D.K. Kapur, J.
1. The present petition has been heard Along with a number of similar petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution. The second respondent in this case, Shri Chander Pal, applied under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to the Labour Court, Delhi, claiming a sum of Rs. 6,200 on account of the fact that he was placed under suspension for 4 months in 1967-68, 8 months in 1972 and for one year and 12 daps from 9th January, 1974 to 21st January, 1975.
2. The Delhi Transport Corporation, the petitioner in the present proceedings, contested the application, (a) on the ground that the application was not maintainable under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 because the applicant was a 'motor transport worker' covered by the Motor Transport Workers' Act. 1961 and (b) on the ground that the laid workman was rightly paid subsistence allowance during the period of suspension, under the service regulations.
3. In its decision, the Labour Court held that the mere fact that the workman could be described as a 'motor transport worker' did not take away the authority of the Labour Court. It was observed that the existence of another remedy under the Payment of Wages Act did not bar the claim under the Industrial Disputes Act. it was also held, following the decision in the Central Bank of India v. P.S. Rajagopalan : (1963)IILLJ89SC , decided by the Supreme Court that the jurisdiction under Section 33C was wide enough to enable the question whether the suspension was wrongful to be adjudicated upon. On the merits, it was held that the suspension ordered in the years 1967-68 by the Traffic Superintendent Headquarters was without any authority. As regards the second suspension in the year 1972 it was also held that the suspension was invalid as the Officer on Special Duty who passed the order had also no authority. As regards the third suspension from 9th January, 1974 to 21st January, 1975, it was held that the Delhi Transport Corporation has by resolution No. 271 taken away the power of the Assistant General Manager to order suspension and, thereforee, the order was not competent. It was also conceded before the Labour Court that the Assistant General Manager did not have the requisite power. Accordingly, the claim was allowed to the extent of Rs. 3,668.32 on the footing that the order of suspension was not valid for any of the three periods in question. The amount awarded was based on certain calculations, which are not in dispute now. Hence, the determination regarding its quantum can be taken to be correct.
4. The Delhi Transport Corporation has challenged the order by means of this writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution on the ground that the finding given by the Labour Court regarding the suspension being inoperative was outside its powers under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. It is also contended that the power to invoke Section 33C(2) has been taken away by the passing of the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961 (Central Act 27 of 1961).
5. To take the first point first, the argument of the petitioner is that before allowing the claim, the Labour Court had to go behind the order passed against the workman whereby he had been suspended and paid a subsistence allowance. It is urged that this is beyond the competence of a Labour Court acting under Section 33C. This very point was dealt with by the Supreme Court in the Central Bank of India v. P.S. Rajagopalan etc. : (1963)IILLJ89SC . The Court pointed out that Section 33C could not be read as being wide enough to cover cases which fall under Section 10(1), It was said:
Where industrial disputes arise between employees acting collectively and their employers. they must be adjudicated upon in the manner prescribed by the act, as for instance, by reference under Section 10(1). These disputes cannot be brought within the purview of Section 33C.
6. Later on in that judgment it was again pointed out that if an employee is dismissed or demoted and his dismissal or demotion is wrongful it will not be open for him to claim arrears of his salary or wages under Section 33C(2) on the footing that the dismissal, etc. was invalid. It was further stated that Section 33C was invalid. It was further stated that Section 33C was in the nature of execution proceedings giving to the Labour Court the power to implement a decree or award. Thus, the Supreme Court clarified that 'Industrial Disputes' could not be decided by a Labour Court under Section 33C as an excuse for awarding the claims of a workman. At the same time, the Court indicated that when a workman made a claim under Section 33C(2), the Labour Court was not bound to reject the claim if it was disputed. On this point it was stated as follows:
Before proceedings to compute the benefit in terms of money, the Labour Court inevitably has to deal with the question as to whether the workman has a right to receive that benefit. If the said right is not disputed, nothing more need to be done and the Labour Court can proceed to compute the value of the benefit in terms of money; but if the said right is disputed, the Labour Court must deal with the question, and decide whether the workman has the right to receive the benefit as alleged by him and it is only if the Labour Court answers this point in favor of the workman that the next question of making the necessary computation can arise.
7. Thus, although the Court indicated that there was a power to determine disputes regarding the right of the workman to receive the amount claimed by him, that power did not extend so far as to determine industrial disputes. The net result of the judgment was that some types of disputes could be determined under Section 33C whereas other disputes, being the nature of industrial disputes, could not be decided by the Labour Court under this provision.
8. In the present case, the claim of the workman to receive full wages was based on an invalid suspension. The suspension order in this case was passed on three occasions by persons, who have been found by the Labour Court to have no power to order suspension; that there has been no attempt before me to show that the suspension order was valid in any of these cases. thereforee, the only question which arises under this part of the petitioner's case is whether it is within the capacity of the Labour Court to determine the invalidity of the suspension or whether this matter has necessarily to be referred to an Industrial Tribunal as an Industrial Dispute. The definition of ''industrial dispute' in the Act shows that it is a dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workman, 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 person. The question whether an order of suspension is valid or not is not apparently an industrial dispute, and, thereforee, does not appear to be a question which could have been referred to an Industrial Tribunal as an Industrial Dispute.
9. It is also necessary to refer to the terms of Section 33C(2) which are as follows:
Where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money and if any question arises as to the amount or money due or as to the amount at which such benefit should be computed, then the question may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, be decided by such Labour Court as may be specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government.
This provision clearly indicates that a question relating to the computation of the amount payable to a workman can be determined by the Labour Court under this provision. Now the case of the workman in this case is : I am entitled to full wages because my suspension is not valid. The case of the employer is: You have been suspended, even if your suspension is invalid you cannot get more than a subsistence allowance. This is clearly a question falling under Section 33(2): it is not an industrial dispute, thereforee, it seems to fall within the scope of Section 33C(2).
10. The learned Counsel for the petitioner has referred to another decision of the Supreme Court Central Inland Water Transport Corporation Ltd v. Their Workmen 1976 2 L.L.J 117 : 46 (1974) Indian Factories Journal, 1, in which Section 33C(2) was again interpreted. In that case in analysing the section, the Court observed that normally a claim required the determination of '(i) the plaintiff's right to relief; (ii) the corresponding liability of the defendant, including whether the defendant is, at all, liable or not; and (iii) the extent of the defendant's liability, if any'. On these three points, it was held that the first two points, the plaintiff's right and the defendant's liability could not be worked out under Section 33C(2) but the extent of the liability could be worked out. In the present case, there is no doubt that there is a relationship of employer and employee between the workmen and the undertaking. The only question for determination was what was the rate at which wages were to be paid. This depend on the validity of the suspension orders The suspension orders were admittedly passed by certain officials working for the undertaking. If they had no power to pass an order of suspension, clearly, the workman was entitled to full wages, This point could be determined by the Labour Court. The only dispute to be resolved was whether the undertaking, as the employer could pay less than full wages during the periods when invalid suspension orders were operating.
11. There are many other reported decisions under Section 33C in which various types of claims have been referred to 'by learned Counsel'. It would be out of place in the present judgment, to analyze these various judgments in very great detail. It is well settled, that some of the claims made by workmen have fallen outside the scope of Section 33C. In such cases the workman's claim has been rejected on the ground that it is really a matter which falls within the scope of an industrial adjudication which can only be ordered by the State Government by making a reference under Section 10 of the Act. I think, the settled position may be summarised as follows:
1. If the claim of a workman involves an adjudication of disputes which falls within the definition of an industrial dispute as given in the Act, then that dispute cannot be resolved under Section 33C(2)
2. If a claim, in the nature of an execution application relating to an industrial award or settlement, is made, then Section 33C(2) is available.
3. Even other claims of workman not arising out of awards or settlements can be made the subject-matter of claim under Section 33C.
4. If such claims are disputed, the dispute can be resolved and the claims quantified by the Labour Court, unless the disputes raised amount to industrial disputes.
5. If there is a subsisting relationship of master and servant or employer and employee, then the Labour Court has jurisdiction under Section 33C(2) to determine the scope of the contract for quantifying the claim made.
6. If the relationship of master and servant, etc., has been terminated, then the Labour Court cannot determine the validity of the termination for the purposes of determining a money claim.
7. If a workman makes a claim for additional wages (beyond his con tract) or relating to the conditions of his work, then it is a matter beyond the Labour Court's power under Section 33C(2) because the claim falls within the scope of an industrial dispute
All the decided cases can be dove-tailed within this statement of the Law. Thus, if a workman claims certain rights such as confirmation or the end of probation, or extra wages dependent on the kind of work he is doing or on account of changes in the cost of living and such like claims, they will be outside the scope of the Labour Court The Labour Court is not debarred from analysing the term of the contract or terms of service of a workman, to determine what is the rightful due of a workman; to hold otherwise would mean that the Labour Court would be deprived of jurisdiction merely because of the denial of the employer, howsoever ill-founded it might be. Hence I confirm the view of the Labour Court that it did have jurisdiction, and did have the power to find out if the contest raised by the employer was valid, which in turn depended on whether the orders suspending the workman were valid or not.
12. I may mention here that there have been several cases in which Labour Courts have been held to have jurisdiction to entertain claims for wages payable during a period of suspension under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act; and, thereforee, reference to these cases now will be useful. In T.S. Kailasa Iyer and Anr. v. K.P.V. Shaik Ltd. Rowther and Anr. 19711 L.L.J. 321, Ismail, J. of the Madras High Court referred to two previous decisions of the Madras High Court in Doraikannu v. Hotel Savoy 1966 1 L.L.J. 701, and Hotel Imperial v. Hotel Workers Union 1959 2 L.L.J. 544, in which it had been held that the power to suspend was not an implied term of a contract between master and servant; there had to be an express term in the contract or some statutory provision or rule or standing order permitting such a suspension. In the case actually before the Court, the workman concerned had been suspended and the Labour Court had disallowed his claim for full wages. The High Court allowed the writ petition on the ground that the workmen were not claiming an order to set aside their suspension but were making a claim as to what were the wages to be paid to them during the period of suspension; the two petitioning workmen, were allowed to recover full wages during the period of suspension. In K M. Mohammed Abdul Kader Firm v. Labour Court, Madurai and Anr. 19712 L.L.J. 130, which was also decided by Ismail, J., a claim for bonus was also permitted to be recovered under Section 33C(2) because it was found that the amount of bonus constituted a part of salary or/wages. In Indian Refrigeration Industries v. Labour Court. Delhi and Anr. 1974 2 L.L.J. 426, decided by B.C. Misra, J. of this Court it was held in the case of a workman who had allegedly been dismissed, that the claim for wages was maintainable because the existence of the order of dismissal was not established before the Labour Court. I may mention that the dismissal in question had taken place while an Industrial Dispute was pending and such an dismissal was void unless the Industrial Tribunal approved the same. These three judgments indicate that claims of the type raised in the present case have been allowed in somewhat similar circumstances under Section 33C(2), in spite of orders of suspension and even orders of dismissal, on the footing that the orders of dismissal, on the footing that the orders of suspension or dismissal did not have the effect of suspending the payment of full wages. I have also decided a similar matter in D.E.S.U. v. Presiding Officer and Ors. (C.W. No. 553/76, decided on 29th April, 77) in which I have upheld the decision of a Labour Court allowing full wages during suspension on the ground that the suspension orders in question did not effect the obligation of the employer to pay full wages, on account of the facts of the case. In another case decided also by Ismail, J. V. Raju v. President Madurai District Central Cooperative Bank Limited, Madurai and Anr. 1975 2 L.L.J. 240 : (1975) 30 F.J.R. 161, a claim under Section 33C(2) made by an employee who had been dismissed after being suspended, for wages payable during the period of suspension was disallowed on the ground that the claim was not maintainable so long as the order of dismissal remained operative. Thus, I have no doubt that the claim in the present case, which has been allowed by the Labour Court, was maintainable under Section 33C(2) as it was based on the allegation that in reality-no orders of suspension existed, having been passed by unauthorised officials.
13. The next question for consideration is whether the enactment of the Motor Transport Workers' Act. 1961 has taken away the Labour Court's jurisdiction. To understand this point, it is necessary to note that Section 25 of this Act states that the Payment of wages Act, 1936, shall apply to motor transport workers as it applies to other workers in industrial establishments. I must say, that the meaning sought to be given to this section by the petitioner, is entirely inconsistent with what is said in the Payment of Wages Act, 1916 itself. That Act applies in any case to persons employed in factories and persons employed in the railways, etc. It also enables the State Government by notification, to extend it (the Act) to other classes of workers, employed in any industrial establishment. To my mind, the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961 has merely extended the benefits of the Payment wages Act, 1936 to motor transport workers. Even previously, the Act applied to factory workers and railway workers. Nobody has said that factory workers are not entitled to apply under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 under Section 33C. I cannot see why the application of the Payment of wages Act, 1936 to motor transport workers should take away their rights under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which has always been available to other workers to whom the Payment of wages Act, 1936 applied previously. The contention of the learned Counsel is that that the Payment of wages Act, 1936 was passed before the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and, thereforee, does not affect the right of other workers to apply under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. However, the Motor Transport Workers, Act, 1961 was passed later than the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and thereafter it operates as a repeal of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, as far as the motor transport workers are concerned; to my mind this is an extraordinary result which nobody could have possibly contemplated.
15. The rule of repeal by implication is quite well-settled. No repeal is to be implied easily. The law has to be strictly construed. Unless two acts are hopelessly inconsistent with each other; no law can be read as impliedly repealing a previous law. The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 gives a right to workers to apply under Section 33C, The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 also gives some of them a right to apply under Section 15 regarding claims arising out of deductions from wages or delays in payment of wages. These are two concurrent rights which can exist separately without any apparent difficulty. A worker may apply under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 or the same worker may apply under Section 33C of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. I cannot find any inconsistency between these two provisions.
16. The learned Counsel contends on the basis of a judgment of a single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Sri Bharati Vela Bus Service v. The Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Guntur and Anr. (1977) L I C 320 that it has been held that Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, was repealed by Section 25 of the Motor Transport Workers' Act 1961 by the application of maximum 'Generalia specialibus non derogant.' It was observed, after reference to some other judgments, that a later special act will impliedly repeal an earlier general Act. To my mind, this is a misunderstanding of the meaning of the Latin maxim. The meaning of the maxim Generalia specialibus non derogant is fully illustrated in Broom's Legal Maxims at page 348 The passage also deals with repeals by implication:
It is then, an elementary rule that an earlier Act must give place to a later if the two cannot be reconciled lex posterior derogate priori (e) non-est novum ut priores leges ad posteriors trahantur (f) - and one Act may repeal another by express words or by implication; for it is enough if there be words which by necessary implication repeal it (g). But a repeal by implication is never to be favored and must not be imputed to the Legislature without necessity (h) or strong reason (i), to be shown by the party imputing it (k). It is only effected where the provisions of the later enactment are so inconsistent with, or repugnant, to, those of the earlier that the two cannot stand together; unless the two Acts are so plainly repugnant to each other that effect cannot be given to both at the same time a repeal cannot be implied; and special Act are not repealed by general Acts unless there be some express reference to the previous legislation, or a necessary inconsistency, in the two Acts standing together (l) which prevents the maxim generalia specialibus non derogate from being applied (m). For where there are general words in a matter Act capable of reasonable application without being extended to subjects specially dealt with by earlier legislation, then, in the absence of an indication of a particular intention to that effect, the presumption is that the general words were not intended to repeal the earlier and special legislation (n), or to take away a particular privilege of a particular class of persons (o). 'The law will now allow the exposition to revoke or alter by construction of general words any particular statute, where the words may have their proper operation without it' (p).
16. The real meaning of the maxim must to be understood as meaning that a general law does not repeal a special law. It should not be read to mean quite the opposite, namely, that a special law ordinarily repeals a general law.
17. Similarly, Craies on Statute Law at page 377 states the rule as follows:
The general rule, that prior statutes are held to be repealed by implication by subsequent statutes if the two are repugnant, is said not to apply if the prior enactment is special and the subsequent enactment is general, the rule of law being, as stated by Lord Selborne in Seward v. Vera Cruz, that where there are general words in a later Act capable of reasonable and sensible application without extending them to subjects specially dealt with by earlier legislation, you are not to hold that earlier and special legislation indirectly repealed, altered, or derogated from merely by force or such general words, without any indication of a particular intention to do so. There is a well-known rule which has an application to this case,, which is that a subsequent general Act does not affect a prior special Act by implication. That this is the law cannot be doubted, and the cases on the subject will be found collected in the third edition of Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes. The general maxim is, Generalia specialibus non derogant, i.e., General provisions will not abrogate special provisions.
It is unnecessary to continue this analysis to any greater extent. Shortly stated, the rule is that if there are two statutes which are repugnant to each other which cannot consistently stand together, the later statute repeals the earlier one by implication. If the later statute is a general one and the earlier one is special law then this rule is not to be applied to the present case, only if there was a repugnancy between Section 33C of the Industrial Disputes Act and Section 15, of the Payment of Wages Act. As I have observed, these two sections are not repugnant to each other, because they give two possible remedies to a workman. Of course, no workman can claim both remedies at the same time, but he is not debarred from claiming either one or the other. There are many rules about implied repeals and the general necessity of making attempts to reconcile any repugnancy that such arise. These matters have been elaborately dealt with by Craies on Statute Law and in Maxwell of the Interpretation of statutes. But, before, these questions need to be considered there must exist some in-compatible situation which shows that the two statutes are repugnant to each other and cannot co-exist. To my mind here there is neither any repugnancy nor any incompatible nor absurd situation, nor any inconvenient situation by reason of the existence of two simultaneous remedies. There is, thereforee, no implied repeal, and by no means can it be said that a special law has repealed a general law; nor has any general law repealed a special law. In fact, both the Payment of Wages Act and the Industrial Disputes Act are both general laws as they apply to a large variety of workmen and there is no inconsistency in between them.
18. I may now turn to some reported cases in which it has been held that the Payment of Wages Act and the Industrial Disputes Act can operate at the time to enable a particular workman being able to avail of either the remedy provided by Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act or under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. In W. Narasimha Pai v. Demodars Bhat and Anr. (1971) L I.C. 378., it was held that even though a claim was barred by time under the Payment of Wages Act and a civil suit was barred under Section 22 of the Act, there was no bar to an application under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. This was a decision of the Mysore High Court. Similarly, a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court decided in Kilaru Gopala Rao v. Labour Court, Hyderabad and Anr. (1977) 34, F.L.R. 75, that such a claim, though barred by time under the Minimum Wages Act could be maintained under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. A very large number of cases are referred to in the judgment to show that other High Courts had taken the same view It is unnecessary to refer to all those cases here. A Division Bench of the Madras High Court in Ananda Transport, Tirupattur v. M. Challia and Ors. 1975 2 L.L.J. 39 dealt with the claims of certain motor transport workers which had been allowed by a Labour Court. An objection was taken that the claims were not maintainable under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, because of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and the Motor Transport Workers, Act, 1961. The Bench followed a decision by Ismail, J. in Southern Roadways (P) Ltd. v. Venkateswarlu (1960), 37 F.J.R. 316, to hold that it was not the intention of the Legislature to debar motor transport workers from availing of the remedy under Section 33C; these workers were not confined only to the remedy under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act.
19. Some other judgments have been brought to my notice by the learned Counsel for the petitioner in support of the view that the provisions of the Motor Transport Workers Act supersede the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act as far as claims under Section 33C are concerned. It was held in Bihar State Road Transport Corporation v. Orang Behadur and Anr. (1968) L I.C. 801, that claims under the Bihar Shops and Establishments Act could not be made by motor transport workers, after the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961, was passed. On an analysis of this judgment, find that this is on account of the special language used in Section 2(h) of the Motor Transport Workers' Act. Similarly in Amarnath Singh v. Industrial tribunal, Bihar and Ors. (1970) 3S F.J.R. 531, a Full Bench of the Patna High Court held that a claim could not be made by a driver employed by a Motor Transport Undertaking under Section 28(1) of the Bihar Shops and Establishments Act, 1953. The ratio of this decision is based on the definition of 'Motor transport Workers' given in Section 2(h) of the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961. That definition after defining a motor transport worker creates two exceptions which are (a) persons who are employed in factories, and (b) persons whose conditions of service are regulated by any law applying to persons employed in shops or commercial establishment, he cannot be both at the same time. Similarly, a person employed in a factory cannot be a motor transport worker. It is the mutual exclusiveness created by this definition that brings about the result that either the Motor Transport Workers' Act has to apply or one of the State Shops and Establishments Act; the Acts cannot apply at the same time. These judgments are based on the mutual exclusiveness of the operation of the Motor Transport Workers' Act; they have no bearing at all on the question now before me, namely, whether a person who is a motor transport worker can apply under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. To my mind, there is no legal principle available to exclude the operation or availability of Section 33C of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to motor transport workers. I have given full reasons above.
20. I may mention that this very question has been very elaborately dealt with in the judgment delivered by Ismail, J, of the Madras High Court in Southern Roadways (Private) Ltd. v. D. Venkateswarlu and Anr. (1970) 37 F.J.R. 317, which has been affirmed by a Division Bench of the same Court in another case quoted earlier by me in the present judgment. In this case, Ismail. J., has also taken the same view as I have reached, namely, that both the remedies are available to a workman. It would not be out of place to mention that the judgment relies on the decision of the Supreme Court in Bombay Gas Co. v Gopal Bhiya (1963) 25 F.J.R. 179, where the Supreme Court held in effect that the remedy under Section 33C(2) is available even if the claim of a workman is barred by time under the Payment of Wages Act. Reliance was also placed by Ismail J., on the judgment of the Punjab High Court in Municipal Committee, Tarn Taran v. State of Punjab 1967 2 L.L.J. 568 and the judgment of the Gujarat High Court in Shri Ambica Mills Ltd. No. 2 Ahmedabad v. Second Labour Court (1967) 33 F.J.R. 14. I have already referred to a number of other cases in which the same view has been taken. Relying on these decisions I would hold that the enactment of the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961 does not debar the work, man of the petitioner--Corporation under Section 33C(2). In addition, to all the other points mentioned, I may also state that Section 33C(2) was re-enacted after amendment by the Central Act No. 36 of 1964 and, thereforee, the present section is a later enactment than the Motor Transport Workers' Act, 1961. There is no rule of interpretation by which a later Act or enactment can be treated as repealed by an earlier Act. Hence, this is an additional point favoring the view that the Labour Court did have jurisdiction.
21. In view of my conclusions on both the points raised in this case, the present writ petition has to be dismissed. However, in the circumstances, I leave the parties to bear their own costs.