R.A. Mehta, J.
1. The petitioner is dismissed employee of the first respondent Bank. He has challenged the action of dismissal by the first respondent Bank as well as the refusal by the Central Government to refer the dispute under the Industrial Disputes Act. It is not necessary to go into the validity or otherwise of the dismissal order in view of our decision on the second aspect.
2. The petitioner has complained that the dismissal was illegal on several grounds. He had raised the demands of reinstatement with full back wages. The same was contested by the Bank before the Assistant Commissioner of Labour (Central) and ultimately the Assistant Labour Commissioner (Central) made his failure report dated 14th June, 1983 and he observed as follows :
'After protracted discussions it was found that both the parties had divergent view in the matter and therefore the conciliation proceedings were closed as having ended in failure. The workman was ready for arbitration or joint reference but the management's representatives did not agree and finally informed that the management is not willing for arbitration etc., as the action taken against the employee is not arbitrable.'
On this failure report the Central Government by its letter dated 11th August, 1983 decided not to refer the dispute under the Industrial Disputes Act for adjudication 'because the charges levelled against Shri Joshi were proved during enquiry and he also admitted his guilt voluntarily during enquiry. Every opportunity was given to him to defend his case during enquiry and there was no violation of natural justice. The action of the management does not seem to be mala fide or unjustified.' The facts are not in dispute. The workman has complained that so called admission of guilt was not voluntary and he has submitted that he was misled into making such statement and the truth can be found only upon adjudication. The observation of the Central Government that opportunity was given to defend his case during the enquiry and there was no violation of natural justice is a mechanical assertion because in view of the observation that there was voluntary admission there was no question of holding inquiry and giving an opportunity and observing principles of natural justice. On the quantum of punishment also there is no discussion. Section 11A of the Industrial Disputes Act provides that if the Court is satisfied the order of dismissal was not justified, it may set aside the order of dismissal and direct reinstatement of the workman and give such other relief including award of lesser punishment as the circumstances of the case may require. All these question can be properly gone into if a reference is made and the Central Government was not at all justified in assuming adjudicatory role and finally deciding the questions. In case of dismissal of a workman when prima-facie some questions arise for consideration, it would not be proper for the Central Government to decide those questions finally and it would be proper exercise of power and duty to refer such dispute for adjudication to the appropriate authority under the Industrial Disputes Act. In the present case the Central Government has utterly failed to exercise its powers on rational grounds, and, therefore, its order dated 11th August, 1983 is vitiated and is required to be set aside and quashed and therefore appropriate direction for referring the dispute is required to be passed.
3. In the result, the petition succeeds and the order of the Central Government dated 11th August, 1983 refusing to make the reference is quashed and set aside and it is directed that the Central Government shall refer the dispute raised by the petitioner to appropriate Court of Tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act for adjudication. Such reference shall be made within a period of one month of receipt of the writ. Rule is made absolute accordingly no order as to costs.