Skip to content


West Bengal Press Workers' and Employees' Union Vs. Art Union Printing Works Private Ltd. (12.01.1962 - CALHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMatter No. 65 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1962Cal607,[1962(4)FLR338],(1962)IILLJ70Cal
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Section 19(6)
AppellantWest Bengal Press Workers' and Employees' Union
RespondentArt Union Printing Works Private Ltd.
Appellant AdvocateK.B. Roy and ;P. Das Gupta, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP.K. Sanyal and ;N.K. Mukherji, Advs.
Cases ReferredCalcutta Tramways Co. Ltd. v. Special
Excerpt:
- .....the contents of the letter that a grievance was made in placing the charter of demand that the tribunal awards of 1948 and 1951 were not being given effect to by the management. i would at once say that the question of implementation of the award is a matter completely outside the scope of adjudication in this reference case when particularly there is no evidence that the award had not been implemented. be that as it is, the company, on receipt of the charter of demands from the labour commissioner, categorically mentioned in their letter, dated the 16th december, 1959, that the previous award is still binding upon the workers, and it has not been terminated (vide ex. f and f(1)). besides, it was stated that the awards of 1948 and 1951 had been fully implemented in respect of all.....
Judgment:

B.N. Banerjee, J.

1. The short point that arises for consideration in this Rule is whether the award of an Industrial Tribunal as to scales of pay was terminated by the workmen, in the manner prescribed in Section 19(6) of the industrial Disputes Act.

2. It is not disputed that the working conditions, scales of pay and dearness allowance of workmen in printing presses became the subject-matter of certain awards, more or less on industrywise basis, during the last several years. Once such an award between 169 printing presses in Calcutta and Howrah (including the respondent No. 1 press) and their workmen was published in the Calcutta Gazette, dated May 11, 1948. Another such award between 90 printing presses (including respondent No. 1 press) and their workmen was published in the Calcutta Gazette, dated March 1, 1951.

3. The dispute, out of which this Rule arises, is the third of the series of industrial disputes between respondent No. 1 press and its workmen. The State Government referred the dispute, limited to the following issues, to the Fourth Industrial Tribunal for adjudication, namely:

(a) States of pay and clearness allowance.

(b) Whether the termination of employment of thefollowing workmen is justified? To what relief, if any, they are entitled?

(i) Shri Gobardhan Banerjee

(ii) Shri Pataki Charan Karmakar.

The Tribunal, inter alia, held:

(a) that there could be no fresh adjudication on the question of scale of pay, because In the absence of termination, the previous award on this question was binding on the parties;

(b) that in course of conciliation proceedings, preceding the reference, respondent No. 1 increased the dearness allowance from Rs. 28/- to Rs. 30/-per month and that was a fair and appropriate increase in dearness allowance;

(c) that Gobardhan Banerjee having been re-instated during the pendency of the dispute, nothing further was required to be done in that matter;

(d) that there was no reason to interfere with the action of the management in retrenching Shri Pataki Charan Karmakar;

and made the award accordingly.

4. The petitioner moved this Court, under Article 226 of the Constitution, against the award and obtained the present Rule.

5. A single point was argued by Mr. K.B. Roy, learned Advocate for the petitioner, in support of the Rule. He contended that the Tribunal was in error in not considering the dispute in respect of scale of pay, on the mistaken ground that the previous award as to scale of pay had not been terminated by the workmen.

6. It is necessary for me to examine in some detail the line of reasoning, which weighed with the Tribunal, in not considering the claim as to increase in scale or pay.

7. The Tribunal observed:

'(a) P.W. 2, Shri Anil Bose, the Secretary of the Union, stated in his cross-examination that he did not give any notice for terminating the award. At the same time, it is urged by the Union that the workers had expressed their intention to terminate the award when they submitted a charter of demand to the Labour Commissioner, on the 17th August, 1959. Ex. 2 is the letter in question, containing the charter of demand, addressed to the Labour commissioner. It does not, however, appear that any copy of the same had been sent directly to the employer by the Union. Prior to that, on the 5th June, 1959, the Secretary of the Union addressed a letter to the Manager of the company placing certain demands on behalf of the workers. The letter is marked as Ex. 3.

(b) There is nothing to show from this letter that the Union expressed its willingness to terminate the force of the award so far as the question of grades and scales of pay of the workmen was concerned. It is true that a charter of demand praying for an introduction of new pay scales and an increase in basic wages of the workers by 25 per cent had been placed before the Labour Com-missioner direct, as evidenced by Ex. 2. But, at the same time, it is significant to note from the contents of the letter that a grievance was made in placing the charter of demand that the Tribunal awards of 1948 and 1951 were not being given effect to by the management. I would at once say that the question of implementation of the award is a matter completely outside the scope of adjudication in this reference case when particularly there is no evidence that the award had not been implemented. Be that as it is, the company, on receipt of the charter of demands from the Labour Commissioner, categorically mentioned in their letter, dated the 16th December, 1959, that the previous award is still binding upon the workers, and it has not been terminated (vide Ex. F and F(1)). Besides, it was stated that the awards of 1948 and 1951 had been fully implemented in respect of all points including those mentioned in the charter of demand of the Union. I am of opinion that mere placing of this charter of demand of the Conciliation Officer might at best be taken as making out some grievance in order to raise an industrial dispute. But it cannot be considered as a notice in clear term terminating the previous award. The question whether the award had been terminated or not, is a question of fact and the entire evidence in the background of the fact and circumstances are to be considered in deciding whether there had been a proper compliance of the provisions of the statute regarding termination of the award. Upon giving my anxious consideration to the facts and circumstances of the case, I would say that a desire to terminate an award so far as it relates to the rate of dearness allowance is concerned, had been expressed by the Union to the employer. No other portion of the award was ever sought to be terminated.

(c) The position therefore is that even if a notice is not served in a particular manner or in a prescribed form, there must be a clear intention expressed by the workers that they want to terminate the award either entirely or in part, and for this they must give clear notice of the same to the employer direct. I am also of opinion that whatever be the form of a notice, it must be in writing. In coming to that conclusion I follow the decision of the Rajasthan High Court as mentioned above (meaning the case in Maharaja Shri Umaid Mills Ltd., v. Textile Labour Union (Red Flag) Pali, ). In the result, I hold that there cannot be any fresh adjudication on the question of scales of pay as embodied in issue No. 1 and only the question of dearness allowance in the same issue need be considered afresh by this Tribunal on the basis of the reference made.'

8. In my opinion, the Tribunal was wrong in holding that the notice of termination of an award must be in writing. The view is contrary to the view expressed by the Labour Appellate Tribunal in Bhutoria Jute Mills v. Howrah Zilla Chat Kai Mazdoor Union, 1956 Lab AC 719, which view was approved of by Sinha J. in Matter No. 46 of 1959 Calcutta Tramways Co. Ltd. v. Special industrial Tribunal--unreported. In the latter case Sinha J, observed:--

'No form of notice is mentioned in the sub-section itself. Therefore, it need not be in any particular form, in a decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal 1956 Lab AC 719 it has been held that a notice under Section 19 of the Act may or may not be in writing and may be communicated in any manner, provided the party for whom it is intended has sufficient knowledge of the Tacts constituting it.'

9. But although that is so, the Tribunal was of the opinion that the award was not in fact terminated. That finding was arrived at on a consideration of the oral and documentary evidence in the case. I am not inclined to interfere with that finding of fact in this Rule.

10. On the face of the finding, the Tribunal was not wrong in not making any award on the dispute as to scale of pay, because of the provisions of Section 19(6) of the Industrial Disputes Act, which I set out below:--

'Notwithstanding the expiry of the period of operation under Sub-section (3), the award shall continue to be binding on the parties until a period of two months have elapsed from the date on which notice is given by any party bound by the award to the other party or parties intimating its intention to terminate the award.'

11. In the view that I take I discharge the Rule. Although I do so, I make it clear that the workmen of the respondent No. 1 may still now terminate the award in so far as it concerns scale of pay. If they do so and raise an industrial dispute, I believe the State Government may refer the dispute to a Tribunal for adjudication. They may, at that stage, have the dispute as to scale of pay properly adjudicated.

12. This Rule is discharged but I make no order asto costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //