P. Ramakrishnan, J.
1. The State of Pondicherry made a reference under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to the Labour Court on the following points, for adjudication : (1) Whether the closure of the factory viz., the Madras Bolts and Nuts (Private) Limited, Muthialpet, Pondicherry, is justified and (2) if so, to what relief the workers are entitled to and to compute the relief, if any, awarded in turns of money. The concerned notification of the Government states that the workers of the concern were represented by the INTUC.
2. When the reference came up before the Labour Court at Pondicherry for adjudication, a preliminary objection was raised by the Management that the reference was not valid on account of several reasons, all of which were rejected by the lower Court, except one objection about the capacity of one M.J. Vincent to represent the workers before the Labour Court. All other points by way of preliminary objection were held against the Management and in favour of the workers. This writ petition is filed by the Management and it is urged on its behalf by its Counsel that the finding of the lower Court on one of the preliminary points about the representative character of the INTUC to represent the workers is not correct. Consequently, the reference made by the Government under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, based on the improper representation of the INTUC on behalf of the workers, must be considered to be invalid.
3. I am of the opinion that this objection will have very little substance after the matter has come before the Labour Court, and there is no dispute at all that the issue raised for decision affects not an individual worker, but a large number of workers. In fact, according to the notice which the Management itself served on the workers at the time of the alleged closure, 17 workers were referred to as permanent workers. It is these workers who have raised the objection that there was no occasion for a closure of the concern in the present case and this dispute is covered by the first point for adjudication. The several decisions which the learned Counsel for the petitioner referred to, dealing with the question whether there has been proper sponsoring by a union of a dispute, to give it a collective character, are cases where the dispute prima facie affected an individual workman. For example, in Bombay Union of Journalists v. ' Hindu' Bombay (1962) 2 S.C.J. 107 : (1962) 2 S.C.R. 893, the Supreme Court has more than once made mention of the fact that the dispute in that particular case was prima facie an individual dispute. It was in such circumstances the Supreme Court observed that in order that such a dispute might become an industrial dispute it had to be established that it had been taken up by the Union of employees of the ' The Hindu' Bombay, or by an appreciable number of employees of ' The Hindu', Bombay In the present case, as mentioned already the dispute clearly affected a number of workmen, and there was no question of its being an individual dispute which had to be considered as a collective dispute by reason of the fact that there has been a sponsoring of the dispute affecting an individual by a representative body of the employees of the concern. That apart, in the present case, the order of the Labour Court has referred to certain correspondence that passed between the Management and the Various labour unions which show that as late as 28th October 1064 shortly before the notification, the Management addressed a letter to the President of the INTUG with a copy of the letter to the Workers National Trade Union on a matter relating to the claim of bonus for the workers of this particular Management. It is clear from the data thus afforded that both the Workers National Trade Union and the INTUC had been sponsoring the cause of the Workers of this concern. It is by such sponsoring of their cause, that the matter came before the State Government and which led to the reference under Section 10. The dispute that has thus come before the Labour Court appears from its very inception to be a dispute affecting a large number of workers of the petitioner Management. In such circumstances there can be no valid objection to the reference by the Government because the dispute was clearly of a collective character.
4. The Writ Petition, is, therefore, dismissed with costs.
5. Advocate's fee Rs. 150.