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Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd., Dalmiapuram Vs. Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) Madras 7 and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 815 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1961Mad297; [1961(2)FLR428]; (1960)IILLJ697Mad; (1960)IILLJ697Mad
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 33(2)
AppellantDalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd., Dalmiapuram
RespondentRegional Labour Commissioner (Central) Madras 7 and ors.
Appellant AdvocateV.C. Gopalaratnam, ;L.V. Krishnaswami Iyer and ;K. Tirumelai, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateT. Ramakrishna, Adv. for ;Addl. Govt. Pleader and ;S. Mohan Kumaramangalam and ;S. Ramaswami, Advs.
Cases ReferredMad and Gordon Woodroffe and Co. Ltd. v. Venugopal
Excerpt:
- - the commissioner proceeded to dispose of the matter by passing a peculiar order which is best set out in his own words:.....for the manufacture of cement. there are also quarries, from which materials are obtained. the workers employed fall into two groups namely, those employed in the factory premises, and those who work in the quarries. 22 workmen, who are respondents 2 to 23 in the petition, were unskilled workers doing duties in the third quarry in dalmiapuram. the condition of service under which they were employed, were that, if no work could be found for them on a particular day in the quarry in which they were employed they should be kid off, and that they were not entitled to enter into any other quarry. contrary to that rule, respondents 2 to 23 who were laid off, on 31st july 1958, unauthorisedly invaded quarry no. 1, and demanded work front the maistry. confusion ensued, and it is stated that.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Ramachandra Iyer, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, praying that this court may be pleased to issue a writ of certiorari calling for records in No. III (47) of 1958, and quash the order dated 23-8-1958 made therein by the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Madras-7.

2. The petitioner is the Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd., a company, carrying on business in the manufacture and sale of cement in Dalmiapuram; Tiruchirapalli Dt. The company maintains a factory for the manufacture of cement. There are also quarries, from which materials are obtained. The workers employed fall into two groups namely, those employed in the factory premises, and those who work in the quarries. 22 workmen, who are respondents 2 to 23 in the petition, were unskilled workers doing duties in the third quarry in Dalmiapuram.

The condition of service under which they were employed, were that, if no work could be found for them on a particular day in the quarry in which they were employed they should be kid off, and that they were not entitled to enter into any other quarry. Contrary to that rule, respondents 2 to 23 who were laid off, on 31st July 1958, unauthorisedly invaded quarry No. 1, and demanded work front the maistry. Confusion ensued, and it is stated that the aforesaid respondents indulged in unruly and riotous behaviour as a result of which the police had to be brought in to restore peace.

The management took up disciplinary proceedings against the workers and framed the following charges : (1) that they unauthorisedly entered into the premises of 1 quarry, (2) that they prevented the workers in I quarry from their discharging the normal and regular work, (3) that they misbehaved in the quarry premises and indulged in indisciplined and unruly behaviour, and (4)that on 31st July 1958, they refused to load the trucks as per the instructions and thereby disobeyed the lawful and reasonable order of their superiors.

After giving notice to the parties, the management conducted an enquiry on 7th August 1958, and came, to the conclusion that the workers were guilty of the charges. The management could riot, however, effect appropriate punishment forthwith, in view of the pendency of certain conciliation proceedings; Those proceedings were, however, unrelated to the charges framed against the respondents. The management, thereupon applied, under the provision of Section 83(2) (b) for permission of the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Madras to discharge the workers. The Commissioner, investigated the matter afresh, and held that the charges framed against the workers by the management had not been established.

3. It is hot as if the Commissioner had conducted any enquiry. Even if so, so long as there has been no charge of victimisation or mala fide exercise of power on the part of the management, the powers of the Commissioner to refuse sanction are very limited. It is unnecessary now to elaborate on the limited jurisdiction of the Commissioner as the question has been concluded by the decisions to which I shall make reference presently. The Commissioner proceeded to dispose of the matter by passing a peculiar order which is best set out in his own words:

'I find that the charges framed against the opposite parties by the Management have not been established. I do not therefore approve of the action taken by the management under Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 in dismissing the opposite parties from service. All of them should be reinstated immediately with back wages.' It is needless to point out that what the officer is entitled to do is either to grant approval or refuse Approval. It is not in his province to direct reinstatement with back wages. Even on the question whether approval should be granted or refused, the powers of the officer under Section 33(2)(b) are limited. Reference may be made, in this connection, to the decision of the Supreme Court in Indian Iron and Steel Co. v. Their Workmen, : (1958)ILLJ260SC , and those of this court in Cambodia Mills Ltd. v. Industrial Tribunal, : (1959)IILLJ80Mad and Gordon Woodroffe and Co. Ltd. v. Venugopal, : (1958)1MLJ164 .

As I have found that the order of the officer is without jurisdiction, in that he had no powers to direct the reinstatement of the workers, that order will be quashed. In view of the fact that it is for the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) to give approval that was required of him, I have to indicate that he will take up the matter afresh and dispose of it in accordance with the principles laid down in the decisions referred to above.

4. Rule nisi is made absolute. There will be no order as to costs.


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