During the 18th- 20th century, a new branch of jurisprudence known as industrial
jurisprudence has developed across the world and subsequently in our country.
Industrial jurisprudence is of great importance to all developed or developing
countries of the world because it is concerned with the study of problems
related to human relations arising out of a large scale development of factory
system which has emerged in consequence of industrial revolution Proper
regulation of employer-employee relationship is a condition precedent for
planned, progressive and purposeful development of any society.
Welfare in industry can be achieved only if there is healthy understanding
between employers, workers and the Government. There can be no growth of the
industrial structure unless workers and employers realize their mutual
responsibilities. Labour welfare has special significance in India where the
Constitution itself enjoins the promotion of humane conditions of work and
securing to all workers full employment of leisure and social as well as
With the advent of mechanical inventions came the industrial friction and
unrest. Thus the modern industrialization has brought blessings as well as
inherent evils to society. The immediate victims of these evils are the workers
employed in the industries. Their efforts to eradicate such evils lead to
serious disputes and conflicts with the employers. The outbreak of such disputes
and conflicts is sometimes accompanied by a stoppage in the working of some
parts of economic machinery.
Industrial relations play an important role in the establishment and maintenance
of industrial democracy. Industrial democracy cannot succeed unless all
concerned- workers, employers, Government and public- fully realise its
importance and its due place in the national life.
Industrial workers in India had to go through these stages of privation for many
decades. World War-I brought a new awakening among the working class. The
prevailing economic misery was aggravated which led to generation of a feeling
of class consciousness amongst the working class.
Workers resorted to strikes
and employers retaliated by declaring lock-outs. Industrial peace was thus
violently disturbed. A need was felt, to enact legislations and statutes that
could curb the increasing differences between the employer class and the working
After independence it was largely felt that the labour policy must emphasize
upon self-reliance on the part of workers.
Since independence till 1954, the
period when Shri V.V. Giri was the Labour Minister, all official pronouncements
emphasized that labour should become self-reliant. An equally forceful approach
had been to prefer reliance upon the Government, thus, establishing the concept
of Tripartism. As per the system, the Government paid reliance on three-party
approach, namely, the trade union representing the workmen, the employers, and
the Government. The Five-Year Plans have also placed particular emphasis on
measures for the welfare of the workers and on the industrialization of India.
The Government has accepted the establishment of a welfare state, with economic
policies based on the socialist pattern of society.
This need paved way for the labour legislations that form an integral part of
development of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 which is the subject-matter of
the instant research project. The project further deals with certain basic
concepts such as that of an industry, employer, workmen, etc which are important
for understanding the main issue of industrial disputes.
Objectives of The Study
This project seeks to give a brief idea of industrial disputes as per the
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Following are the objectives of the given project
· To introduce the concept of Industrial Jurisprudence and its need;
· To trace the enactment of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and its
objectives as well as applicability/jurisdiction;
· To put forth the concepts of industry and industrial disputes amongst
others as per Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;
· To analyse the authorities under the Act for redressal of grievances and
settlement of industrial disputes;
The Salient features of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, bear a huge impact on
the settlement and prevention of the industrial disputes as well as in
amelioration of the conditions of workers, tempered by a practical sense of
peaceful co-existence to the benefit of both and to impose restraints on laissez
faire and exhibit concern for the welfare of the weaker lot.
What is the generalized scheme and nature of orientation of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947, inferring from its salient features?
This research is descriptive and analytical in nature. Secondary and electronic
resources have been largely used to gather information and data about the topic.
Books, case laws and other reference as guided have been primarily helpful in
giving this project a firm structure. Websites, articles and cases have also
been referred. Footnotes have been provided wherever necessary to acknowledge
Enactment of The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
Industrial Jurisprudence in India is a development of mainly post-independence
period although its birth may be traced back to the industrial revolution.
Before independence it existed merely in a rudimentary form in our country. But
later on with the development of industry, the Industrial Law developed side by
side. The growth of industrial jurisprudence can significantly be noticed not
only from increase in labour and industrial legislations but also from a large
number of industrial law matters decided by the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Therefore, the progress of a country depends upon the development of industry;
the Industrial Laws play an important role in the national economy of a country.
In the 18th century, India was not only a great agricultural country but a great
manufacturing country too. But the British government in India as a matter of
policy discouraged Indian manufacturers in order to encourage the rising
manufacturers in England. In India, with the advent of 19th century and growing
consciousness amongst the working class, a number of labour legislations have
been enacted to promote the condition of the labour keeping in view the
development of industry and national economy.
Prior to 1929, the only law in force to settle disputes was the Employers and
Workmen (Disputes) Act, 1860. The provisions of the Act were confined to the
settlement of disputes concerning wages. Apart from its limited character, the
Act contained various undesirable provisions such as the one which made breach
of contract by a workman, a criminal offence. Also, there was an absence of
tripartite system (between and amongst employers, workmen and Government).
Though Government enacted a few labour laws, it did not intervene to settle
disputes and secure good employer-employee relations except in cases of
prolonged strikes. Owing to numerous strikes and lockouts in important
industries during the period of 1928-1929, Government was forced to enact the
Trade Disputes Act, 1929, for promoting early settlement of disputes by
providing for enquiry and conciliation board. The 1929 Act was amended in 1938;
it authorized Central & Provisional Government to intermediate at the time of
Further Govt. introduced Defence of India Rules post World War II. Rule 81A gave
powers to the Government to intervene in the Industrial Disputes so as to
provide speedy remedies. Further Standing Orders Act of 1946 was also passed.
On the basis of Trade Disputes Act, 1938, Defence of India Rules and Standing
Orders Act, 1946, Industrial Disputes Bill was introduced in the Central
Legislative Assembly in 1945 which embodied the essential principles of Defence
of India Rules and Trade Disputes Act, 1938 concerning Industrial Disputes. The
Bill was passed in March 1947 and became a law from 1947 which came to be known
as Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
As such, it would not be wrong to consider the Constitution of India as the
source of all labour laws. All the matters related to labour laws such as trade
unions, industrial and labour disputes are covered under entry-22 of List III of
Schedule VII i.e. the Concurrent List while all matters of Industrial dispute
concerning Union employees (under public utility services or services in
national interest) are covered under entry-61 of List I of Schedule VII, i.e.
the union list. As such, the Union government as well as the State governments
have framed various laws to deal with labour related issues. Industrial Disputes
Act, 1947 is one of the initial legislative steps taken by the Parliament in
Before understanding the intricacies of the aforementioned Act, it is desirable
to take note of its applicability and its objectives as stated in the Act
Applicability of the Act
The Act is applicable in the whole of India as per Section-1 of the Act. The Act
has been extended to new provinces and merged states such as the states of
Manipur, Tripura and the states merged into the State of Bombay. Further, this
Act has been also applied to the union territory of Pondicherry, Daman and Diu
as well as to Goa. Now this Act has been applied to the state of Jammu and
Kashmir by the Central Labour Laws (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Act, 1970.
The Act however, does not apply to members of the Railway Protection Force
constituted under the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957.
The Industrial Disputes Act does not override state laws on the same subject
matter. Section 31 of the ID Act as amended in 1956 provides for the same.
Further, Schedule-I to the Act specifically lays down certain industries that
are declared as public utility services for the purposes of the Act. Schedule-I
read with Section-2(n)(vi) provides an in exhaustive list of around 20 industries
(such as transport by land or water for the carriage of passengers or goods,
banking, cement, coal, cotton textiles, defence establishments, foodstuffs, fire
brigade service, copper, lead, zinc mining, iron ore, pyrites and phosphorite
mining, service in the uranium industry, service in any oil field, hydrogen gas
industry, surgical and pharmaceutical industry, leather etc.) that are declared
as public utility services for the purpose of this Act, entry-7, thereof,
mentions Iron and Steel industries.
Therefore, Bhilai Steel Plant comes under
the purview of the Industrial Disputes Act and it is applicable over BSP being
involved in a public utility service. Further, upon an amendment in 2010, the
Act has been made specifically applicable over Bhilai Steel Plant along with the
Chhattisgarh Industrial Relations Act, 1960. Both these Acts have similar, if
not the same, objectives to deal with the employee-employer relationship that
are enumerated subsequently.
Objectives of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
The Supreme Court has analysed the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 in various
cases and laid down the principal objects of the Act in the case of Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate v. Management of Dimakuchi Tea Estate
1. The promotion of measures for securing amity and good relations between
the employer and workmen.
2. An 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 association of employers.
3. The prevention of illegal strikes and lockouts.
4. Relief to workmen in the matter of layoff, retrenchment and closure of
5. Collective bargaining.
Some of the distinguishing features of the ID Act, 1947 may be summarized as
1. Any industrial dispute may be referred to an industrial tribunal by an
agreement of parties to the dispute or by the Appropriate Government if it deems
it expedient to do so.
2. An award declared the arbitrator shall be binding on both the parties to
the dispute for the specified period not exceeding one year. It shall be
normally enforced by the government.
3. Prohibition of illegal strikes and lockouts.
4. Compensation to the workmen in cases of layoff, retrenchment and
transfer or closure of an undertaking.
5. A number of authorities such as the Works Committee, Conciliation
Officers, Board of Conciliation, Courts of Enquiry, Labour Courts, Industrial
Tribunal and National Tribunal are provided for the settlement of industrial
disputes. Each one of these authorities plays an important role in speedy
redressal of grievances and peaceful and amicable settlement of disputes, thus,
ensuring industrial peace.
As a matter of fact, the object of the industrial relations legislations in
general is industrial peace and economic justice. The prosperity of any industry
very much depends upon its growing production. Dissatisfaction with the existing
economic conditions is the root cause of industrial disputes. There are some
other factors that influence the production, namely existence of any dispute
between the employers and workmen, thus, creating a sort of interruption and
hindrance in the industrial peace. Every industrial relations legislations,
thereby, intends to ensure that the production process does not stop even during
the existence of any dispute. As such, they provide for amicable means of
settlement of these disputes, like the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Therefore,
every such legislation aims at providing conditions congenial to the industrial
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 Interpretation Clause
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 provides the meaning of certain basic terms
essential to understand the concept of industrial disputes. The interpretation
clause as given under Section-2 provides these definitions.
terminology and concepts are given hereunder:
The Central Government as well as the State Governments are vested with various
powers and duties in relation to matters dealt with in this Act. In relation to
some industrial disputes the Central Government and in relation to some others
the State Government concerned are the Appropriate Governments [as provided
under Section-2(a) of the Act and further elaborated in sub-sections 2(a)(i)(a),
2(a)(i)(b) and 2(a)(ii)] to deal with such disputes. Whether the Appropriate
Government is the Central Government or the concerned State Government depends
upon the subject-matter of the dispute.
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 defines an employer in Section-2(g) as:
a. In relation to an industry carried on by or under the authority of any
department of the Central Government or a State Government, the authority
prescribed in this behalf, or where no authority is prescribed, the head of the
b. In relation to an industry carried on by or on behalf of a local
authority, the chief executive officer of that authority.
The industries run or owned by the authorities other than the Central and State
Governments or local authorities, are also covered by this expression under the
Act. It was held by the Supreme Court that where a worker or group of workers
labour to produce goods or services and these goods or services are for the
business of another then that other is, in fact the employer.
Definition of the term industry first originated from Industrial Disputes Act,
1947. Section-2 (j) of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 provides that:
The term industry means any business, trade, undertaking,
manufacture or calling of employers & includes any calling, service, employment,
handicraft, or industrial occupation or avocation of workmen.
The question as to what comes under the purview of industry has baffled the
courts, and to answer it is not easy. The application of tests laid down in
several judgments of the Supreme Court is not found to be uniform. At times the
tests are qualified in subsequent cases and in some, reasons given by judges are
contradictory and difficult to reconcile. The tests of industry
formulated and applied to find out what falls within and outside the definition
of industry. The judgments on the subject have crystallized the features or the
essentials of industry, the working principles, and the ruling tests for
characterization or identification of an industry
Bangalore Water Supply v. A Rajappa
judgment analysed earlier decisions and
laid down the guiding principles to judge whether an activity is an industry and
the situations in which exclusion can be claimed.
The test, known as the
, so laid down states that any activity systematically carried on
with cooperation between the employer and the workmen for the production, supply
or distribution of goods and/or services with a view to satisfy human wants or
wishes is an industry. It must not be for oneself, nor for pleasure nor
necessarily for profit. If the organization is a trade or business, it does
not cease to be one because of philanthropy animating the undertaking.
Where a department discharges many functions, some pertaining to industry as
defined in the Act and other non-industrial activities, the predominant
functions of the department shall be the criterion for the purposes of the Act.
Minor, subsidiary and incidental work should not be allowed to lend its
industrial colour to the principal activity.
This is known as the Dominant Nature Test
. It is however important that
the Dominant Nature Test
follows the Triple Test
as well. This approach was illustrated in the Corporation of the
City of Nagpur case and further approved in the Bangalore Water Supply case.
The definition of Industry was, therefore, amended in 1982 to incorporate the
TRIPLE TEST and also to specifically exempt certain establishments and
undertaking from the purview of the definition so given. This definition has
however not enforced yet and the position of the decision given in Bangalore
Water Supply case still stands strong.
Industrial Dispute is defined in Section 2(k) of ID Act, 1947. This definition
is a modification of definition given in Section 2(j) of Trade Dispute Act,
It provides that industrial dispute means any dispute or difference between
employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen or
workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms
of employment or with the conditions of labour, of any person.
The analysis of this definition as provided in the Act and considered by the
Court in several judgments is the subject-matter of the research project. Hence,
it will be discussed in the subsequent chapters of the project report.
The definition of workman is important because the Act aims at investigation and
settlement of industrial disputes which implies a difference between employer
The term workman has been defined under Section 2(s) of Industrial Disputes Act,
1947 in three parts, substantive, inclusive and exclusive. As per the statute,
means any person (including an
apprentice) employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled,
technical, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward, whether the terms of
employment be express or implied (Substantive Part)
, and for the purposes
of any proceeding under this Act, in relation to an industrial dispute, includes
any such person who has been dismissed, discharged or retrenched in connection
with, or as a consequence of, that dispute, or whose dismissal, discharge or
retrenchment has led to that dispute (Inclusive Part)
does not include any such person (EXCLUSIVE HALF) -
a. Who is subject to the Air Force Act, 1950, or the Army Act, 1950, or
the Navy Act, 1957; or
b. Who is employed in the police service or as an officer or other employee
of a prison; or
c. Who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity; or
d. Who, being employed in a supervisory capacity, draws wages exceeding ten
thousand rupees per month or exercises, either by the nature of the duties
attached to the office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions
mainly of a managerial nature.
The expression apprentice has not been defined in Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
An apprentice is one who is a learner of art meaning thereby one who is bound by
a legal agreement to serve an employer for a period of years with a view to
learn some handicraft, trade etc. in which the employer is reciprocally bound to
Distinction between Workman and Contractor
In the case D.C. Works Ltd. v. State of Saurashtra
, Supreme Court provided a
clear distinction between Workman and Contractor. The Supreme Court observed
that the broad distinction between workman and independent contractor lies in
this that while the former agrees himself to work, the latter agrees to get
other persons to work.
Now that we are familiar with the basic terminology as used in the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947, the researcher can move on to explain industrial disputes
and the authorities provided under the Act for settlement of such disputes and
redressal of grievances.
Industrial Disputes: An Analysis
Industrial dispute means any dispute or difference between employers and
employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen or workmen,
which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of
employment or with the conditions of labour, of any person.
This definition is vital to the jurisdiction of industrial tribunal and the
labour court since their jurisdiction is generally confined by reference to the
determination of industrial dispute, but it should be remembered that this
jurisdiction is in some cases further restricted to the points specifically
referred for adjudication and to matters incidental thereto and in other cases
extended beyond this definition.
The definition opens with and employs very general words of wide application.
The definition brings out the essential characteristics of the dispute with
which the Act purports to deal.
The definition is in three parts.
i. There must be a dispute or difference. (FACTUM OF DISPUTE)
ii. The dispute must be between employers and employers, or
between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen. (PARTIES TO THE
iii. The dispute or difference must be connected with the
employment, non-employment, terms of employment or conditions of labour, of any
person. (SUBJECT-MATTER OF DISPUTE)
It is necessary to note that the definition of industrial dispute
the continued existence of an industry.
In Pipraich Sugar Mills
 case, it
was observed that it cannot be doubted that the entire scheme of the Act
assumes that there is in existence an industry, and then proceeds to provide for
various steps being taken, when a dispute arises in that industry.
To further explain the concept of industrial disputes, it is necessary that we
analyse the different parts of the definition so given under the Act.
Factum of dispute
The essence of the dispute is disagreement. The dispute, if it is to form the
basis of a reference, must be a real dispute in fact. The expression dispute or
difference as used in the Act means a controversy which is fairly definite and
of real substance and being connected with the terms of employment or conditions
of labour, is one which the contesting parties are directly and substantially
interested in maintaining their respective contentions. Thus, the term
industrial dispute connotes a real and substantial difference having some
element of persistency, and likely, if not adjusted, to endanger the industrial
peace of the community.
There are innumerable subjects on which industrial disputes can arise between
employers and workmen. The Act does not specify any particular disputes as industrial disputes
. However, the Act has provided schedules giving
subject-matters regarding which industrial disputes can arise and be adjudicated
by Labour Courts and Industrial Tribunals.
Parties to the dispute
The dispute may arise between employer and employer. This forms a very rare
ground for existence of any industrial dispute. Further, the Act also provides
for any difference or dispute between employer and workmen which is the most
commonly observed scenario in the industrial arena. Lastly, the Act includes
dispute between workmen inter-se which is also a very rare observance. The
statute provides for peaceful and speedy settlement of disputes arising between
Subject-matter of dispute
The dispute or difference that arises in any industry may relate to:
The concept of employment involves three
iii) the contract of employment.
The word employment
refers to a condition in which a man is kept occupied in executing
any work. In other words, it means not only an appointment to any office for the
first time but also the continuity of that appointment.
Non-employment is the negative of employment and
means that disputes of workmen out of service with their employers are within
the ambit of the definition. It is the positive or negative act of an employer
that leads to employment or non-employment. The failure to employ or refusal to
employ are actions on the part of the employer which would be covered under the
The words connected with widen the scope of the dispute and do not restrict it
by any means. It would ordinarily cover all matters that require settlement
between workmen and employers, whether those matters concern the causes of their
being out of service or any other question, and it would also include within its
scope the relief necessary for bringing about harmonious relations between the
employers and workers.
c. Terms of employment:
The word terms postulate existence of contract
of employment. The rights and obligations of employer and employees inter se
depend, in the first instance, on the initial fact of a contract between the
d. Conditions of service:
Conditions of service may comprise matters from
appointment to termination and even beyond in matters like pension, etc. and
matters pertaining to disciplinary action. They may be laid down by standing
orders, rules, regulations or bye-laws.
e. Conditions of labour
: The expression conditions of labour
reference to the amenities to be provided to the workmen and the conditions
under which they are required to work. Terms of employment is an expression of
amplitude and is wide enough to cover the subjects of employment, non-employment
and conditions of labour
. The word conditions of labour in
the definition of the Act point to work done by workmen.
Individual Dispute And Industrial Dispute
To constitute a dispute, there must be some disagreement between workmen and
employer who stand in some industrial relationship upon some matter that affects
or arises out of that relationship. It must be concerned with an industry and
the difference between the parties must be concerned in some way with the
workman as defined in the Act.
The words industrial dispute
convey the meaning to the ordinary mind that the
dispute must be such as would affect large groups of workmen and employers
ranged on opposite sides on some general questions on which each group is bound
together by a community of interests- such as wages, bonus, allowances, pension,
provident fund, number of working hours per week, holidays and so on.
The Act is designed to deal with employees collectively and their employer. A
dispute between a single workman and the employer cannot be an industrial
dispute unless it is taken up by the union of employees or a number of workmen
except in cases covered by Section- 2A which does not control the definition
in Section-2(k). The cause must be espoused by the union of the employees or a
considerable section of the employees. That is why industrial tribunals deal
with disputes in relation to individual cases only where such disputes assume
the character of an industrial dispute by reason of the fact that they are
sponsored by the union or have otherwiseibeen taken up by a group or body of
employees as held in the case of Jagdish Narain Sharma & Anr. v. Rajasthan
Patrika Ltd & Anr
Section-2A is of limited application.
It does not declare all individual
disputes to be an industrial dispute. Any dispute connected with any matter
other than those mentioned in the provision, needs to satisfy the test laid down
in judicial decisions. Thus only a collective dispute could constitute an
industrial dispute but collective dispute does not mean that the dispute should
either be sponsored by a recognized union or that all or majority of the workmen
of an industrial establishment should be parties to it. All that is necessary is
that those taking up the cause of the aggrieved workman must be in the same
employment, i.e., there must be community of interest when the act complained
against happened and not when the dispute was referred to.
In order to make a dispute an industrial dispute it is not necessary that here
should be a resolution of substantial or appreciable number of workmen. What is
necessary is that there must be some expression of collective will of
substantial or appreciable number of workmen taking up the cause of the
In Workmen of Indian Express Newspapers Ltd. v. Management of Indian Express
, a dispute relating to two workmen of Indian Express Newspapers
Ltd. was espoused by the Delhi Union of journalists which was an outside union.
About 25% of the working journalists of the newspaper were its members. It was
held that the Delhi Union of journalists could be said to have a representative
character qua the working journalists employed in the Indian Express and the
dispute was thus transformed into an industrial dispute.
It must be noted here that a dispute is an industrial dispute even where it is
sponsored by a union which is not registered; but the Trade Union must not be
one unconnected with the employer or the industry concerned.
Thus, it can be concluded that the cumulative effect of Section-2(k) and
Section-2A is that an individual dispute of an industrial workman whether
espoused by the union, a group of workmen or by the workman himself is also an
industrial dispute. Therefore, the doctrine that the dispute becomes an
industrial dispute only if it is espoused by a union or a substantial number of
workmen has no validity after the addition of Section- 2A in respect of disputes
Consequently, whether the dispute referred to is an
industrial dispute within the meaning of section-2(k) or section-2A of the Act
is of no consequence so far as the Labour Court or the Tribunal to which
reference is made for adjudication is concerned.
Chapter 4- Authorities Under The Act
The object of the Industrial Disputes Act, as set out in the preamble, is to
make provisions for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes and for
certain other purposes hereinafter appearing
. The word settlement suggests
the idea of establishing compromise between the interests of disputing parties.
As such, the Act provides for different classes of authorities who are entrusted
with the powers and duties of investigation and settlement of industrial
The adjudication of industrial disputes has at the first instance been kept out
of the jurisdiction of the Municipal Courts. The various modes of settlement of
disputes provided by the Act may broadly be classified under the three heads,
b) Adjudication and
Chapter-II sets out the authorities under the Act and they are: (1) the Works
Committee, (2) Conciliation Officers, (3) Boards of Conciliation, (4) Courts of
Enquiry, (5) Labour Courts, (6) Industrial Tribunals and (7) National Tribunals.
These are different authorities with different powers. The purposes for which
they are set up are broadly indicated and their functions are prescribed under
Those authorities that make use of conciliation as the sole method of settlement
of disputes are as follows:
The Works Committee as prescribed under Section-3 consists of representatives of
employers and workmen engaged in a particular establishment and is constituted
in the prescribed manner in order to promote measures for securing and
preserving amity and good relations between the employers and workmen and to
that end to comment upon matters of their common interest or concern and
endeavour to compose any material difference of opinion in respect of such
Section-4 talks about appointment of Conciliation officers.
officers are appointed by the notification by the Appropriate Government charged
with the duty of mediating in, and promoting the settlement of industrial
dispute. He may be appointed for a specified area, or for one specified
industries in a specified area, or for one or more specified industries. The
appointment may be made either permanently or for a limited period. Similarly,
Boards of Conciliation are constituted as per Section-5 of the Act by
notification by the Appropriate Government as occasion arises for promoting the
settlement of industrial disputes.
The following adjudicating authorities decide any dispute referred to them under
Labour Courts (Section-7), Industrial Tribunal (Section-7A) and National
Tribunals (Section-7B) are constituted by the appropriate Government for the
adjudication of industrial disputes in accordance with the provisions of the
Act. Chapter-IV prescribes the procedure, powers and duties of the several
authorities under the Act.
Section-10A of the Act makes provision for voluntary reference of disputes to
arbitration. The section authorizes the parties to the dispute themselves to
choose their own arbitrator, including a Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal or
Apart from the above, provision has also been made for the constitution of a
Court of Enquiry whose main function is to inquire into any matter appearing to
be connected with or relevant to an industrial dispute. Courts of Enquiry are
constituted under Section-6 by notification by the appropriate Government, as
occasion arises, for the said purpose.
Different authorities which are constituted under the Act are set up with
different ends in view and are invested with powers and duties necessary for the
achievement of the purposes for which they are set up.
Scheme of Section-10
The steps which are contemplated in the manner indicated in Section-10 of the
Act for a reference of disputes to Boards, Courts, and Labour Courts, Tribunals
or National Tribunals are indicated while dealing with the scheme of the Act.
The section provides for reference of industrial disputes whether they exist or
are apprehended to Boards of Conciliation for promoting a settlement, or to a
Labour Court or to an Industrial Tribunal for adjudication or even to a National
The amendment made in 1982 in section-10 carry provisions for expeditious
disposal of references by imposing obligation on the appropriate Government to
prescribe the time limit for disposal of reference by the adjudicator, and
inbuilt procedure for extension of time without the Government coming in
It also provides for the parties to an industrial dispute applying whether
jointly or separately for a reference of the dispute to a Conciliation Board,
Court of Enquiry, Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal. Where a dispute
has been so referred the appropriate Government is enabled to prohibit the
continuance of any strike or lockout.
Chapter- IV (Section-11 to 21) of the Act
further deals with the procedure,
powers and duties of the authorities set up under the Act. The Conciliation
Officers as well as the Boards of Conciliation are charged with a duty to bring
about settlement of a dispute, without delay to investigate the dispute and all
matters affecting the merits and the right settlement thereof and are also
empowered to do all such things as they think fit for the purpose of inducing
the parties to come to an amicable settlement of the dispute.
If a settlement of
the dispute or of any of the matters in dispute is arrived at in the course of
conciliation proceedings, they are to send a report thereof to the appropriate
Government together with a memorandum of the settlement signed by the parties to
If no such settlement is arrived at, the Conciliation Officers or the Board of
Conciliation (as the case may be) have, as soon as practicable and after the
close of the investigation, to send to the Appropriate Government, a full report
setting forth the proceedings and steps taken by them for ascertaining the facts
and circumstances relating to the dispute and for bringing a settlement thereof
together with a full statement of such facts and circumstances, their findings
thereon, the reasons on account of which, in their opinion, a settlement could
not be arrived at and their recommendations for the determination of the
If, on a consideration of such report the appropriate government is satisfied
that there is a case for reference to a Board or Tribunal, it may make such
The Labour Courts or Tribunals to whom an industrial dispute may be referred for
adjudication are to hold their proceedings expeditiously and, as soon as
practicable on the conclusion thereof, submit their award to the appropriate
Government. The jurisdiction of the Labour Court and the Industrial Tribunal
with respect to industrial disputes is given under Schedule-II and
Schedule-III to the Act, respectively.
These are the steps which are contemplated in the manner indicated in Section-10
of the Act for reference of disputes to various authorities established under
the Act. It is not necessary that all these steps should be taken seriatim one
after the other. Whether one or the other of the steps should be taken by the
appropriate Government must depend upon the exigencies of the situation, the
imminence of industrial strife resulting in cessation or interruption of
industrial production and industrial peace endangering the public tranquility
and law and order. If the matter brooks delay the appropriate Government may
start conciliation proceedings culminating in a reference to a Board of
Conciliation and also Court of Enquiry, if need be, before a full-fledged
reference is made under Secrion-10 of the Act.
If, on the other hand, the matter
brooks no delay the appropriate Government may possibly refer the dispute to a
Board of Conciliation before referring it for adjudication or may straightaway
refer it for adjudication to any of the authorities in section-10.
Industrial jurisprudence is of great importance to all developed or developing
countries of the world because it is concerned with the study of problems
related to human relations arising out of a large scale development of factory
system which has emerged in consequence of industrial revolution. Welfare in
industry can be achieved only if there is healthy understanding between
employers, workers and the Government. This need paved way for the labour
legislations that form an integral part of development of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947 which was the subject-matter of the instant research project.
The research was started with the hypothesis that the Salient features of the
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, bear a huge impact on the settlement and
prevention of the industrial disputes as well as in amelioration of the
conditions of workers, tempered by a practical sense of peaceful co-existence to
the benefit of both and to impose restraints on laissez faire and exhibit
concern for the welfare of the weaker lot. The said hypothesis during the course
of research has proved itself to be true.
Despite numerous Amendments, the main thrust of the Act, remains. Thus,
maintenance of peace and harmony in an industry to promote industrial prosperity
and through it the economic prosperity of the nation, concern for the underdog,
the workers, and paving the way, ultimately, for industrial democracy are the
prime priorities of the Act.
The personality of the statute, when considered as a whole, signifies that it is
labour welfare oriented and as beneficial legislation, protects labour, promotes
their contentment and regulates situations of crisis and tension where
production may be imperilled by untenablestrikes and blackmail lockouts.
Further, the machineries under the Act seek to confer regulated benefits to
workman and strive to resolve their “actual or potential” conflicts according to
a sympathetic rule of law.
1. Commentary of K.D. Srivastava on Law Relating To Trade Unions and Unfair
Labour Practices in India (Fourth Edition).
2. Goswani V.G., Labour and Industrial Laws (Vol.-II), (9thEdn. Central Law
3. Malik P.L., Industrial Law(Vol.-2), Eastern Book Company (Twenty-fourth
4. Mishra S.N., Labour and Industrial Laws, (27th Edn. Central Law
5. Patel Vithalbhai B., Law on Industrial Disputes (Vol.-I), (3rd Edn.
Orient Law House)
6. Srivastava, Prof. SC, Labour Law and Labour Relations: Cases and
Materials, Indian Law Institute (Third Edition)
Several State Governments have enacted laws relating to industrial disputes
such as the MP Industrial Relations Act, 1960 (later on adopted as C.G.
Industrial Relations Act, 1960 by the state of Chhattisgarh); Bombay Industrial
Relations Act, 1946, etc.
Hereinafter, also referred to as the ID Act, 1947
AIR 1958 SC 353
Hussainbhai v. Alath Factory Tezhilali Union, AIR 1978 SC 1410
 This section is based on Section 4 of Commonwealth Conciliation &
Arbitration Act, 1904 which is an Australian statute.
1978 SC 548
D.N. Banerjee v P.R. Mukherjee [1953 SC 58]; Hospital Mazdoor Sabha Case
[; Madras Gymkhana Case [ (1968) 1 SCR 742]; Safdurjung Hospital v. Kuldeep
Singh [(1971) 1 SCR 177] and Solicitors case[1962 SC 1080]; Delhi University v.
Ram Nath [1963 SC 1873]
 Excluded activities include spiritual or religious activities, sovereign
activities of the State (not welfare activities or economic adventures
undertaken by the Government or statutory bodies), etc.
Hospital Mazdoor Sabha Case [(1960) 2 SCR 879]
(1960) 2 SCR 942
 AIR 1957 SC 264.
Section-2(k) of the ID Act, 1947
Provisions of Section-33C(2) whereby the additional powers are assigned to
the labour court. After the enactment of Section-2A their jurisdiction stands
Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate case, 1958 SCR 1156
Indian Metal &Metallurgical Corp. v. IT Madras 1952-I LLJ 364(M)
1956 SCR 872
Shambu Nath Goyal v. Bank of Baroda, 1978 SC 1088
Schedule-II (Matters within the jurisdiction of Labour Courts)- Propriety or
legality of any order passed by an employer under the Standing Orders;
application and interpretation of standing orders; discharge or dismissal of
workmen including reinstatement of, or grant of relief to, workmen wrongfully
dismissed; withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege; illegality or
otherwise of a strike or lockout; and all matters other than those specified in
the Third Schedule.
Schedule-III (Matters within the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunals)- Wages,
including the period and mode of payment; compensatory and other allowance;
hours of work and rest intervals; leave with wages and holidays; bonus, profit
sharing, provident fund and gratuity; shift working otherwise than in accordance
with standing orders; classification by grades; rules of discipline;
rationalization; retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment; and any
other matter that may be prescribed.
Chintanman Rao v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1958 SCR 1340
Sukhnandan Thakur v. State of Bihar, 1957 Pat. 617
WIAA v. IT, 1949-I LLJ 245
State of M.P. v. Shardul Singh, (1970) 1 SCC 108
United Commercial Bank Ltd. v. Shri Kedar Nath Gupta, 1952-I LLJ 782
Section-2A: Dismissal, etc., of an individual workman to be deemed to be an
industrial dispute- Where any employer discharges, dismisses, retrenches or
otherwise terminates the services of an individual workman, any dispute or
difference between that workman and his employer connected with, or arising out
of, such discharge, dismissal, retrenchment or termination shall be deemed to be
an industrial dispute notwithstanding that no other workman nor any union of
workmen is a party to the dispute.
Bombay Union of Journalists v. The Hindu, (1962) 3 SCR 893
 (1994) II LLJ 600 (Raj.)
Shamsuddin v. State of Kerala & Ors., (1961) I LLJ 77
Mrs. P. Soma Sundaran v. Labour Court, (1970) I LLJ 558 (AP)
AIR 1970 SC 737