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The Management of Xavier Contractor Vs. the Presiding Officer, Labour Court and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)1MLJ219
AppellantThe Management of Xavier Contractor
RespondentThe Presiding Officer, Labour Court and anr.
Cases ReferredHowrah Municipality v. Mansa Das Dey
Excerpt:
.....not prefer any reinstatement but was satisfied with, the compensation under section 25-f of the industrial disputes act, the presiding officer of the labour court held that v. retrenchment is governed by the provisions of section 25-f of the industrial disputes act and the termination will amount to retrenchment only if the requisites of that section are satisfied. 4. learned advocate for the 2nd respondent urges that it is open to this court in the exercise of its discretion to refuse to interfere with the award if it is satisfied that justice has been done. it further observed that the appeal was not directly from the judgment of the authority but was from the order of the high court dismissing the writ petition, and that whatever infirmities might have attached to the order of the..........in fact, the parties did not join issue on the question as to what would have been payable to the workman francis if it had been a case of retrenchment. if the petitioner had notice of such a claim, it would have put forward appropriate defences against the award of compensation. it was open to the workman francis to put forward such a claim under section 33 (c) (2) of the industrial disputes act.4. learned advocate for the 2nd respondent urges that it is open to this court in the exercise of its discretion to refuse to interfere with the award if it is satisfied that justice has been done. he relied on the decisions in raipar ., ahmedabad v. nagrashna (1959) 2 i.l.j. 837 and hotorah municipality v. mansa das dey (1965) 2 i.l.j. 135 in support of his contention. it should be noted that.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R. Sadasivam, J.

1. Petition by the Management of Xavier, Contractor, Anaimudi Estate for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the award of the Labour Court, Coimbatore in I.D. No. 48 of 1965 on its file. The Government of Madras by G.O. Ms. No. 5130, Industries, Labour and Co-operation (Labour), dated 2nd November, 1965 referred for adjudication to the Labour Court, Coimbatore, an alleged industrial dispute between the management of Xavier and its workmen sponsored by the Secretary, Artisan Worker's Union, Valparai. The questions referred to were : Whether the non-employment of Sri V. L. Francis mason by Sri M. R. Xavier, Contractor, Anaimudi estate Mudis Post, is justified if not to what relief he would be entitled and to compute the relief, if any awarded in terms of money if it can be so computed. The Labour Court found that the dispute in the case was an industrial dispute, that V. L. Francis was in the employment of M. R. Xavier, Contractor for 15 years and was not a casual worker as contended by the management and that the termination of the service of V. L. Francis was not justified. But in view of the fact that the Union which took up the cause of V. L. Francis did not prefer any reinstatement but was satisfied with, the compensation under Section 25-F of the Industrial Disputes Act, the Presiding Officer of the Labour Court held that V. L. Francis was entitled to a sum of Rs. 731.25 being fifteen days wages for every completed year of service.

2. The learned Advocate for the petitioner urged two contentions before me. The first is that an individual dispute of a workman in order to be an industrial dispute must have a collective support from a substantial number of workmen in the establishment. In support of this contention, he relied on the decisions in Working Journalists of the ' Hindu ' v. ' Hindu : (1961)IILLJ436SC . The learned Advocate for the 2nd respondent did not dispute the principle enunciated in the above decisions. Even in paragraph 2 of its counter before the Labour Court, the petitioner has stated that the claim of the mason V. L. Francis is not an industrial dispute as defined in Section 2 (k) of the Act and that no other person under the employment of the management of Xavier the Contractor had supported the cause of the non-employment of V. L. Francis and as such, this dispute must be dismissed in limine. V. L. Francis examined himself alone and he has not even spoken to the fact that the other workmen of the management who are substantial in number, supported his claim. In fact there is no evidence to show that the Union, namely, the Artisan Worker's Union who took up the cause of V. L. Francis represented any other workmen of the management. Thus the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the reference and the award passed is one without jurisdiction.

3. The second contention urged by the learned Advocate for the petitioner is that the Labour Court acted without jurisdiction in awarding retrenchment compensation when the said question was not referred to it. In Harinagar Cane Farm v. State of Bihar : (1963)ILLJ692SC the Supreme Court has held that it is desirable that an Industrial Tribunal should confine its decisions to the point which strictly arises on the pleadings between the parties. In Shanmugham v. Labour Court (1963) 1 I.LJ. 798 it has been held by this Court that where the Labour Court finds that the dismissal of a particular workman is improper and the effect of it would be that such workman should be deemed to have continued in service, it is the duty of the Labour Court to order reinstatement and that it has got no jurisdiction to treat the dismissal as a sort of retrenchment. Retrenchment is governed by the provisions of Section 25-F of the Industrial Disputes Act and the termination will amount to retrenchment only if the requisites of that section are satisfied. It is clear from that decision that it is not open to the Labour Court to ignore the statutory provisions and treat the dismissal which it holds to be improper, as a sort of retrenchment and grant compensation on that basis. In fact, the parties did not join issue on the question as to what would have been payable to the workman Francis if it had been a case of retrenchment. If the petitioner had notice of such a claim, it would have put forward appropriate defences against the award of compensation. It was open to the workman Francis to put forward such a claim under Section 33 (c) (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act.

4. Learned advocate for the 2nd respondent urges that it is open to this Court in the exercise of its discretion to refuse to interfere with the award if it is satisfied that justice has been done. He relied on the decisions in Raipar ., Ahmedabad v. Nagrashna (1959) 2 I.L.J. 837 and Hotorah Municipality v. Mansa Das Dey (1965) 2 I.L.J. 135 in support of his contention. It should be noted that the Labour Courts in those cases had jurisdiction to make the awards. In the first case, the Supreme Court observed that there appeared to be some force in the contention of the appellant so far as the jurisdiction of the authority was concerned but it did not propose to decide that question of jurisdiction in that case. It further observed that the appeal was not directly from the judgment of the authority but was from the order of the High Court dismissing the writ petition, and that whatever infirmities might have attached to the order of the authority, there would be no reason to interfere with the order of the High Court dismissing the writ petition if it came to the conclusion that the order passed by the authority in that case had not resulted in any failure of justice. In the second case Howrah Municipality v. Mansa Das Dey (1965) 2 L.I.J. 135 relied on by the learned Advocate for the 2nd respondent it was held that even assuming that there was no victimisation and that the Industrial Tribunal was erroneous in reopening the findings of domestic enquiry the same did not call for interference in the appeal as it had done substantial justice to the parties. The learned Advocate for the 2nd respondent was not able to refer to any decision that this Court could in disposing of a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India refuse to interfere with the order passed by the Labour Tribunal if it is one without jurisdiction. I am not also satisfied that the justice of the case requires that the order passed without jurisdiction should be upheld.

5. For the above reasons, a writ of certiorari will issue quashing the award passed by the Labour Court in I.D. No. 48 of 1965 on its file. It is open to the workman to work out his rights, if any, for compensation under appropriate provisions of the Act. The parties will bear their own costs.


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