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The Pali Electricity Co. Ltd. Vs. Industrial Tribunal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Case No. 28 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1958Raj175; (1959)ILLJ282Raj
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 33, 33(1) and 33A
AppellantThe Pali Electricity Co. Ltd.
Respondentindustrial Tribunal and anr.
Appellant Advocate Hastimal, Adv.
Respondent Advocate B.D. Sharma, Adv. for Non-petitioner No. 2
DispositionApplication allowed
Excerpt:
- .....or national tribunal in respect of an industrial dispute, no employer shall,--(a) in repard to any matter connected with the dispute, alter, to the prejudice of the workmen concerned in such dispute, the conditions oe service applicable to them immediately btfore the commencement of such proceeding.' 5. now section 33(1)(a) applies only in regard to any matter connected with the dispute pending beiore the court or tribunal. if the matter is not connected with the dispute pending before the court or tribunal, other sub-sections of section 33 apply. to give jurisdiction, therefore, to the tribunal to entertain a complaint under section 33a, read with section 33(1)(a), it had to be shown in this case that the matter which was brought before it on complaint by nathuram was connected with the.....
Judgment:

K.N. Wanchoo, C.J.

1. This is an application by the Pali Electricity Co. Ltd., under Article 226 of the Constitution challengingthe order of the Industrial Tribunal in connection with a dispute between the applicant and one of its employees.

2. The case of the applicant is briefly this. The applicant is supplying electric energy in the town of Pali. Nathuratn, opposite party No. 2 is a wireman in the employ of the applicant. There was an accident to Nathuram while he was working on behalf of the Company on 5-1-1957. As a result of that accident, Nathurarn was unable to work and remained in hospital from 5th January to 29th February 1957. During that period the applicant paid him Rs. 50 by way of gratuity. The applicant also advanced Rs. 75 to him and paid him the full wages for the month of January 1957. It appears that the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (No. 34 of 1948) was brought in force in this area on 1-12-1956. In consequence of that, the applicant had to make contributions under Section 22 of that Act. It also appears that as that Act had come into force, Nathuram was paid compensation under it. Consequently, the applicant started deducting what had been paid as advance and also the wages for the month of January from the salary of Nathuram after he rejoined. Thereupon Nathuram made an application under Section 33A of the Industrial Disputes Act (No. 14 of 1947) hereinafter called the Act, to the Industrial Tribunal which was then seized of a dispute between the applicant and its employees.

3. Nathuram s complaint was that the applicant was not entitled to deduct what had been paid to him as he was entitled to full wages during the period he was disabled under the conditions of service prevailing in the applicant company. This application was opposed on behalf of the applicant and the first contention of the applicant was that the application did not lie under Section 33A of the Act. An issue was framed in this connection by the Tribunal, which is issue No. 2, namely whether the deductions in respect of the complainant's wages for the months of January and February, 1957 made by the company amount to alteration of conditions of service in contravention of the provisions of Section 33 of the Act. The Tribunal came to the conclusion that this was so and that it had therefore jurisdiction to entertain the application under Section 33A of the Act. There were other points raised in the application, but we do not think it necessary to set them down as we are of opinion that the case can be determined on this preliminary question of jurisdiction.

4. Mow Section 33A of the Act provides that where an employer contravenes the provisions of Section 33 during the pendency of proceedings before a Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal, any employee aggrieved by such contravention, may make a complaint in writing, in the prescribed manner to such Court or Tribunal and on receipt of such complaint, that Court or Tribunal shall adjudicate upon the complaint as if it were a dispute referred to or pending before it, in accordance with the provisions of this Act and shall submit its award to the appropriate Government. It is clear, therefore, that Section 33A will only apply if there is contravention of the provisions of Section 33. In the present case, the contravention that is alleged is of Section 33(1)(a) of the Act. The relevant portion of that section is as below :

'During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer or a Board or of anv proceeding before a Labour Court or Tribunal or National Tribunal in respect of an industrial dispute, no employer shall,--

(a) in repard to any matter connected with the dispute, alter, to the prejudice of the workmen concerned in such dispute, the conditions oE service applicable to them immediately btfore the commencement of such proceeding.'

5. Now Section 33(1)(a) applies only in regard to any matter connected with the dispute pending beiore the Court or Tribunal. If the matter is not connected with the dispute pending before the Court or Tribunal, other sub-sections of Section 33 apply. To give jurisdiction, therefore, to the Tribunal to entertain a complaint under Section 33A, read with Section 33(1)(a), it had to be shown in this case that the matter which was brought before it on complaint by Nathuram was connected with the dispute which was pending before it. This aspect oi the matter has not been considered by the Tribunal at all in its judgment and the reason seems.to be that the words ''in regard to any matter connected with the dispute' appeared in Section 33(1)(a) for the first time by the amendment Act No. 36 of 1954 and perhaps that amendment was not brought to the notice ot the Tribunal. It is to be found Only in the latest edition of the Act and that may explain why the Tribunal overlooked it. We have, therefore, to see whether the complaint of Nathuram in this case was with regard to a matter connected with a dispute which was pending beiore the Tribunal. Now the dispute which was pending before the Tribunal was this. 'Whether the workmen of the Pali Electricity Co. Ltd., are entitled to get bonus for the years 1953-54 and 1954-55, and if so, what should be the quantity of such bonus ?' The question is whether the deduction from the wages of Nathnram by the applicant can be said to be connected in any way with the dispute which was pending before the Tribunal. It was urged by learned counsel for Nathuram that bonus is connected with wages in the sense that the quantum o! bonus may depend on the quantum of wages. Even if that is so, we are of opinion that there can be no connection between the bonus for the years 1953-54 and 1954-55 and the wages for the year 1956-57. All that could be said would be that wages for the years 1953-54 and 1954-55 might be connected in some way with the bonus for those years; but any dispute as to the wages for the year 1956-57 would, in our opinion, have no connection whatsoever with the dispute as to bonus for the years 1953-54 and 1954-55. Therefore, this complaint made by Nathuram cannot be said to be in regard to any matter connected with the dispute. It follows, therefore, that no such com-piairit as was made by Nathuram could be made under Section 33A of the Act before the Industrial Tribunal hearing the dispute, because there was in this case no contravention of Section 33(1)(a) on account of the absence of any connection between the complaint of Nathuram and the dispute before the Tribunal. We may add that we say nothing about the merits of the dispute between Nathurarn and the applicant and Nathuram may pursue his remedy, it any, before the proper authority.

6. We, therefore, allow the application and set aside the order of the Tribunal. In the circumstances of the case, we order parties to bear their own costs of this Court.


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