1. This is a reference at the instance of the Registrar of this court as to whether the proposed appeal should validly be entertained on the appellate side of this court. Certain ministerial employees of the Government departments formed themselves into an association known as the Tamilnadu Non-Gazetted Government Officers' Union and applied to the Registrar of Trade Unions, Madras, the respondent heroin, for registration of their association as a trade union under the Indian Trade Unions Act, XVI of 1926.
The Registrar declined to register the Union. Thereupon the Tamilnad Non-Gazetted Government Officers' Union (assuming for the present purpose that it is a legal entity even before registration) and one T. S. Krishnaiah filed an appeal on the appellate side of this court purporting to be under Section 11 of the Indian Trade Union Act. The office took objection that an appeal under Section 11 of the Indian Trade Union Act is entertainable only on the original side of this Court. As the matter involved was a question of procedure it was posted for orders before the court. Section11 (1) of the Act runs as follows;
"Any person aggrieved by any refusal of the registrar to register a trade union or by the withdrawal ............... may within such period as may be prescribed appeal (a) where the head office of the Trade Union is situated within the limits of a Presidency town to the High Court or (b) where the head office is situated in any other area to such court not inferior to the court of an additional or assistant Judge of a principal civil court of original jurisdiction as the appropriate Government may appoint in this behalf for that area.
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For the purpose of an appeal under Sub-section (1) an appellate court shall so far as may be, follow the same procedure and have the same powers as it follows and has when trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and may direct by whom the whole or any part or the costs of the appeal shall be paid and such costs shall be recovered as if they had been awarded in a suit under the said Code."
Sub-section (3) extracted above makes it clear that the jurisdiction of the court is original in nature and the procedure that is applicable to the suits is enjoined in the conduct of the enquiry. The further question is whether even if the jurisdiction is original the matter should be entertained on the original side of the High Court and not on its appellate side as in the case of certain original writs that are filed under Article 226 of the Constitution.
2. Section 11 (1) itself indicates that the intention of the Legislature was that the jurisdiction should be on the original side of this court. The expression "Presidency town" in Section11 (1) (a) can only refer to the towns where the High Court has original civil jurisdiction. Presidency town has been denned in Section 3(44) of the General Clauses Act (Act X of 1897), as meaning the local limits for the time being of the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature at Calcutta, Madras or Bombay as the case may be.
In cases where the High Courts are situate outside the Presidency towns it would appear that they would have no jurisdiction to entertain appeals as Section11 (b) expressly states that in regard to such areas any court not inferior to the court of an additional or assistant judge of a principal civil court of original jurisdiction as the appropriate Government may appoint in this behalf for that area would have such jurisdiction. One of the conditions in the section for investing authority to hear appeal is that the court should have original jurisdiction. That is consistent with the object of the legislature in providing that such appeals should be heard as if they were suits. In this view I am supported by a decision of the Calcutta High Court in In re Inland Steam Navigation Workers' Union, ILR S3 Cal 565: (AIR 1936 Cal 57) (A).
3. Mr. Ramachandra learned advocate appearing for the appellants in the proposed appeal has invited my attention to Section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act by which appeal against the order of the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation is provided to lie to the High Court in certain matters. In this connection he referred to the practice of the High Court in entertaining such appeals on the appellate side. A perusal of Section 30 of the said Act would show that the High Court is given appellate jurisdiction and not original jurisdiction as in the instant case.
I am therefore of the opinion that we cannot conclude on the basis of mere analogy of Section 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act that an appeal against the order of the Registrar of Trade Unions is entertainable on the appellate side. I agree with the office that the appeal should be filed on the original side of the High Court. The papers will be returned to the Advocate.