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Daniel Dorairaj, No. 254 M.O.C. B and C Mills, General Secretary, B and C Mills Staff Union Vs. Management of the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills Co. Ltd. and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 213 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1964Mad242; (1964)ILLJ207Mad
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 33C, 33C(1) and 33C(2); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantDaniel Dorairaj, No. 254 M.O.C. B and C Mills, General Secretary, B and C Mills Staff Union
RespondentManagement of the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills Co. Ltd. and anr.
Appellant AdvocateS. Mohan Kumaramanglam, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK. Rajah Aiyar, Adv. for King and Partridge and ;Addl. Govt. Pleader
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredCentral Bank of India v. Rajagopalan
Excerpt:
- - ) is whether the claim to good attendance bonus under the terms of an arbitration award which has been made a decree of court, can be agitated under section 33-c(2) of the industrial disputes act, before the labour court, or whether the remedy of the workman in that regard will be to execute the decree. he passed an award on 19-1-1957, and a decree in terms thereof was passed on the original side of this court on 12th april 1957. one of the terms of the arbitration award relates to what is called perfect attendance bonus, the worker being entitled to 50 np. per month in add to his salary, in case of perfect attendance for the first six months in a calendar year and 85 np. per month during the next half year if perfect attendance is shown not merely during the period, but also..........against the judgment of veeraswami, j. (see : (1962)illj91mad - ed.) is whether the claim to good attendance bonus under the terms of an arbitration award which has been made a decree of court, can be agitated under section 33-c(2) of the industrial disputes act, before the labour court, or whether the remedy of the workman in that regard will be to execute the decree.2. towards the end of the year 1955 an industrial dispute arose between the workers and the management of the buckingham and carnatic co. ltd. ultimately there was an agreement between the parties to refer the matter to the arbitration of sri ramaswami gounder who was then presiding over the industrial tribunal, at madras. he passed an award on 19-1-1957, and a decree in terms thereof was passed on the original side of.....
Judgment:

S. Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.

1. The principal or the only question involved in this appeal against the judgment of Veeraswami, J. (See : (1962)ILLJ91Mad - Ed.) is whether the claim to good attendance bonus under the terms of an arbitration award which has been made a decree of Court, can be agitated Under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, before the Labour Court, or whether the remedy of the workman in that regard will be to execute the decree.

2. Towards the end of the year 1955 an industrial dispute arose between the workers and the management of the Buckingham and Carnatic Co. Ltd. Ultimately there was an agreement between the parties to refer the matter to the arbitration of Sri Ramaswami Gounder who was then presiding over the Industrial Tribunal, at Madras. He passed an award on 19-1-1957, and a decree in terms thereof was passed on the Original Side of this Court on 12th April 1957. One of the terms of the arbitration award relates to what is called perfect attendance bonus, the worker being entitled to 50 nP. per month in add to his salary, in case of perfect attendance for the first six months in a calendar year and 85 nP. per month during the next half year if perfect attendance is shown not merely during the period, but also during the preceding six months. If the latter condition were not satisfied he would be entitled to bonus only at 50 nP. per month for perfect attendance. In the computation of such bonus absence for one day would be condoned if it was occasioned by medical leave or leave on the occasion of the death or other connected ceremonies of a relative.

3. According to the management in October 1958 at the, request of the workers, a holiday was granted on condition of the latter agreeing to work on some others holiday. When however the latter clay came the appellant refused to attend. Excluding that day, there were no doubt 25 working days in the month during which the appellant attended. The management, declined to pay him the 50 nP. bonus for that month as the workman had not turned up for work on the compensatory working day. This claim was sought to be enforced by the worker in an application Under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, before the Labour Court, Madras. The jurisdiction of that court to decide the claim was contested by the management on the ground that the claim arising as it did under an arbitration award which had subsequently been made a decree of court, could not be said to arise under a settlement or award or under the provisions of Ch. V-A of the Industrial Disputes Act and that therefore, could not properly come within the terms of the section. The underlying assumption on which that objection resists is that Section 33-C(2) would cover only claims of the kind specified in Section 33-C(1) namely, those arising out of an industrial award or settlement or under the provisions of Ch. V-A of the Act. This objection was sustained by the Labour Court which rejected the appellant's claim. An application under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the order of the Labour Court failed before Veeraswami J. The learned Judge held that Sub-section 2 of Section 33-C should be read conformably to Sub-section 1 and that neither of them could refer to claims of the nature specified as an arbitration award. Hence the present appeal.

4. The view taken by the learned Judge can no longer be supported, having regard to the decision in Central Bank of India v. Rajagopalan, : (1963)IILLJ89SC their Lordships of the Supreme Court after exhaustively dealing with the scope of the section held, that Sub-section (2) of Section 33-C was wider in scope than Sub-section 1. It must also be remembered that the claim under the arbitration award in the instant case relates to the terms and conditions of employment and' not extraneous thereto. Such a claim will undoubtedly be comprehended by Section 33-C(2). The only argument against the maintainability before the Labour Court of the claim for good attendance bonus was that the appellant had another remedy permitted by law by way of executing the decree passed on the basis of the award. In the case referred to above, it has been specifically pointed out that the rights conferred under the provisions 1 exist In addition to any other mode of recovery which the workmen had under the law. Therefore, the existence of an independent process at law for recovery of bonus, cannot take away the statutory right given to the workman under Section 33-C(2). This means that the view takers by the Labour Court cannot be sustained.

5. But the question still remains to be decided whether this Court should exercise its discretionary power of interference under Article 226 of the Constitution, and direct the Labour Court to proceed with the enquiry relating to a claim of 50 nP. alleged to have been due to the appellant from the management some five years ago. It is one of the recognised maxims of law that courts do not concern themselves about trifles (De Minimis Non Curat Lex). Acting on this principle courts have frequently refused to send cases back to the trial Court whose judgments had been set aside, where the question remaining to be decided is too inconsiderable to be taken note of. in the present case, there has no doubt been a genuine dispute between the management and the worker in regard to the claim of 50 nP. as good attendance bonus for the month of October 1958. To investigate the matter now would involve greater trouble and hardship to the workman himself than losing the actual claim involved in the case. When the management took objection to the maintainability of the petition before the Labour Court, they were perhaps concerned with tile question of a principle being settled namely, whether the arbitration award should be enforced through the ordinary courts of the land, or through the agency of industrial tribunals. Equally it can be said of the workman, that he was concerned in having that question settled so that he could be guided in future. But those considerations do not apply now; we have held that it would be competent for the Labour court to entertain under Section 33-C(2) of a claim under an arbitration award.

6. What is left to be decided is only the consequential matter relating to payment of 50 nP. We do not consider that for the determination of that question, further time of the courts and energies of the parties should be spent. Subject to the foregoing observations we dismiss the appeal. There will, however, be no order as to costs in any of the Courts.


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