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Madras District Automobile and General Employees' Union Vs. State of Madras and Anr. (20.03.1968 - MADHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 382 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1969Mad477; [1969(18)FLR212]; (1969)IILLJ161Mad
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 2, 10 and 12(5); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantMadras District Automobile and General Employees' Union
RespondentState of Madras and Anr.
Appellant AdvocateB.R. Dolia, Adv. for Aiyar, Adv. and Dolia, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader and ;A.R. Ramanathan, Adv.
Cases Referred and Bombay Union of Journalists v. State of Bombay
Excerpt:
- - 3. it is needless for us to emphasise that where there are two unions of workers in the concerned industry, or unit of industry as in this case, and one union which contains the majority of the workers claims to have arrived at a settlement with the management through negotiation in respect of the very matters in controversy, or some of them, a minority union like the present appellant cannot urge that these facts should be altogether omitted from consideration by government, in deciding on the expediency of the reference. on the contrary, those facts would be perfectly relevant, and it would be equally relevant whether developments subsequent to the period or date when the issues in controversy were raised, may render the reference itself otiose......unit of industry. only the union is the appellant here, and if the workman is still in need of relief with regard to his alleged dismissal, it may be open to the union to move the government afresh, on the existing state of facts with regard to the worker.6. with these observations, the writ appeal is dismissed. the parties will bear their own costs.
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.

1. The writ appeal is by a Trade Union of the workmen of Messrs Sundaram Motors (Pte) Ltd, from the judgment of Veeraswami, J. in W. P. No, 1345 of 1962, declining to issue a writ of Mandamus to the State of Madras, to dispose of the alleged dispute afresh under Section 10 read with Section 12(5) of the Industrial Disputes Act It is not necessary to canvass the facts at any length. It is sufficient for us to state that the points in controversy related to revision of wage scales, dear-ness allowance, leave facilities, bonus for 1961 and gratuity, and, lastly, to the non-employment of one P. Sambasivan.

2. A great deal of the area covered in the judgment of the learned Judge by wav of discussion, may now be regarded as unnecessary. The learned Judge referred to the decisions of the Supreme Court In State of Bombay v. K. P. Krishnan : (1960)IILLJ592SC and Bombay Union of Journalists v. State of Bombay, 1964 1 Lab LJ 351 = AIR 1954 SC 1617, and emphasised that the Government, on these authorities, would be justified in considering the prima facie merits of the dispute, and in taking into account other relevant data which may assist the Government to decide whether a reference would be expedient or otherwise. The learned Judge then came to the conclusion that the Government did not act, in this case, on anything extraneous or irrelevant, and that the Government would be justified in taking into account, in the manner that they did, the settlement reached by another union of the workers, namely, T. V. S. Workers Union, with the Management, in regard to certain aspects of the points in controversy.

3. It is needless for us to emphasise that where there are two unions of workers in the concerned industry, or unit of industry as in this case, and one Union which contains the majority of the workers claims to have arrived at a settlement with the Management through negotiation in respect of the very matters in controversy, or some of them, a minority Union like the present appellant cannot urge that these facts should be altogether omitted from consideration by Government, in deciding on the expediency of the reference. On the contrary, those facts would be perfectly relevant, and it would be equally relevant whether developments subsequent to the period or date when the issues in controversy were raised, may render the reference itself otiose. Mr. Dolia, for the appellant Union, does concede that such developments might have taken place, and, hence, that, at the present moment, in view of the considerable lapse of time since the original issues in controversy were raised, it may be very difficult to state whether they are live issues, or whether they are not

4. We may therefore, point out that the learned Judge was entirely justified in taking these facts into consideration, and in coming to the conclusion that it cannot be held, in this case, that Government acted arbitrarily or upon consideration of matters not germane to the subject, when they declined reference under Sections 10 and 12 of the Act It is indisputable that our power in Mandamus in this case is not either to direct such a reference or to constrain the Government to do so, but only to ask the Government to reconsider the issue. Again, it appears to be equally indisputable that there is no bar of limitation applicable to such cases. It may be that conditions have bettered so much, that the original issues are now academic. It may be that other grievances have developed, or even that they are more controversial than they were, when the Union originally agitated for their consideration. It is always open to the Union to agitate for a fresh reference on conditions of employment as between the Union and the Management. Accordingly, we shall leave the matter there, as far as this aspect of the writ appeal is concerned.

5. But Mr. Dolia for the Union urges that the matter is on a somewhat different footing, upon the last of the issues, namely, non-employment of P. Sambasivan. This was an independent dispute, at the inception, and later, the worker became a member of this minority Union, and the Union appears to have sponsored his cause. We are not now stating anything on the merits of the alleged dismissal; indeed, we cannot do so, since the Government declined to make a reference. But we find that the dismissal was in September 1960 and that it was only 12 months later that the Union which subsequently came into existence sponsored the dispute. Actually, the dismissed workman himself became a member of the union, only subsequently. This belated-ness was the reason given by the Government for declining to make the reference. We cannot state that that is necessarily unreasonable or perverse. Further, conditions might have changed now, and it may even be that the individual workman is employed elsewhere, or is no longer desirous of returning to this unit of industry. Only the Union is the appellant here, and if the workman is still in need of relief with regard to his alleged dismissal, it may be open to the Union to move the Government afresh, on the existing state of facts with regard to the worker.

6. With these observations, the writ appeal is dismissed. The parties will bear their own costs.


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