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i.C.i. (India) Private Ltd. Vs. the 2nd Industrial Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1971)IILLJ462Cal
Appellanti.C.i. (India) Private Ltd.
RespondentThe 2nd Industrial Tribunal and ors.
Cases ReferredCentral Bank of India v. Rajagopalan
Excerpt:
- .....in view of this difference there was a reference by the government under section 36a of the industrial disputes act, 1947 to the second industrial tribunal. the following question was referred, 'whether the lady staff who perform the duties of workmen, namely, stenographer, filing clerks, tele printer operators, telephone operators, etc., are workmen and whether they are covered by the settlement dated 13th april, 1966?' challenging the said order of reference as mentioned hereinbefore this application under article 226 of the constitution was moved.2. mr. ginwala, learned counsel for the petitioner, contended that the reference was without jurisdiction inasmuch as, according to him, the question referred could not be referred to the tribunal under section 36a of the industrial.....
Judgment:

Sabyasachi Mukharji, J.

1. In April, 1965, the I.C.I. and Associated Companies Employees' Union, being the respondent No. 3 herein, presented to I.C.I. (India) Private Ltd. being the petitioner herein, a charter of demands. The said charter resulted in a settlement dated 13th April, 1966. The question in this application under Article 226 of the Constitution is, are the persons belonging to the 'Lady Staff of the petitioner covered by the said terms of settlement? The union contends that they are; the company disputes that. The said settlement covered the workmen of the petitioner; so the question is, are the members of the 'Lady Staff' workmen as contemplated by that settlement? In view of this difference there was a reference by the Government under Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to the second Industrial Tribunal. The following question was referred, 'whether the Lady Staff who perform the duties of workmen, namely, stenographer, filing clerks, tele printer operators, telephone operators, etc., are workmen and whether they are covered by the settlement dated 13th April, 1966?' Challenging the said order of reference as mentioned hereinbefore this application under Article 226 of the Constitution was moved.

2. Mr. Ginwala, learned Counsel for the petitioner, contended that the reference was without jurisdiction inasmuch as, according to him, the question referred could not be referred to the Tribunal under Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Mr. Ginwala contended that this was a question of application of the definition of workmen to the particular categories mentioned in the order of reference and it was not a question of interpretation. Mr. Ginwala contended that whether these persons mentioned in the order of reference were workmen or not could not be decided by merely interpreting the terms of the settlement. In order to appreciate this argument it would be necessary to set out the provisions of Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;

36A. Power to remove difficulties.--(1) If, in the opinion of the appropriate Government, any difficulty or doubt arises as to the interpretation of any provision of an award or settlement, it may refer the question to such Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal as it may think fit.

(2) The Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal to which the question is referred shall, after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, decide such question and its decision shall be final and binding on all such parties.

Mr. Ginwala also drew my attention to Section 3A of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, which is in the following terms:--

13A. Interpretation, etc., of Standing Orders.--If any question arises as to the application or interpretation of a standing order certified under this Act, any employer or workman may refer the question to any one of the Labour Courts constituted under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and specified for the disposal of such proceeding by the appropriate Government by notification in the Official Gazette, and the Labour Court to which the question is so referred shall, after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, decide the question and such decision shall be final and binding on the parties.

3. Mr. Ginwala also contended that both these provisions, that is to say, Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and Section 13A of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 were incorporated by one amending Act being the Industrial Disputes (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1956. It was therefore, argued by Mr. Ginwala that inasmuch as the legislature in the same amending Act while dealing with Section 13A of the Standing Orders Act had used the expression 'application or interpretation', the same legislature in the same Act has used the expression 'interpretation' only in relation to Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act. Mr. Ginwala submitted that this expression 'interpretation' should therefore receive a restricted construction from this Court and must be so interpreted as not to include application of any terms of settlement or any award.

4. I am, however, unable to accept this contention. The dictionary meaning of the expression 'interpret' is to expound the meaning of; to render clear or explicit; to elucidate; to unfold the meaning. In order to be an interpretation, connotations of words used are vital. Connotation varies often with the change of circumstances and change of situation. Therefore, very often interpretation will have to be in the background of a particular set of circumstances. Words used can very often be understood if the background of such use of words is known. It is in this context important to remember that what is being sought to be interpreted here is not an Act or a statute, but a document executed by the parties. It is therefore vital that the intention of the parties as expressed in the language should be found out. That can only be found by finding out the surrounding circumstances in which these expressions were used. I do not accept Mr. Ginwala's argument that it would essentially be a question of application. Interpretation may very often involve a question of application but that is no reason why restricted meaning should be given to the expression 'interpretation'.

5. The legislature has used the expression 'application or interpretation' in Section 13A of the Standing Orders Act and in case of Section 36A the legislature has used the expression 'interpretation'. But it is important to remember that these two expressions have been used for the purposes of two different statutes. The Industrial Disputes Act is primarily an Act, as the preamble of the Act states, for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes and to make provisions for investigation and settlement of disputes and for certain other purposes. A proper settlement would naturally involve a question of finding out the meaning of the expressions used. The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 is an Act to require employees in industrial establishments formally to define conditions of employment under them. The said Act provides for certification of standing orders and thereafter provides Section 13A with the expression 'application or interpretation'. I am of the opinion that use of the word 'application' with 'interpretation' in Section 13A of the said Act is no justification to either restrict the ordinary meaning of the word 'interpretation' in Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 or to hold that the question that has been referred to in this case is essentially a question of application and not of interpretation.

6. Mr. Ginwala has naturally sought to rely on the principle of construction of the statute that where a legislature uses one expression at two different places and in one of these places the amplitude of the expression used is manifest by use of the expression in conjunction with another word, the expression used without the other word must receive a restricted construction from the Courts. Mr. Ginwala, therefore, asks me to presume that legislature in 1965, which introduced Section 13A of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, was aware of the above principle of construction of statute and the Court must construe Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 on that presumption. The main purpose of construction is to find out the intention of the legislature and make it effective. The Courts, in such cases, must make primarily those assumptions that arise from the realities of a particular situation. These realities in the instant case are (i) the language of the statute in question is not the language of the legislators or the draftsmen; (ii) there was no pronouncement of Courts on the meaning of the expression 'interpretation' in contradistinction from the expression 'application', at least none has been cited before me; (iii) the statute in question, namely, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is essentially an Act for speedy settlement of industrial disputes and differences and (iv) there is no clear expression of intention by the legislature that the expression 'interpretation' in Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 was used in any restricted sense. Considering the above factors I am unable to accept Mr. Ginwala's arguments.

7. Learned Counsel for the respondents drew my attention to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Central Bank of India v. Rajagopalan 1963-II L.L.J. 89 where the Supreme Court held that the scope of Section 36A of the Industrial Disputes Act was different from Section 33C(2). I do not think the aforesaid decision is in any way relevant for the determination of the controversy in the present case.

8. Undoubtedly, there was difficulty and doubt in this case and the question that has been referred is essentially a question, in my opinion, of interpretation. Therefore, I am unable to accept Mr. Ginwala's contention.

9. In the result, this application fails and accordingly is dismissed. Rule nisi is dis charged.

10. There will be no orders as to costs.

11. Interim order, if any, is vacated.

12. The stay of operation of the order is being asked for. In my opinion, industrial adjudication should not be unnecessarily held up. I, therefore, direct that the Tribunal would be at liberty to proceed with the reference but will not pass any award for a period of six weeks from date.


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