Workmen Of Dimakuchi Tea Estate V. The Management Of Dimakuchi Tea Estate
AIR 1958 SC 353
NAME OF THE JUDGES
S.R. Das, C.J., S.K. Das and A.K. Sarkar, JJ.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The appellants are the workmen of the Dimakuchi Tea Estate represented by the Assam Chah Karmachari Sangha, Dibrugarh and the respondent is the management of the Dimakuchi tea estate, district Darrang, in Assam. Dr. K. P. Banerjee was appointed assistant medical officer of the Dimakuchi tea estate. He was appointed subject to a satisfactory medical report and on probation for three months where his suitability for permanent employment would be considered. If he was considered unsuitable for employment, he would receive seven days' notice in writing terminating his appointment and if he was found guilty of misconduct, he was liable to instant dismissal. If he was found suitable he would be confirmed in the garden’s services. Dr. Banerjee was given increment of Rs. 5 per mensem but then he received a letter from one Mr. Booth, manager of the tea estate where it was said that his services were terminated but he would receive one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
On enquiring about the reasons he was told that the reasons were mainly medical and also because of the deceitful way in which he added figures to the requirements of the last medical indent. Dr. Banerjee’s cause was then espoused by the Mangaldai Circle of the Assam Chah Karmachari Sangha and the secretary of that Sangha wrote to the manager of the Dimakuchi tea estate, enquiring about the reasons for Dr. Banerjee's discharge. The manager replied that the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Cox had found that Dr. Banerjee was incompetent and did not have sufficient knowledge of simple everyday microscopical and laboratory work which befalls the lot of every assistant medical officer in tea garden practice and also he administered a faulty Quinine injection to one of the assistants working there that almost led to the paralysis of his leg.
There were unsuccessful conciliation proceedings over the same and finally the matter was referred to the tripartite Appellate Board. This Board recommended that Dr. Banerjee should be reinstated with effect from the date of his discharge. In the meantime Dr. K. P. Banerjee received a sum of Rs. 30610 from the respondents and left the tea garden in question.
However the government felt that the case should be referred for adjudication to a Tribunal constituted under Section 7 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The case referred under Section 10(1) (c) gave rise to two main issues:
· Whether the management of Dimakuchi Tea Estate was justified in dismissing Dr. K. P. Banerjee?
· If not, is he entitled to re-instatement or any other relief in lieu thereof?
After both parties submitted their written statements the Tribunal held that Dr. Banerjee being not a “workman”, his case was not one of an "industrial dispute" under the Industrial Disputes Act and his case was therefore beyond the jurisdiction of this Tribunal and the Tribunal has therefore no jurisdiction to give any relief to him. There was then an appeal to the Labor Appellate Tribunal of India, Calcutta which affirmed the decision by the earlier tribunal.
Hence the appellants have moved the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution for special leave.
ISSUES OF THE CASE
The main or the principle issue or question involved in this case was whether a dispute in relation to a person who is not a workman falls within the scope of the definition of industrial dispute contained in Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and while doing so the Court has considered the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 as a whole and examined and interpreted the scope, ambit and applicability of its salient provisions and their terms.
· Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
· Section 2 of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
REASONING APPLIED BY THE COURT
Justice S.K. Das has said that in order to understand the scope of the definition clause of “industrial dispute” it is firstly most essential to refer to the relevant section and its wordings. Section 2(k) reads as "Industrial dispute" means "any dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labor, of any person;” The expression “workman” which is also relevant for the purpose of this issue is defined under Section 2(s) which reads as "Workman" means “any person employed (including an apprentice) in any industry to do any skilled or unskilled manual or clerical work for hire or reward and includes, for the purposes of any proceedings under this Act in relation to an industrial dispute, a workman discharged during that dispute, but does not include any person employed in the naval, military or air service of the Government."
The appellants have contended that the conditions referred to in the first and second parts of Section 2(k) are clearly fulfilled in the present case, because there is a dispute or difference over the termination of service of Dr. K. P. Banerjee and the dispute or difference is between the employer, namely, the management of the Dimakuchi tea estate on one side, and its workmen on the other, even taking the expression "workman" in the restricted sense as it is defined in the Act. The appellants have also submitted that the expression "of any person" occurring in the third part of the definition clause is expression of very wide import and cant be restricted to the ambit of merely workmen.
However the Justice said that expression “any person” can’t mean anybody in this whole wide world because the subject matter of dispute must relate to employment or non-employment or terms of employment or conditions of labor of any person and these necessarily import a limitation on the term “any person”. Also the definition clause must be read in the context of the subject matter and scheme of the Act, and consistently with the objects and other provisions of the Act. If the term “any person” is given its ordinary meaning, then the definition clause will be so wide as to become inconsistent not merely with the objects and other provisions of the Act, but also with the other parts of that very clause.
On hearing these difficulties the appellants themselves conceded that some limitations must be put on the width of the expression "any person" and hence formulated four limitations:
· The dispute must be a real and substantial one in respect of which one of the parties to the dispute can give relief to the other.
· The industrial dispute if raised by workmen must relate to the particular establishment or party of establishment in which the workmen are employed.
· The dispute must relate to the employment, non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labor of any person, but such person must be an employee discharged or in service or a candidate for employment.
· The workmen raising the dispute must have nexus with the dispute either because they are personally interested or because they have taken up the cause of another person in the general interest of labor welfare.
Based on this the appellants have again contended that that the dispute in question is an industrial dispute because the employer could give relief in the matter of the termination of service of Dr. K. P. Banerjee, Dr. K. P. Banerjee belonged to the same establishment, namely, the same tea garden, the dispute related to a discharged employee (though not a workman) and the workmen raising the dispute were vitally interested in it by reason of the fact that Dr. Banerjee belonged to their trade union and the dismissal of an employee giving him an opportunity to meet any charge was a matter of general interest to all workmen in the same establishment or workplace.
Justice S.K. Das reasoned that the first two limitations were obvious and implicit in the decision itself but the third limitation was too widely stated and was not quite correct. . If the expression "any person" in the third part of the definition clause were to be strictly equated with “any workman” then there could be no industrial dispute, prior to 1956, with regard to a workman who had been discharged earlier than the dispute and had ceased to be workmen, even though the discharge itself had led to the dispute. This was the same reason why the Legislature used the expression “any person” in the third part of the definition clause so as to put it beyond any doubt that the non-employment of such a dismissed workman was also within the ambit of an industrial dispute. There is a distinction between workmen and non-workmen or any other employee. However the third limitation as formulated by appellants ignores the distinction altogether and equates 'any person' with 'any employee' - past, present or future which is not quite correct or consistent with the other provisions of the Act. The fourth limitation was also too generally stated as the principle of solidarity of the labor movement or general welfare of labor must be based on or correlated to the principle of community of interest. If the workmen have no direct or substantial interest in the employment or non-employment of a person or in his terms of employment or his conditions of labor, then an industrial dispute cannot arise with regard to such person. The same conclusion was also arrived at from a different perspective. Ordinarily, it is only the aggrieved party who can raise a dispute; but an “industrial dispute” is put a collective basis, because it is now settled that an individual dispute, not espoused by others of the class to which the aggrieved party may belong, is not an industrial dispute. Hence if the dispute is a collective dispute, the party raising the dispute must have either a direct interest in the subject-matter of dispute or a substantial interest in same therein in the sense that the class to which the aggrieved party belongs is substantially affected thereby.
The appellants have also drawn attention to the fact that the term “workmen” under the Trade Unions Act, 1926 means "all persons employed in trade or industry whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises." which clearly signified a much wider ambit as compared to the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. But it wasn’t accepted saying that provisions of that Act have different objects in view and can’t help in construing the definition given under Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Justice S.K. Das has concluded his reasoning by saying that the crucial test is one community of interest and the person regarding whom the dispute is raised must be one in whose employment, non-employment, terms of employment or conditions of labor the parties to the dispute have a direct or substantial interest. Whether such direct or substantial interest has been established in a particular case will depend on its facts and circumstances. The expression 'any person' must be read subject to such limitations and qualifications as arise from the context and the two crucial considerations are:
· The dispute must be a real dispute between the parties to the dispute so as to be capable of settlement or adjudication by one party to the dispute giving necessary relief to the other.
· The person regarding whom the dispute is raised must be one in whose employment, non-employment, terms of employment, or conditions of labor the parties to the dispute have a direct or substantial interest.
Hence the words “any person” cannot have its widest amplitude, as that would create incongruity and repugnancy in the provisions of the Act. Chief Justice S.R. Das was in concurrence with the reasoning given by Justice S.K. Das. Therefore they held that Dr. K. P. Banerjee was not a 'workman'. He belonged to the medical or technical staff which was a different category altogether from workmen. The appellants had no direct or substantial interest in his employment or non-employment, and even assuming that he was a member of the same Trade Union, it cannot be said, on the tests laid down that the dispute regarding his termination of service was an industrial dispute within the meaning of Section 2(k) of the Act.
However Justice A. K. Sarkar was of a slightly different opinion and hence there is a divergence seen in the reasoning offered by him. As per him the term “any person” can be given its plain and wide meaning and it cannot be said to refer only to persons of the workman class. As discussed earlier the Legislature had used the words "any person" instead of the word workman because it was intended to include within them persons who had been dismissed before the dispute arose and who were not within the definition of workmen in the Act as it stood in 1953. However the Justice is of the view that the legislature could have used the words "workmen and dismissed workmen”. He said that definition of "workman" has been amended in 1956 to include workmen discharged in consequence of an industrial dispute or whose discharge has led to that dispute but the words "any person" have been left untouched in Section 2(k) and not been replaced by the word workman. This according to him shows that it was never the intention to confine the words "any person" to workmen in employment or discharged. Hence it should be given a broad and simple meaning. Section 18 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 talk about the categories of persons on whom the settlement of the conciliation proceedings shall be binding. However it was said that section doesn’t assist at all in finding out who were meant to be included in the words "any person" because the fact that an award is not binding on one doesn’t afford a reason for holding that there cannot be an industrial dispute concerning him. The idea behind it is that whoever takes up appointment as a workman in the establishment to which the dispute relates during the time when the award or settlement is in force, would be bound by it. If it were not so, the award or settlement would have little effect in setting a dispute, for any newly recruited workmen could again raise the dispute.
There were mainly three reasons advanced for restricting the general application of the term “any person”.
· In certain sections of the Act the words "any person" have been used but there the reference is to workmen, and therefore in Section 2(k) the words "any person" should mean persons of the workman class.
· The scheme and the purpose of the Act generally and the object of the Act specially being to benefit workmen, the words "any person" should be confined to people of the workman class.
· The word "dispute" in Section 2(k) itself indicates that the person raising the dispute must be interested in the dispute and therefore since the dispute must concern the employment, non-employment, terms of employment or the conditions of labor of a person, that person must be of the workman class.
While rebutting these reasons, the Justice referring to the first reason said that there was no cause to infer such an intention whatsoever. Merely because of the fact that in certain sections like Section 2(i) which defines lockouts and Section 2(q) which defines strike use the words person as meaning “workmen” there is no reason for concluding that the same word must be given the same restricted meaning in Section 2(k).
Proceeding to the second reason he said that the Act makes a distinction between employees who are workmen and all other employees, and that the focus of the Act is on workmen and it was intended mainly for them. However he reasons that the Act would not cease to be intended for workmen or displace its focus from workmen or that the distinction between the workmen and the other employees would not vanish simply by virtue of the fact that a dispute relating to the dismissal of one who is not a workman is held to be an industrial dispute.
Referring to the last reason he said that the interest that a workmen has is very vague and difficult to define and so he asked the question that how does it follow that because an industrial dispute is one in which workmen must be interested so it must be concerning themselves only? It’s not necessary that an industrial dispute can only be a dispute concerning workmen. It is not difficult to conceive of a dispute concerning the employment of a person who is not a workman which at the same time is one which affects the conditions of labor or terms of employment of the workmen themselves. He ends by saying that even if an industrial dispute has to be one in which workmen are interested, that would be no reason for saying that it can only be a dispute concerning workmen and that therefore the words "any person" in Section 2(k) must mean only workmen.
Referring Section 33 of the Act he said that this section gives protection to workmen who are parties to the dispute and does not purport to concern it with the person concerning whom the dispute arises. Such being the position, the section can throw no light on the meaning of the words "any person" in Section 2(k).
Section 36 of the Act provides how a workman who is a party is represented and how an employer who is also a party is represented. It does not talk about the representation of any other person. On this basis it was said that the term “any person” means only workmen. However A. K. Sarkar reasoned saying that this merely talks about representation of the parties in a dispute. No one else needs to be represented. Hence it doesn’t concern itself with the person in regard of whom the dispute has arisen and so it can’t be said the term “any person” exclusively refers to workmen.
Emphasizing on the issue of interest again, he cited an example saying that if there arose a dispute against the dismissal of a kind and sympathetic foreman, then the workmen have a personal and immediate interest of securing their good work conditions and would demand the foreman’s reinstatement for their own benefit. Such a dispute is also an industrial dispute and it would make no difference for this purpose that such a foreman is not a workman.
Therefore he held that the dispute concerning the dismissal of Dr. Banerjee would be an industrial dispute for the workmen having sufficient personal and immediate interest in seeing that they have a doctor of their liking to look after them. It is indeed the case of the workmen that by his devotion to duty and good behavior Dr. Banerjee became very popular with the workmen. He said that the Government must be left to decide in each case whether the workmen had sufficient interest in the dispute and take necessary steps if they feel it breaches industrial peace and also decide whether the matter has to be referred for adjudication or not. He concludes by saying that the dispute concerning a person who is not a workman may be an industrial dispute within Section 2(k). As it has not been said that the dispute which is the matter of concern at the moment is for any other reason not an industrial dispute, he held that the Industrial Tribunal had full jurisdiction to adjudicate that dispute and should have done so.
FINAL DECISION OF THE CASE
Chief Justice S.R. Das and Justice S.K. Das gave the majority decision saying that the appeal of the appellants have failed and is hence dismissed but there shall be no order for costs.
On the other hand Justice A.K. Sarkar gave a minority dissenting judgment saying that the appeal would be allowed and sent back to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication in accordance with law.
As per the rule of law, the majority judgment prevails and hence the appeal is dismissed. However while dealing with this issue the court has also thoroughly examined and scrutinized the Act to determine its scope and has laid down the following to be the principal objects of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947:
· The promotion of measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employer and workmen.
· Investigation and settlement of industrial disputes, between employers and employers, employers and workmen, or workmen and workmen, with a right of representation by a registered trade union or federation of trade unions or association of employers or a federation of associations of employers.
· Prevention of illegal strikes and lock-outs.
· Relief to workmen in the matter of lay-off and retrenchment.
· Promotion of collective bargaining.
· Provide machinery or authority for settlement of industrial disputes.
· Relief to workmen in case of transfer and closure of undertaking.
· Improving service conditions of labor.
ANALYSIS OF THE CASE
As we have seen above from the reasoning and decision given by the Honorable Supreme Court the dispute in the case was not held to be one of an Industrial Dispute as within the meaning of Section 2(k). Hence the claim of the appellants was not accepted.
However this case is a landmark case mainly for the reason that it went on to analyze and scrutinize the important provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and has comprehensively laid down the principal objectives of the Act.
If we look at the preamble of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, it reads as “An Act to make provision for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes, and for certain other purposes” The scope and extent of these words “certain other purposes” was not given anywhere, however the judiciary in this case has gone beyond the letter of the law to give it a vast and encompassing connotation so as to bring within its fold all such issues that affect that either the employer, employee or the relation amongst them at their workplace.
Industrial Relations are an integral part of social relations arising out of employer-employee interaction in modern industries which are regulated by the state in varying degrees in conjunction with the organized social forces and influenced by prevailing institutions. It involves both individual dialogue and collective interaction. Industrial Relations are like a coin having two sides- cooperation and conflict. This conflict can affect the economy, lead to loss of man days, reduce the level of production and in general disrupt the industrial peace. So to ensure the growth and progress of the industrial society, mechanisms to settle and resolve the issues pertaining to Industrial Dispute have always been the core concern.
The State intervention in industrial relations matter had its beginning when the British Government in India was compelled to protect its commercial interests in this country. The earlier attempts to regulate labor consisted of enactments such as the Assam Labor Act, the Workmen's Breach of Contract Act, 1859, and the Employers' and Workmen's (Disputes) Act of 1860. However these Acts aimed at protecting the social system against labor rather than protecting labor against the social system. So the Government in India and England as well, was of the opinion that adequate measures should be adopted to avoid industrial disputes and labor unrest in industries, as frequent strikes and lock-outs in the industries particularly during the post world war period would certainly affect the economic and social order in the country to a great extent, Consequently, in the year of 1929, Trade Disputes Act came into existence. The main motive behind its enactment was to regulate the relation between employer and employee and a step further to deal with the trade disputes arising out of the employment in the trade or industry.
However the main defect of this act was that while restraints had been imposed on the rights of strike and lock-out in public utility services no provision had been made to render the proceedings institutable under the Act for the settlement of an industrial dispute, either by reference to a Board of Conciliation or to a Court of Inquiry, conclusive and binding on the parties to the dispute. This problem was overcome by empowering the Central Government under Rule 81A of Defense of India Rules to refer industrial disputes to adjudicator and to enforce their awards. The Central Government could compel the parties to go for compulsory adjudication by prohibiting strikes and lockouts during pendency of the proceedings and two months thereafter. However since this rule was being kept in force by way of an Ordinance the need of a permanent legislation in its place became the need of the hour. Hence the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 came into being with a view to provide a forum and compel the parties to resort to the forum of arbitration so as to avoid confrontation and dislocation in the industry or the workplace.
Since the issue in this case was to vastly explore the purpose and aim of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 it would be wise to point out that for a developing country like India peace and harmony in the industry and uninterrupted production is the demand of the time. Hence it was considered wise to arm the government with power to persuade the parties to avoid conflicts and trial of strength which were detrimental from an individual as well as national point of view.
The main provision of the Industrial Dispute Act which is the bone of contention in this concerned case is Section 2(k) which defines an “Industrial Dispute”
If we look at it from a legislative point of view this section was drafted as “"any dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labor, of any person” It is a very broad definition and includes all aspects of a dispute. It, not only includes the disagreement between employees and employers, but also emphasizes the difference of opinion between worker and worker. This disagreement or difference could be on any matter concerning the workers individually or collectively and it must be connected with employment or non-employment or with the conditions of labor. Hence the essentials of an industrial dispute would be:
· Existence of dispute or difference.
· Parties to dispute.
· Subject Matter of dispute.
· Dispute in a particular industry.
From the point of view of the employer, an industrial dispute resulting in stoppage of work means a stoppage of production. Apart from the immediate economic effects, loss of prestige and credit, alienation of the labor force, and other non-economic, psychological and social consequences may also arise. For the employee, an industrial dispute entails loss of income. Employees also suffer from personal injury if they indulge into strikes n picketing; and the psychological and physical consequences of forced idleness. Prolonged stoppages of work have also an adverse effect on the national productivity and national income as they cause wastage of national resources. So we see that the legislative intent was to bring within the folds of the definition all the factors that regulate affairs of industrial society.
However when this definition is looked at from a judicial perspective, it acquires a polymorphous form. It gets a whole new meaning in every different circumstance. With regard to the number of workers who actually constitute an industrial dispute in Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd V. Raghunath Gopal Patwardhan (1957) 1LLJ 27 the Supreme Court held that the dispute between a single employer and an employee doesn’t amount to an industrial dispute but can take the form of an industrial dispute if the issue or cause is taken up by the trade union to which the employee belongs or a group of employees of that industry. But there is no indication as to how many workmen are requires for an industrial dispute. It says that it has to be raised by a plurality of workmen. In J.K. Cotton Manufacturers Ltd. V. Uttar Pradesh Govt AIR 1960 All 734 it was held that if an employee has to fight his cause solitarily without support of workmen or union it is an individual dispute and not an industrial dispute. However by the amendment in 1965 Section 2A was inserted which said that issues of an individual workman can also amount to an industrial dispute. Following this in Tata Chemicals V. Workmen (1978) 2LLJ 22 it was held that a minority union can also raise an industrial dispute.
The term “any person” has been very much debated in the case. Although in the provision itself the term hasn’t been given any specific limit and scope, the judiciary has gone ahead to interpret it in a variety of ways. In Birla Brothers Ltd. v. Modak I.L.R. (1948) 2 Cal. 209 it was held that the words "any person" were not meant to refer only to workmen as defined in the Act but were wide and general and would include others who were not such workmen. However, in Narendra Kumar Sen v. All India Industrial Disputes (Labor Appellate) Tribunal (1953)IILLJ6Bom it was held that if the term "any person" were to be read as an expression without any limitation and qualification it would be open to the workmen not only to raise a dispute any workman or any laborer or any individual anywhere in the world. It must be realized how entirely untenable it is.
The scope of the term workman has also been dealt in this case at great length. Section 2(s) defines it as “any person employed (including an apprentice) in any industry to do any skilled or unskilled manual or clerical work for hire or reward and includes, for the purposes of any proceedings under this Act in relation to an industrial dispute, a workman discharged during that dispute, but does not include any person employed in the naval, military or air service of the Government." This definition was amended in 1956 by the legislature and two new categories of work were added- supervisory and technical.
Looking at it from a judicial perspective in Sunderambal V. Government of Goa, the court laid down that in order to be a workmen the person should satisfy the following criteria or conditions- (i) person employed in industry for hire or reward (ii) he should be engaged in skilled, unskilled, manual, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work (iii) he shouldn’t be a person falling under the excluded categories of persons mentioned in Section 2(s). In Dargandra Works Chemicals Ltd V. State of Saurashtra AIR 1957 SC 264 the ambit of the term “workman” was limited. The essential condition of a person being a workman within terms of this definition is that he should be employed to do the work in an industry. There should be the relationship between employer and employee of master and servant. Unless the person is thus employed there can be no question of his being a workman within this definition.
To sum it up in a nutshell, in S.N. Rai V. Aishwanath Lal AIR 1960 Pat 60 the court held that the comprehensive purpose of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is to provide machinery for just and equitable settlement by adjudication and amelioration of the conditions of workmen in industry.
If we take an international perspective countries like United Kingdom operates a highly liberal labor market with the minimum of legislative intervention and administrative 'red tape'. The UK does not have a written constitution and its court system has grown in a rather piecemeal way. However, specialist employment tribunals are empowered to hear almost all individual disputes and they are an integrated element in the civil court structure. The Employment Rights Act 1996, Employment Rights (Disputes Resolution) Act 1998 and The Employment Relations Act 1999 govern the issues of industrial disputes over there.
In George Hudson Ltd. v. Australian Timber Workers' Union 32 C.L.R. 413 it was held that the very nature of an 'industrial dispute' is to obtain new industrial conditions, not merely for the specific individuals then working from the specific individuals then employing them, and not for the moment only. But for the class of employees from the class of employers.
As far as the International Labor Organization is concerned the subject of disputes was considered in 1926 by the Third International Conference of Labor Statisticians, which adopted a resolution defining disputes and laying down detailed principles for determining the importance of a dispute and for their classification according to the matter in dispute, the result of the dispute, the method of settlement of the dispute, the industries affected, the importance of the dispute and the among of wages lost by the dispute.
The National Commission on Labor, 2002 by referring to Industrial Disputes Act has said that each sovereign state has the responsibility to protect the interests of those whom it represents. So every nation has to acquire and retain certain competitiveness to survive and prosper in the world. Neither the interest of the poor and unemployed nor neither the interests of the affluent can be served without competitiveness. Hence it’s become a national necessity to acquire competitiveness and this competitiveness can’t be acquired without harmonious relations or at least peaceful relations in the industry. Peaceful industrial relations are therefore an imperative for the survival and progress of everyone, whether he or she is a worker or entrepreneur or an employer or employee. Without it the economy will lag behind, targets will not be attained and there will be general disruption of structures and plans. It has therefore become a social and national duty to create peaceful relations among those who constitute the backbone of industry.
The Commission has also recommended that it would prefer the use of the gender neutral expression “worker” in place of a “workman” in the Industrial Disputes Act. It has also said that law must provide for authorities to identify the negotiating agent to adjudicate disputes and these must be provided in the shape of labor courts and labor relations commissions at the Central and state levels. They have also recommended that various laws related to the subject of labor relations must be consolidated into a single law called the Labor Management Relations Law or Law on Labor Management Relations. It said that the Works Committee constituted under Section 3 of the Industrial Disputes Act should be substituted by an Industrial Relations Committee to promote in house dispute settlement.
In my opinion it is correct to say that the term “any person” shouldn’t be given a wide and liberal meaning because if it is done so then many unwanted or unintended elements may make place for within this definition. Hence it’s right to restrict the scope of this term to the sphere of employment. However certain expectations or relaxations can be made depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case which the judiciary is at a position to gauge best after evaluating the merits of the case. Nonetheless the judgment delivered by them in this regard is just and fair because the person on whose behalf the cause was espoused did not suffer a grievance. He received 28 months worth salary and hence the court was not wrong in denying the claim of the appellants.
Hence the issues of the case have been dealt in the light of various perspectives to get a concrete and clear understanding of the same.
Hence after a detailed and careful perusal of the case, we can say that this case highlights and deals with the one of the most indispensable and important labor legislations of the day- Industrial Disputes Act, 1947- its scope, ambit, framework, interpretation and application. The Supreme Court has extensively dealt with the issue raised in this case. Since the concept of labor is one of the most crucial in any society, hence after exhaustive discussions, deliberations, arguments and consensus, the Honorable Court has delivered its judgment which is not only reasonable and fair, but keeps up with the present labor requirements and also upholds the principles of justice, equity and good conscience.
# (1957) 1LLJ 27
# AIR 1960 All 734
# (1978) 2LLJ 22
# I.L.R. (1948) 2 Cal. 209
# (1953) IILLJ6Bom
# AIR 1957 SC 264
# AIR 1960 Pat 60
# 32 C.L.R. 413
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