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Triegi Nath and ors. Vs. Indian Iron and Steel Company Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1963)IILLJ158Cal
AppellantTriegi Nath and ors.
RespondentIndian Iron and Steel Company Ltd. and ors.
Cases ReferredNasrat Khan v. Deb Nath Nali
Excerpt:
- .....of the same.7. mr. arun prokash chatterjee, learned advocate for the petitioners, contended that labour courts were constituted for adjudication of industrial dispute relating to any matter specified in schedule ii to the industrial disputes act, which would include a dispute over computation of benefits under an award in terms of money. therefore, without more, all labour courts had the power of computation and the necessity for specification of a particular labour court for the purpose, under section 33c(2), was merely for the purpose of convenience. in other words, he argued that even where there had been no specification of labour courts, under the provisions of section 33c(2), labour courts did not lose their jurisdiction in matters coming under that section for want of.....
Judgment:

B.N. Banerjee, J.

1. The petitioners, who are forty-one in number, are workmen under respondents 1 and 2 companies. They were once dismissed from service. In an industrial adjudication before the fifth industrial tribunal, there was an award in their favour reinstating them in service and also directing payment ofcompensation to them, for the period of their enforced unemployment, in the following terms:

Accordingly I award that these men ...would get half salary for the entire period from 2 October 1953 up to date of their actual return to duties after the award.

2. The award was published on 19 September 1955. The petitioners say that they offered to resume their duties immediately or shortly thereafter, but they were not allowed to rejoin in the circumstances hereinafter stated.

3. The respondents 1 and 2 companies appealed against the award to the Labour Appellate Tribunal and obtained a stay of the operation of the award, on 14 March 1956. The appeal before the Appellate Tribunal was dismissed, on 29 June 1956, and the stay order stood vacated. Thereafter, respondents 1 and 2 companies obtained special leave to appeal before the Supreme Court and preferred an appeal before that Court. They obtained an order of stay of operation of the award from that Court, on 22 October 1956. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, on 15 October 1957, and the stay order stood vacated.

4. The petitioners contend that the award became effective with the expiry of a month of its publication in the gazette, that is to Bay, from 19 October 1955, and they must, therefore, be deemed to have been reinstated in service with effect from when the award became effective. They were, however, debarred from returning to their duties, because of the successive orders of stay of operation of the award, obtained by respondents 1 and 2, in the appeals preferred by the latter. They farther contend that they became entitled, under the award, to half the salary from 2 October 1953 to 18 October 1955, and thereafter to full salary and wages. Respondents 1 and 2, however, offered to pay to the petitioners only half the salary for the entire period from 2 October 1953, up to the date when they were allowed to rejoin their duties, after the dismissal of the appeal by the Supreme Court, and thereafter their fall salaries and wages. This, the petitioners say, is unjustifiable on the ground that respondents 1 and 2 should not take advantage of the period uselessly spent by them in successive appeals, during which period the petitioners were debarred from rejoining their duties. Since there was the difference, as aforesaid, in the matter of computation of benefits under the award, the petitioners applied before the second labour court, under the provisions of Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, for the computation of the benefits under the award in terms of money.

5. Respondents 1 and 2 raised a preliminary objection to the effect that the second labour court had no jurisdiction to entertain the application, on the ground that the said labour court had not been specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government. The labour court upheld the objection as to Jurisdiction, by its order, dated 15 February 1961, with the following observation:

The Government of West Bengal has not issued any general order specifying the second labour court for computation in all cases, nor has it specified the second labour court for the purpose of computation in respect of the present applications. So I agree with Sri S.C. Sen that I have no jurisdiction to entertain the present applications. Hence I reject these applications.

6. The petitioners have moved this Court against the aforesaid order praying for a writ in the nature of mandamus directing respondent 4, labour court, to withdraw or cancel the order, dated 15 February 1961, and for a writ of certiorari for the quashing of the same.

7. Mr. Arun Prokash Chatterjee, learned advocate for the petitioners, contended that labour courts were constituted for adjudication of industrial dispute relating to any matter specified in Schedule II to the Industrial Disputes Act, which would include a dispute over computation of benefits under an award in terms of money. Therefore, without more, all labour courts had the power of computation and the necessity for specification of a particular labour court for the purpose, under Section 33C(2), was merely for the purpose of convenience. In other words, he argued that even where there had been no specification of labour courts, under the provisions of Section 33C(2), labour courts did not lose their jurisdiction in matters coming under that section for want of specification. In support of this argument he drew inspiration from two decisions of this Court in Chaturbhuj Marwari And Ors. v. A.W. Walker13 C.W.N. 265 and Jagabandhu Nandi v. Siva-prosad Battacharjya And Ors. 53C.W.N. 629, which deal with a similar point under the Civil Courts Act (XII of 1887).

8. In my opinion, there is good deal of substance in the argument advanced by Mr. Chatterjee. Section 33C(2) reads as follows:

Where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money, the amount at which such benefit should be computed may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, be determined by such labour court as may be specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government, and the amount so determined may be recovered as provided for in Sub-section (1).

9. In Schedule II of the Industrial Disputes Act, dealing with matters within the jurisdiction of labour courts, item 6 includes matters other than those specified in Sch, III, namely, the schedule which deals with matters within the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals. This residuary clause may be taken to include a dispute over computation of benefits under an award in terms of money, as mentioned in Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. Ordinarily, only such labour courts will decide a dispute, under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, as may have been specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government. But nevertheless, Section 7 of the Industrial Disputes Act shows that labour courts are primarily constituted for the purpose of adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any matter specified in Schedule II which does not exclude a matter under Section 33C(2) of the Act. Section 7(1), which is material for this purpose, is set out below:

The appropriate Government may, by notification in the official gazette, constitute one or more labour court for the adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any matter specified inSchedule II and for performing such other functions as may be assigned to them under this Act.

10. Mr. A.C. Mitter, learned standing counsel appearing for respondents 1 and 2, contended that the provisions in Section 7(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act notwithstanding, in the absence of specification by the appropriate Government, no labour court will be entitled to exercise any power under Section 33C(2) of the Act. In my opinion this argument should not succeed. If by their constitution, labour courts are entitled to exercise jurisdiction over matters coming under Section 330 (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, then even in the absence of specification, by the appropriate Government, all labour courts may exercise jurisdiction over matters coming under Section 330 (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The source of jurisdiction is only by way of distribution of business and is a matter of convenience. If such specification has been made, empowering a particular labour court to deal with matters under Section 33C(2), that labour court also may deal with such matters. But where no such specification has been made, all labour courts must be deemed to have jurisdiction over matters coming under Section 330 (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. Similar was the view which was taken by this Court in cases in Chaturbhuj Marwari And Ors. v. A.W. Walker13 C.W.N. 265 (vide supra) and Jagabhandu Nandi v. Sivaprosad Bhattacharjya And Ors.63 C.W.N. 629 (vide supra) and also in the case of Nasrat Khan v. Deb Nath Nali75C.LJ. 255, while interpreting the provisions of Section 13 of the Civil Courts Act (XII of 1887) which also provides for assignment, by District Judges, of civil business amongst several Subordinate Judges or Munsifs, exercising Jurisdiction over a particular local area. Section 13 of the Civil Courts Act (XII of 1887); reads as follows:

(1) The State Government may, by notification in the official gazette, fix and alter the local limits of jurisdiction of any civil Court.

(2) If the. same local Jurisdiction is assigned to two or more Subordinate Judges or two or more Munsifs, the District Judge may assign to each of them such civil business cognizable by the Subordinate Judge or Munsif, as the case may be, subject to the general or special orders of the High Court he thinks fit.(3) * * *

In interpreting this section Chakravartti, J. (afterwards Chakravartti, C.J.), observed in Jagabhandu Nandi v. Siraprosad Bhattacharjya And Ors.53 C.W.N. 629 (vide supra):

I am content to refer to the decision reported in the case of Nasrat Khan v. Deb Nath Nali75 C.L.J. 255 where the matter is dealt with at p. 261 of the report. There it has been held by Mukherjea and Biswas,JJ., that the source of jurisdiction of a Munsif was the order made by the local Government under Section 13(1) of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act and that order made by the District Judge of the station under Section 13(2) merely distributes as a matter of convenience, and with reference to certain local areas, the civil business amongst two or more Courts, each of which has jurisdiction over the whole area It is pointed out farther that in such cases neither of the Courts loses jurisdiction which it has under the Government order under Section 13(1) of the Act.

11. In my view the same principle should also be applied in the present case, and in the absence of specification, all labour courts must be deemed to have jurisdiction over matters specified in Schedule II, including amatter under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The jurisdiction of labour courts flows from Section 7 read, with Schedule II of the Industrial Dispute's Act and even in the absence of specification they would have jurisdiction under Section 33C(2) of the Act.

12. In the result, I hold that the second labour court was wrong in refusing to entertain the application in exercise of its jurisdiction, for the reasons it did, and I quash the order.

13. This rule is made absolute, with costs against respondents 1 and 2.

14. The second labour court is directed to hear and determine the application under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act according to law.

15. Let a writ of certiorari and a consequential writ of mandamus issue accordingly.


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