make a demand and there by raise an indus- trial dispute is patently wrong. According to him, in order to be a valid espousal, it should be a majority of workmen. The point raised is. how- ever, wholly unnecessary for purposes of the present case, because in my view no espousal at all was necessary for purposes of the dispute that was referred to the Tribunal in this case because the dispute per se was a collective dispute as opposed to an individual dispute falling under Section 2(k) of the industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Section 2(k) reads as under:

'K'Industrial dispute 'means any dispute or difference between employers and employers or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any persons'.

(9) The language of this section in itself is wide enough to cover a dispute between an employer and a single employee but having regard to the scheme of the Act and the purpose for which it was enacted and the use of the word 'Workmen' in this definition clause, industrial dispute has been construed by the Courts to mean a collective dispute, i. e. a dispute where workman as a body or a considerable section of them make a common cause with the individual workman and raise a demand, while interpreting this expression in Central Provinces Trasport Services Ltd. v. Raghunath Gopal Patwardhan^, their Lordship of the Supreme Court observed that the Scheme of the Act appeared to contemplate that the machinery provided therein should be set in mtoion, to settle only disputes which involve the rights of workman as a class and that a dispute touching the individual rights of a workmen was nto intended to be the object of adjudication under the Act, when the same had nto been taken up by the Union or number of workmen. In Newspapers Ltd. v. State Industrial Tribunal, U. P ^ this aspect again came up for examination by the Court. A lino typist was dismissed from service by the appellant company on alleg.itions of incompetence. His case was nto taken up by any Union of Workers of the appellant company nor by any of the Unions of workmen employed in a similar or allied trade, but the U. P. Working Journalists.

(10) Union, Lucknow took up the matter to the Conciliation Board, Allahabad, and ultimately the U, P. Government made a reference to the Industrial Tribunal. Under these circumstances the question that arose for consideration in this case was whether such a dispute was at all an Industrial dispute under the U P. Industsial Disputes Act. Their Lord,' ships observed that the provisions of the Act were based on the necessity of achieving collective amity between labour and capital by means of conciliation, mediation and adjudication. The object being to prevent industrial strife, stiikes and lock-outsand the promtoion of industarial peace, so viewed, the provisions of the Act lead to the conclusion that its applicability to an individual dispute as opposed to dispute involving a group of workmen is excluded ; but the matter would be toherwise, when the individual dispute requires the general characteristics of an in jdustrial dispute, viz., the workmen as a body or a considerable section of them make a common cause with the' individual workman, .he principles enunciated in buth these cases were followed in Bombay Union of Journalists and tohers v 'Hindu' Bombay' and the law was stated in the following terms:'

'Therefore, the applic?bility of the Industrial Disputes Act to an individual dispute as dis6rguished from a dispute involving a group of workmen is excluded, unless the workmen as a body or a considerable section of them make a common cause with the indi- vidual workman.'

lu. It would, thereforee, appear that the condition of an espousal or of a body or a considerable section of workmen making a common cause with the particular dispute arises only whin the dispute per se is of the nature of an incividual dispute concerning a particular workman a.' posed tu collective u)spuie invoiving all the workmen. In the present rase according to the terms of reference reproduced earlier, in this Judgment, the dispute that was leferred to the Tribunal related to gratuity sheme sought to be introduced for the benefit of all the workmen employed in the petitioner-Company It was per se an industrial dispute. No espousal or support was thereforee neded for such a dispute. The appropriate Government was entitled under S ction 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to refer this dispute to the .Tribunal for settlement.

(11) Kelving on the amendment of Section 19 of the Industrial dies putes Act, by the insertion of sub clause 7 to this section, the learned counsel for the petitioner in support of his argument contended that if only the majority of workmen, who could raise the dispute that could be referred to the Trilbunal. The contention being that after the amend- ment of Section 19, the settlement of award arrived at between the Management and the workers could be terminated only by a ntoice issued by a party representing the majority of persons bound by the settlement or award. The learned counsel maintained that the raising of an industrial dispute is a matter at par with this and that ; it could nto be the in- tention of the Legislature to leave the former to the discretion of a few only. I am afraid, there is ntohing to support this submission of the earned counsel. Sub clause 7 was insented in Section 19 of the Industrial Disputes Act, by Act No. 36 of 1934 to introduce th? majority rule in regard to the termination of settlement and awards, but no such con- dition was added to 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, nor was any imitation placed under Section 1 of the Act on the power of the appro- priate Government to refer the dispute to the Tribunal only when the same was raised by majority of the workmen. The learned Tribunal under the circumstances is fully correct in mv view, in holding that the majority rule was incapable in matters of reference of an industrial dis- putes under Section 10 of the Act. there is no error to call for inter- ference by this Court under articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution.

(12) Strong reliance was then placed on The management of the Karnal Dishllery Co. Ltd., v. The Workmen of Karnal Distillery Co. Ltd.*, The Kandan Textiles, Limited v. The. Industrial Tribunal (/) Mairas^ and Aulia Bldi Factory, B'urhanpur and tohers v. Industrial Tribunal, Indore*, and it was contended that in fact no disoute existed between the workmen and the management of the petitioner Company and.. there- fore the whole reference to the Tribunal was bad. No such plea was taken by the petitioner-Company before the Tri- bunal, All that was argued before it was that the West delhi 'Engineering Mazdoor Union could nto validity take uo the case of its work' men in the absence of any resolution of its General body, authorising it to do so. This could nto by any stretch of argument amount to a plea of denial of the existence of a dispute between the petitioner and its workmen.

(13) In the case of Karnal Distillery Works, the management had taken a distinct and unequivocal stand that there did nto exist any dis- pute between it and the workmen. The contention of the management before the Court was that there has to be a dispute at the time of the reference before a Tribunal could have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the same and the Court found that in fact no such dispute existed in that case and there was thus no basis for the reference and adjudication by the tribunal. On page 163 of the report their Lordships said :

'THEevidence recorded by the Tribunal discloses that nto a single workmen of the management came forward to state that there was any dispute between the workmen and the Management. Nto only that, nto even a single employee, whose services had been dis- pensed with, came to support the claim of the President of the Union that there was an industrial dispute between the workmen and the management. On the contrary, all that workmen, who filed their affidavits before the Tribunal, categorically stated that no dispute bet- ween them and the management existed. Thus it appears to us that the very basis, on which the Tribunal could proceed, namely, that there was an industrial dispute, did nut exist. The law presupposes the existence of an industrial dispute before the Tribunal could pro- ceed to adjudicate the same.'

(14) In Kandan Textiles case a reference to the Tribunal was made by the Governmtnt on the basis of a letter sent by the President of a Labour Union. The Madras High Court quashed the award on the view that the mere letter was nto sufficient to justify the Government to make reference without being satisfied on the material placed before it that disput did exist or was apprehended. This has no bearing on the facts of this case.

(15) In the case of Aulia Bidi Factory, according to the order of reference dated 20th July 1963 itself the Government was of the opinion that an industrial dispute existed between the Rashtriya Bidi Mazdoor Sangh and the Bidi Manufacturers Association, Barhanpur. The latter Association admittedly being nto an employer within the meaning of Section 2(8) of the Act, it was held that there was no occasion for the Government to make a reforenc as no dispute existed between emoloyers and employers or between employers and work man or between workmen and workmen.

(16) None of the cases cited at the bar thereforee help the petitioner company. No foundation Was laid by it either in the pleadings before the Tribunal or at any subsequent stage to entitle it to raise this contention . The learned counsel for the respondent has drawn my attention to a letter produced before the Tribunal purporting to be signed by a considerable number of the employees of the petitioner-Company in support of the demand, but it is nto necessary to go into this question for the simple reason that it is nto open to the petitioner-Company to raise this plea of fact for the first time in these proceedings.

(17) The learned counsel for the petitioner lastly urged that the Tribunal should have held that in face of the Award in Industrial Dispute No. Ii of 1962 the West Delhi Engineering Mazdoor Union did nto have locus standi to represent the workmen of the petitioner-Company. It is nto possible to uphold this contention. As stated earlier, the finding of the Tribunal is that the pressnt Union i.e. West Engineering Mazdoor Union is a newly formed Union with about 80 workmen of the petitioner Company as its members and is different from the Engineering Mazdoor Union named in the reference of 1. D, 11 of 1962 There is thus no ques- corporation of any error apparent to entitle the petitioner to invoke Article 776 of the Constitution.

(18) In view of the above discussion, I find that there is no merit in this petition and the same is, thereforee, dismissed. Parties are left to bear their own costs.


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