Balakrishna Ayyar, J.
1. In December 1952, there was a certain amount of labour trouble in the Coimbatore Cotton Mills, Ltd., Singanallur. The badli workers, that is to say, substitute workers, forced their way into the mills and began to work the machines in contravention of the orders of the management. On 8 December 1952 some badli workers forced their way into the reeling department in defiance of instructions and started to work there. When this was reported to the manager, he directed the reeling maistri to remove the belts so that the reels could not be worked. Five belts were thereupon removed. Kannappan, the respondent 2, was at that time employed in the spinning apartment as a 'doffing boy.' The spinning apartment is in a separate shed adjacent to the reeling apartment. Without obtaining anybody's permission, Kannappan left the spinning apartment and entering the reeling apartment snatched the belts from the hands of the reeling maistri and flung them on the ground. It is alleged that he did so in order to enable badli workers to put the belts back into their place and work the reels. When the conduct of the respondent 2 was reported to the management, it held an enquiry on 24 December 1952, at which the respondent 2 participated. The management Kannappan was guilty of
riotous and disorderly behaviour during working hours in the premises of the factory or any act subversive of discipline.
within the meaning of standing order 19K. On 31 December 1952, the management placed Kannappan under suspension and reported the matter to the labour tribunal for permission to dismiss him from service. Eventually this application was disposed of by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, Madras, by an order made on 21 July 1956. The tribunal refused to grant the permission applied for. The present petition has been filed by the management for the issue of an appropriate writ to quash the order of the tribunal.
2. In Para. 3 of the order the tribunal recorded:
The management came to the conclusion that he (Kannappan) has snatched the belts against the orders of the management, disobeyed the management to sign the notices and many other acts of commission and omission. From the proceedings of the enquiry I am convinced that the worker did snatch the belts from the reeling maistri and flung them on the grounds.
Nonetheless it came to the remarkable conclusion that this did not amount to riotous or disorderly behaviour during working hours. One wonders whether the tribunal considered that actual physical violence is necessary to constitute riotous or disorderly behaviour. The tribunal also held that there was want of bona fides on the part of the management in the proposal to dismiss the respondent 2. It observed:
Ordinarily, an incident of this kind which took place on 8 December 1952, namely, the snatching of the belt, would have warranted only a warning.
3. The tribunal went on to observe:
A reading of these grounds is alone sufficient to convince that the management was persuaded with ulterior motives in proposing to take action against the worker.
Now it seems to me that the tribunal was labouring under a number of misconceptions. The responsibility for the maintenance of of discipline Inside the establishment is that of the management and not of any of the authorities set up under the various enactments relating to labour. It is not for any of these authorities to say what should be the quantum of punishment. The observation that the management was actuated by ulterior motives is not borne out by any evidence.
4. Learned Counsel for the respondent argued that if the situation in December had been different and the atmosphere more peaceful, the management might not have inflicted the penalty of dismissal. That may or may not be. But it is well recognized that one object of punishment is to deter. Very often we find that when crimes of a particular kind have increased in a district, magistrates tend to impose heavier sentences and I am of opinion that this is the correct thing to do. In any case the quantum of punishment was entirely a matter within the discretion of the management and the tribunal had no jurisdiction to interfere with that.
5. The petition is, therefore, allowed and the order of the tribunal is set aside. No order as to costs.