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Authorities And Dispute Settlement Mechanism Under Industrial Disputes Act,1947

Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains

Though the concept of labour was prevalent in India since 2250 B.C. from the code of Hamurabi, its importance is realized only after the industrial revolution and the rise of communism. There arouse a situation to protect the rights of the labour against the dominant employer community.

When such a realization has spread among the workers’ community, several disputes started arising between the management and labour giving way to new legislations. One of such legislations is Industrial Disputes Act,1947 with the aim of settling the industrial disputes in peaceful and harmonious way which proceeded from Rule 81-A of Defence of India Rules,1939. The Act provides for the establishment of several authorities under Chapter III for the purpose of settling industrial disputes and Chapter IV deals with the power and duties of such authorities. The authorities have been divided into adjudicatory and non-adjudicatory bodies for the purpose of understanding and their mechanism is also explained in this project.

Research objective:
The objective of the project is
# To analyze the working pattern of dispute settlement authorities in India
# To understand the dispute settlement mechanism under different authorities
# To critically evaluate the concept of dispute settlement with judicial interpretation

Research methodology:
The research methodology is doctrinal in nature. The research is in the form of analytical where the provisions are critically evaluated on the background of judicial interpretation. The fundamental reliance is on the statutes like Industrial Disputes Act,1947, Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules,1957 and certain judicial decisions. Additional reliance is on the books written by various authors like K.M.Pillai, Srivastava etc., various articles and journals. The analysis is also dependent on the facts given by websites about such provisions which serve as secondary source of the project which might be useful for suggesting amendments to the statute if necessary.

Research questions:
1. What are the various authorities and their dispute settlement mechanism under Industrial Disputes Act,1947?
2. Did the authorities established under Industrial Disputes Act succeed in settling the disputes?
3. What are the recommendations made by Industrial Relations Commission and how it can be applied in the present scenario?
4. What are the various ILO conventions regarding the dispute settlement?

Literature review:
Authors like K.M.Pillai and Srivastava should be referred for the basic understanding of the topic. Pillai in his book, Labour and Industrial laws has discussed in detail about the basic principles of adjudication citing a number of cases and he has sorted out the difference between various authorities whereas Srivastava in his book Industrial Relations and Labour laws gives a comprehensive view on the authorities under ID Act. But both the books need to get updated to some extent.

In Labour and industrial laws, Saharay has compiled the fundamentals of the dispute settlement mechanism with recent case laws. Ram Reddy in his book, Industrial Relations in India: A Study of the Singareni Collieries, has dealt in detail about the National commission on labour and is helpful for the researcher to trace the important aspects of the commission and its recommendations. Sinha’s, Industrial Relations, Trade Unions, and Labour Legislation explains the concepts by taking different stands both from the worker’s and employer’s lens.

He also explains the relevance of the state legislations in the labour arena. The article of M.J.Arputharaj & R.Gayatri on A critical analysis on efficacy of mechanism to industrial disputes resolution in India traces the evolution of the industrial disputes settlement mechanism. The article on 3 methods for settlement of industrial disputes by Smriti Chand is suggested for basic understanding of the concept and has helped the researcher to draw the differentiations between the mechanisms involved.

Chapter II: Dispute settlement mechanism:

Conciliation:

Conciliation is a process where the dispute between the employer and workmen are referred to a third party and the third party helps them to come to an agreement. However he is not the ultimate decision maker. He helps the disputants to come to a consensus. For the purpose of conciliation only, the appropriate governments appoint conciliation officers and constitute board of conciliation as mentioned above. This process has come out successful in many industrialized countries. The success of the conciliation machinery in India can be accounted by statistics[1.

However it has failed in some states too. The non-adjudicatory bodies follow the process of conciliation.

The conciliation proceedings generally commence from the reference of the disputes by the appropriate government. During the pendency of the conciliation proceedings, strikes and lockouts are prohibited in public utility services and the exercise of management’s prerogative[2].

A conciliation proceeding is deemed to have concluded:

# When the settlement is arrived and memorandum of settlement is signed by both the parties
# When no settlement is arrived, then the report of the board is actually received by the appropriate government[3] and is published under sec.17
# When reference is made to a labour court, tribunal or national tribunal under sec.10

The settlement as defined by sec.2 (p) as that arrived at in the course of conciliation proceeding and includes a written agreement signed by the parties and a copy is sent to the officer authorized by the appropriate government. ‘In the course of conciliation proceedings’ essentially requires that the settlement is arrived during the conciliation proceedings are pending[4]. The settlement must be in form 4 as mentioned under Rule 58 (i).

The settlement must be fair, just and bonafide and it should be published by the appropriate government under sec.17 (1). The settlement shall come into force on the date in which the memorandum of settlement is signed and agreed by the parties[5] and it can be terminated by written intimation after the expiry of two months from the date of the notice (where the notice is given after the expiry of 6 months after the memorandum of settlement is signed by both the parties or any period prescribed thereof)[6].

In Jaypore sugar co. Ltd, v. their employees[7], the settlement was reached by the workers with the management that there shall be no strike till the end of next crushing season. But without giving any notice to terminate, strike was carried on. The labour appellate tribunal held that the settlement is still binding.

In Cochin State Power Light Corporation ltd v. its workmen[8], the employer and employees arrived at a settlement which was to remain in force till 30th September,1959. A charter of demands was presented by the workers on 14th October,1959 by which they resolved to terminate the settlement. It was contended that settlement was not terminated by the prescribed manner in sec.19(2). Court held that the charter is sufficient notice under 19(2).

The settlement arrived by the agreement is binding only on the parties to the dispute whereas settlement arrived in the course of conciliation proceedings is binding not only on the parties but also:
# On all the parties summoned to appear in the proceedings (summoned with proper clause by board, arbitrator, courts and tribunals)
# party referred in cl.(a) and (b) is an employer, his heirs, successors and assignees
# party referred in cl.(a) and (b) is workmen or persons who were employed in or part of the establishment and the persons subsequently employed in the establishment after the date of the dispute.

Thus sec.18(3) of ID Act differs from contract law and lead us towards theory of collective bargaining where the settlement reached by the representative binds the workmen beyond him not only the existing workmen but also the future workmen[9].

ITC Ltd. workers’ welfare association v. mgmt of ITC ltd.[10], decides five important issues connected with the settlement arrived at the course of conciliation proceedings.

The court decided that
i) the industrial tribunal cannot ignore the settlement unless it is found contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Act
ii) the settlement binds on all the workmen despite of any objections
iii) the settlement is presumed to have arrived by just and fair manner
iv) the settlement should be given more weightage with regard to collective bargaining and settlement cannot be ignores unless it is unfair, unjust and malafide
v) the settlement is not liable to be tested on the touchstone of Art.14

Adjudication:
Adjudication means a mandatory settlement of Industrial Disputes by labour courts, Industrial Tribunals or National Tribunals under the Act or by any other corresponding authorities under the analogous state statutes. The ultimate remedy of unsettled dispute is by way of reference by the appropriate government to the adjudicatory machinery for adjudication[11]. The adjudicatory authority resolves the Industrial Dispute referred to it by passing an award, which is binding on the parties to such reference.

There is no provision for appeal against such awards and the same can only be challenged by way of writ under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India before the concerned High Court or before the Supreme Court by way of appeal under special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution of India which have superintending jurisdiction also[12].

This concept of compulsory adjudication was introduced in India by Rule 81-A of the Defence of India Rules. Though it was repealed, it is incorporated in ID Act. Its main aim is to promote industrial peace.

There are three adjudicatory bodies in India as mentioned earlier:

Labour Courts, Industrial Tribunals and National Tribunals. Disputes are generally referred by the appropriate government on the recommendation of conciliation officers. The appeals from the conciliation authorities are generally dealt by these bodies. The system of adjudication is made compulsory as trade unions are weak in India.

It provides for settling disputes related to wages, working hours, holidays, safe conditions of working etc., the general principles of labour adjudication are as follows:
i) The adjudicatory bodies cannot go beyond the scope of the matter referred[13]
ii) The findings must be based only on the relevant and material facts proved in the case[14]
iii) A tribunal cannot avoid or relinquish the jurisdiction[15]
iv) Tribunals are not bound to adjudicate upon when the workers give up their demand as held in Glaxo laboratories Ltd. v. Labour court, Guntur[16].
v) The government has no power to take away the jurisdiction of the labour courts during the pendency of the proceedings as held under Sindri cement factory union v. Dass[17].
vi) The rules of res judicata and estoppel need not necessarily be applied to industrial adjudication as held in Indian general navigation railway co, v. workmen[18].
vii) The tribunals and labour courts have some implied powers under sec.11 A (inserted by 1971 amendment). They can deal with the industrial disputes regarding the dismissal or discharge of workman provided that they rely on the material records and not beyond that.
viii) The rules of natural justice should be strictly followed[19].

Voluntary arbitration:

Arbitration is a process in which the conflicting parties agree to refer their dispute to a neutral third party known as ‘Arbitrator’. Arbitration differs from conciliation in the sense that in arbitration the arbitrator gives his judgment on a dispute while in conciliation, the conciliator disputing parties to reach at a decision[20]. When negotiations fail, the parties opt for voluntary arbitration. The decisions of the arbitrators are binding on the parties. This clause has been inserted into the ID Act by 1956 amendment. Sec. 10A (1) authorizes the parties to make reference to voluntary arbitrator.

The conditions are:
# The industrial dispute must exist or be apprehended
# The agreement must be in writing
Sec.10A (2) (d) requires the arbitration agreement to be in Form C and Rule 7 of ID (Central) Rules, 1957. However, it is enough that the requirements of that form are substantially complied with and it need not be necessarily in the prescribed Form C as held in North Orissa Worker’s Union v. State of Orissa[21]. The agreement should be signed by the parties. Non-compliance of the signature of the parties poses the question of validity of the award. Then such dispute may be referred to the labour courts. Substantial compliance with the rule that ‘the consent of the arbitrators is must’ is required. A copy of the arbitration agreement must be sent to appropriate government under sec.10A (3). Non-submission of the copy would render the award invalid. The government within one month of the receipt of the copy must publish the same in the official gazette.

The supreme court held in Karnal leather Karamchari Sangathan v. Liberty Footwear Co.[22], that the arbitration agreement must be published before an arbitrator considered the merits of the disputes. Non-compliance of this requirement will be fatal to the arbitration award.

Regarding the time limit, Orissa High court[23] held the time limit of one month should be mandatorily followed. The High Courts of Punjab and Haryana[24], Delhi[25], Madhya Pradesh[26] were of opposite view. There is no Supreme Court decision in this regard.
# The reference must be made before a dispute is referred under sec.10 to a labour court or tribunals
# The name of the arbitrator or arbitrators must be specified.

The voluntary arbitrator under ID Act is considered as a statutory arbitrator Rohtas industries v. Rohtas industries Staff Union[27]. Arbitrator is a statutory tribunal and any error on the face of the award is subject to review by the courts. An arbitrator should be impartial and must build confidence among the parties. He or his relatives must not accept any favour from any parties to the dispute which would amount to misconduct as held in National Project Construction Corporation v. their workmen[28]. The arbitrator has the jurisdiction to decide upon all the industrial disputes referred to him under the agreement but he cannot decide matters which are not referred to him by the parties. Though sec.11A did not specifically mention about the arbitrator, he has the power to interfere with the punishment awarded by the management. It was affirmed by Justice Krishna Iyer in Gujarat Steel Tubes Ltd v. Gujarat Steel Tubes Mazdoor Sabha[29].

The arbitrators must sign the award and send it to the appropriate government. Where a reference is made to even number of arbitrators, an umpire shall be appointed whose ‘award’ shall prevail. Such awards can be supervised by the High Court under Art.227 and by the Supreme Court under Art.136 as the 1964 amendment extended the application of ID Act as held in Rohtas industries v. Rohtas industries Staff Union (supra).

The second National commission on Labour felt that the arbitration as a dispute settlement machinery is better than adjudication. Sec.10A (5) excludes the application of Arbitration Act,1940 in the arbitration of industrial disputes.

Chapter III: Authorities under ID Act:

3.1 Non-adjudicatory bodies:

Works committee (sec.3):

In the case of an industrial establishment in which 100 or more workmen are employed on any day in the preceding 12 months, the appropriate Government may require the employer to constitute a 'Works Committee[30]'. It consists of equal number of representatives of employers and workmen engaged in an industry. The representatives of the workmen shall be chosen from amongst the workmen engaged in the establishment and in consultation with the registered trade union, if any (registered under Indian Trade Unions Act,1926)[31].

Works committee deals with the workers problem arising day to day in the industrial establishment. They have been set up to promote amity and good relations between the employer and workmen as given under sec.3(2) of ID Act.

In Kemp & Company Ltd., v. their Workmen[32], that The Works Committees are normally concerned with problems arising in the day to day working of the concern and the functions of the Works Committees are to ascertain the grievances of the employees and when occasion arises to arrive at some agreement also.

The Industrial Disputes (central) Rules, 1957 contemplates several rules from Rule 38 to 57 governing the composition of the works committee. Rule 39 contemplates that the number of representatives of the worker shall not be less than the number of representatives of the employer and the total number should not exceed 20. In terms of the representatives of the employer, they are nominally selected and in respect of the workmen[33], the employer may ask the trade unions to supply him with the list of members[34] and the election is conducted among two groups according to Rule 42:
# Those to be elected by the workmen who are the members of the trade union and
# Those to be elected by the workmen who are not members of the trade union.

The scope of the committee is vague. Apart from dealing with the disputes on terms of employment and conditions of labour, they also deal with technical matters and advise the company about its sale and trade positions.

In M/S. North Brook Jute Co. Ltd v. Their Workmen[35], a rationalisation scheme in the mills of the appellant companies was agreed to by the Works Committee and a notice under S. 9A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, was given to the Union of their workmen. The workmen, however, objected to the introduction of the scheme and the dispute was referred by the Government to the Tribunal. During the pendency of the suit, works committee decided to have a lock-out. Held the lockout as invalid, court ordered for providing compensation to the workmen.

The report of the government of India on the ‘Labour Management Relations’ by ILO in 1959 says that the large number of working committees failed to prove its worth practically. The reasons may be the upperhand of the employers and lack of cooperation and education among the workers.

The first national commission on labour,1969 suggested some methods to have effective functioning of works committee:
# A more responsive attitude on the part of management
# Adequate support from the union
# Proper appreciation of its scope and functions
# Whole hearted implementation of its recommendations
# Proper coordination of bipartite institutions

Conciliation officers (sec.4):

Sec.4 of ID Act, 1947, provides for the appropriate government to appoint such number of persons as conciliation officers for settling the industrial disputes. These officers are appointed for a specified area or for specified industries or for one or more specified industries[36]. Their decisions are not binding on the parties.

There are no qualifications prescribed for the conciliation officers. They are deemed to be public servants under sec.21 of Indian Penal Code[37]. While the Com­missioner /additional commissioner/deputy commissioner is appointed as conciliation officer for undertakings employing 20 or more persons, at the State level, officers from central Labour Commis­sion office are appointed as conciliation officers, in the case of Central government[38]. The conciliation officer enjoys the powers of a civil court.

He is expected to give judgment within 14 days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings. The judgment given by him is binding on the parties to the dispute[39]. He is empowered to enforce the attendance of any person or inspect any documents[40] and to enter the premises of any establishment to which the dispute relates after giving a reasonable notice under s.11(2). Failure to give the notice affects the legality of the proceedings[41].

Section 12 prescribes the duties of Conciliation Officers as below:

# If the employer and the workmen fail to arrive at a settlement through negotiations, The Conciliation Officer may intervene as a mediator, endeavour to reconcile the differences of opinion.

# Intervention by the Conciliation Officer is mandatory in case where an Industrial Dispute has arisen in a Public Utility Service and a notice of strike or lockout (Under Section 22) has been served. Such date is taken as the date of commencement of the proceedings under sec.20(1).

# The Conciliation Officer shall, for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of dispute, without delay, investigate the dispute and may do all such things as he thinks fit for the purpose of inducing the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of the dispute under sec.12(2).

# The Conciliation Officer shall send a report of proceedings to the Government, as to whether the settlement has been achieved or not, within fourteen days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings. If a settlement is arrived at as a result of Conciliation Proceedings a memorandum of settlement is worked out and it becomes binding on all the parties concerned for a period agreed upon as under sec.12(3). If no settlement is arrived at, the Conciliation Officer shall, as soon as practicable after the close of Investigation, send a full report to the government, including the reasons on account of which a settlement could not be reached[42].

In Juggat pharma (P) Ltd v. Deputy Commissioner of labour, Madras[43], where the establishment in Bangalore appointed several sale representatives in Madras and on the termination of the services, the dispute was referred to the commissioner in Madras. The court was held to have jurisdiction irrespective of the fact that the establishment was not situated in Madras.

A writ of mandamus[44] cannot be issued against the conciliation officer asking him to ensure that the settlements are limited as he has is not empowered to adjudicate the proceedings but to simply bring the parties to the consensus. Any such settlement can be enforced only by referring it to the appropriate government under sec.29.

The conciliation proceedings can also be initiated and continued by the legal heirs of the deceased workmen as held in Dhanalakshmi v. Reserve Bank of India, Bombay[45]. After the termination of the proceedings, the appropriate government refers the disputes to the adjudicatory bodies.

Board of conciliation (Sec.5):

Whenever there arises a dispute of complicated nature and requires special handling, the appropriate government constitutes the board of conciliation under sec.5 of ID Act. The Board of Conciliation is not a permanent institution like conciliation officer[46]. It is an adhoc body consisting of a chairman and two or four other members nominated in equal numbers by the parties to the dispute. The Board enjoys the powers of civil court. It follows the same conciliation proceedings as is followed by the conciliation officer.

The Board is expected to give its judgment within two months of the date on which the dispute was referred to it[47]. The appropriate government refers the disputes to the board under sec.10(1) (a). If the chairman of the board is not available, the board cannot function until another member is appointed in his place as specified under sec.5(4).
The inquiry by the board is deemed to be judicial proceeding within the meaning of sec. 193 and 228 of IPC and sec. 345,346,348 of the code of criminal procedure.

The board:
# Can issue notices to the authorities[48] and can handle ex-parte circumstances[49]
# Can keep certain awards confidential[50]
# Can accept admit, accept or call for evidences at any stage[51]
# can conduct the proceedings in camera[52]if required
# should allow the parties to have the right of examination and cross-examination[53]
# should provide the expenses for witnesses as in civil court[54]

The board has the duty to settle the disputes amicably without any delay as under sec.12(1). If the settlement has been arrived, a report along with the memorandum of settlement signed by the parties should be send to the appropriate government under sec.13(1). In case of failure of the settlement, the board should send a full report to the government along with the recommendation for the determination of the dispute under sec.13(3) and the government may refer it to the labour court or tribunals.

The differences between the conciliation officer and the board of conciliation are:
# the former is permanent government machinery of administrative nature and the latter is ad-hoc and judicial in nature
# former can intervene in the disputes without any reference by the government but latter can interfere only when it is referred by the appropriate government.

Court of inquiry (Sec.6):

The concept is borrowed from the British Industrial Courts Act, 1919. The government may constitute a court of inquiry under sec.6(1) of ID Act for the purpose of ‘enquiring into any matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to the industrial dispute’ and submit a report to the government on the basis of inquiry. Such an arrangement is made when the version or contentions of the disputants differ, and the situation requires an investigation for the purpose of finding out the truth. It consists of two or more independent members along with a chairman under sec.6(2). The court has to inquire into matters referred to it by the appropriate government and submit its report within 6 months from the commencement of the inquiry[55]. The report shall be published within 30 days of its receipts.

Adjudicatory bodies:

Labour courts (sec.7):

The appropriate government under sec.7(1) may constitute one or more labour courts. It consists of only one person to be appointed[56] as a presiding officer of the labour court by the appropriate government who has been the judge of the High court or

# has been a district judge or additional district judge for a period of not less than 3 years or

# has held judicial office in India for not less than 7 years or

# has been the presiding officer of the labour court for not less than 5 years

# has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department , having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labour department after having acquired degree in law including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer[57]

# is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade III with three years' experience in the grade[58] under 7(3) of the Act. He shall continue in office provided he is an independent person[59] and has not attained the age of sixty-five years or else he will be disqualified under sec.7-C. the jurisdiction of the court commences by the reference of the dispute to it by the appropriate government under sec.10. Once the labour court is seized of its jurisdiction of the term of order of reference made to it, it cannot be extended by the act of the parties[60].

The labour court has to adjudicate upon industrial disputes specified in second schedule of the act which includes:
# the propriety or legality of any order passed by an employer under Standing Orders
# the application of interpretation of Standing Orders
# Discharge or dismissal of workmen including re-instatement and such other reliefs
# Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege
# Illegality or of strikes or lockouts
# All matters other than those specified in third schedule

And perform such other functions assigned to it under ID Act which includes voluntary reference sec.10(2), arbitration reference sec.10(A) (iii), approval of the action of discharge sec.33, complaints by aggrieved employees sec.33A, application under sec.33-C (2) and reference of awards and settlements under sec.36-A.

In Haryana state co-operative land development Bank v. Neelam[61], where a typist appointed in ad-hoc basis and terminated from her service after 17 months applied to labour court for relief after 7 years from the termination. The labour court denied any relief to the typist and Supreme Court upheld the decision stating that it is relevant to consider the time period. The appeals of the labour courts generally lie to the High Court under Art.226/227.

Industrial Tribunals and National Tribunals (sec.7A and 7B):

The appropriate government may constitute one or more Industrial Tribunals (sec.7A) and National Industrial Tribunals (sec.7B) for the purpose of adjudication of the industrial disputes. These sections are inserted by 1956 amendment. The Industrial tribunal consists of one person who is or has been a judge of the High court or has been a District Judge or Additional District Judge for a period not less than 3 years or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department , having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labour department after having acquired degree in law including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer[62] or is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade III with three years' experience in the grade[63] under sec.7A(3) and National tribunal consists of a person who is or has been a judge of the High court under sec.7B(3). The jurisdiction of the court commences from the reference of the dispute by the appropriate government under sec.10(1) (d). The jurisdiction continues until it makes an award which is enforceable. They have all the powers of a civil court and they may even appoint two assessors to assist the proceedings[64].

Previously, before 1956 amendment, the appeals from the labour courts lie to the state tribunal and then to the tribunal at the centre which was governed by Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act,1950. But after the incorporation of sec.7A and 7B, tribunals have not been given any appellate jurisdiction under ID Act. The jurisdiction is confined only to the disputes that are referred by the appropriate government. But exceptionally in some cases where the state legislations allow for an appeal to the tribunal, it can be permitted.

For instance, the appeal from the Mumbai labour court goes to the Bombay industrial courts under sec.84 and 85 of the Bombay Industrial relations Act,1946 and sec.42 of The Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971.

But nevertheless in such cases, appeals before both the tribunal and courts are valid and if the appeal is done to both of the courts simultaneously, then the court where it was appealed first should be given preference. Similar provisions are present in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh also[65].

In Lipton Ltd v. Workmen[66], court held that the jurisdiction of the Tribunals depends on the fact that the parties reside within the jurisdiction and the subject matter should substantially arise from that area. The tribunals have the power to adjudicate matters specified in second and third schedule and such other matters assigned to it[67].

Matters specified in 3rd schedule are:

# Wages, including the period and mode of payment
# Compensatory and other allowances
# 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
# Rationalisation
# Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment and
# Any other matter that may be prescribed.

Sec.15 of the Act requires the Labour courts and Tribunals to hold their proceedings expeditiously and shall submit the award to the appropriate government within the prescribed time in the order of reference or within the period mentioned in sec.10(2A). The procedure for notices, summons, hearing, inspection are provided under Rules 9 to 30 of ID (Central) Rules,1957 in which case the application of the code of civil procedure is relaxed to some extent. And these adjudicatory bodies need not strictly follow the rule of evidence under Indian Evidence Act[68]. The difference between the ordinary courts of law and these adjudicatory bodies is that there are pre-existing laws with applicability in the relevant cases which is absent in the latter[69].

They are mostly Quasi-judicial in nature and are bound to follow the natural justice principles except for the purposes of sec.193 and 228 of IPC and they are of civil nature except for the purposes of sec.480 and 482 of Cr.P.C. The tribunals adopt the adversary system in contradiction to the inquisitorial system.

In Graphite India Ltd. v. State of West Bengal[70], the Enquiry officer relying only on the evidence of one party made the respondent guilty of misconduct. The High Court held that the principles of natural justice (audi-alteram partem) were not followed in the departmental enquiry and charge was considered to be invalid.

The power of the labour courts and tribunals has been enlarged under sec.11A where the authorities are empowered to decide the adequacy of punishment or can pass any order for re-instatement. The appeal lies to High court or Supreme court as mentioned in the adjudication paragraph (supra p.11)

Chapter IV: Critical analysis of dispute settlement machinery

Industrial disputes and individual disputes:

Certain conditions have to be fulfilled for the dispute to be referred by the appropriate government to the dispute settling authorities.
# The management involved in the dispute should be an industry under sec.2(j) which defines ‘industry’ as ‘any business, trade, undertaking, manufacture or calling of employers and includes any calling, service, employment, handicraft or industrial occupation or avocation of workmen’.

This definition is inclusive in nature and not exhaustive. To be called as an industry at present, it should comply with the three principles stated in Bangalore water supply case[71].
1. There is systematic activity with the cooperation between the employer and employees for the production and distribution of goods and services calculated to satisfy the human wants and wishes
2. Absence of profit motive or gainful object is irrelevant and
3. The true focus is functional and the decisive test is the nature of the activity with special emphasis on the employer-employee relationship.
But still many of the jurists were of the opinion that these principles need to be reexamined.

# The dispute referred should come within the purview of ‘industrial dispute’ under sec.2(k) where the dispute should be between the employer and employer, employer and workmen and between workmen and workmen connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour, of any person.
The dispute between employer and a workman becomes industrial dispute only when the cause of the workman is supported by the union or substantial number of workmen. Otherwise it cannot be called as industrial dispute but those disputes come under sec.2A as individual dispute.

Where the dispute is connected with the discharge, dismissal or termination of service of a workman, is deemed to be an industrial dispute despite the union or workmen not supporting his cause. Such disputes can be referred to the conciliation officers and on the expiry of 45 days after applying to conciliation officer, the workman shall make an application to the labour court or tribunal[72] directly but before the expiry of 3 years[73] after the date of such discharge, dismissal or termination of service. And the court or the tribunal should treat that application in the same way as referred by the appropriate government and apply the provisions of ID Act. These privileges were included in 2010 amendment.

Grievance redressal machinery:

Grievance redressal machinery is constituted to address the grievances of the individual workman and make the solution readily accessible for him. This is an alternative to the adjudication process which renders quick remedy to the aggrieved one. This concept is incorporated by 2010 amendment in ID Act.The government under sec.9C mandates any industrial establishment employing 20 or more workmen to have one or more grievance redressal committees to solve the industrial disputes under clause (1). The Grievance Redressal Committee shall consist of equal number of members from the employer and the workmen[74] and such members cannot exceed 6 and for every two members there must be one woman member and may be increased proportionately[75]. The chairperson of the Grievance Redressal Committee shall be selected from the employer and from among the workmen alternatively on rotation basis every year[76]. This setup will not affect the right of the workman to raise any industrial dispute[77] and the committee completes its proceedings in 45 days[78] and the appeal goes to the employer[79].

ILO conventions regarding dispute settlement:

There are several conventions and recommendations of ILO relating to the dispute settlement namely,
# Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
# Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
# Workers’ Representatives Convention,1971 (No. 135)
# Voluntary Conciliation & Arbitration Recommendation, 1951 (No. 92)
# The examination of grievances Recommendation,1967 (No.130)
# Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention, 1978 (No. 151)
# Labour Relations (Public Service) Recommendation, 1978 (No. 159)
# Collective Bargaining Convention, 1981 (No. 154)
# Collective Bargaining Recommendation,1981 (No. 163)
# The Employment policy convention, 1964 (No.122)

But unfortunately none of the conventions are ratified by India except the last one and so they don’t have any effect and cannot be enforced in India. Convention no.122 which mandates the setup of grievance mechanism is ratified by India the result of which sec.9C was inserted in ID Act by 2010 amendment.

Various reliefs provided by the authorities:

The reliefs provided by authorities are through settlement or awards. We have discussed about the settlement by conciliation authorities. Award as defined under 2(b) an interim or a final determination of any industrial dispute or any question relating to labour court or the tribunals and also includes an arbitration award under sec.10A. It includes an interim award also. The language of the award should be in accordance with the judicial interpretation[80]. The award must be signed by the presiding officer or the arbitrators as the case may be under sec.16 else it would be held void. Sec. 15 requires the award to be submitted to the appropriate government. Sec.17 (1) mandates the publication of the award by the appropriate government. The award may operate from the date specified or where no date specified, the date on which it becomes enforceable[81]. The tribunal has the power to decide the date on which the benefits can be granted. The award becomes enforceable after the expiry of 30 days from the date of its publication. And the award ceases to operate after the expiry of 1 year from the date of enforcement[82] but this period can be extended or curtailed by the government. The award can be executed as that of the civil court under Order 21 of CPC.

Non-statutory machineries:

There are several machineries which are not recommended by the statutes. They are Joint management council: it was emphasized in the government industrial policy resolution,1956 . It came into force after the submission of report by Indian Labour conference in 1957. It composes of equal representatives of labour and management. It assists the management regarding standing orders, retrenchment, closure, rationalization etc. Out of 48 units(32 private and 16 public sector companies) selected by the sub-committee of ILC , it was successfully established only in 24 industries. By the end of 1974, it was setup in 80 establishments.

Tripartite consultative machinery: The Indian Labour conference (ILC), Industrial Committee and Standing Labour committee (SLC) are tripartite in character consisting of representatives of the central and state governments, employers and workers. These bodies are expected to ensure equal representation of the employers and workers, and the representatives of the government being equal to those of the employers and workers taken together just like International Labour Conference and the Governing Body of ILO[83].

Code of discipline: The Code of Discipline, as drafted by a tripartite sub-committee appointed by ILC in 1957 and modified by the SLC was unanimously adopted by the ILC at its 16th session held in May1958[84]. The Code is also applicable to public sector undertakings run as companies and corporations except those under the Ministry of Defence, Railways , and Ports. It has been evolved to ensure better discipline in industry and create awareness about the labour rights.

The Second National Commission on labour recommended for the setting up of Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) at the centre and the state under Art.323A and B which would involve in conciliation, adjudication of the industrial disputes and recognition of bargaining councils. IRC setup is on the permanent basis giving it a constitutional recognition unlike the tribunals under the statutes. The appeal from IRC’s would lie only to the Supreme Court.

But so far, there have been no efforts by the government for setting up such a tribunal. The difference between the proposed IRC and the existing industrial tribunals is that the former is constitutional body on permanent basis which would constitute with judicial and non-judicial members if formed and the latter is the statutory body. And IRC’s if constituted would have separate wings that provides for arbitration, conciliation and adjudication.

List of cases
· Aftab-e-jadid,Urdu Daily Newspapers v. Bhopal Shramjivi Patrakar Sangh, (1985) 1 LLJ 272
· Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board v. Rajappa, (1978) I LLJ 349 (SC)
· Bata shoe co. Ltd v. Ganguli, AIR 1961 SC 1158
· Burn & co. v. employees, (1957) 1 LLJ 226 (SC)
· Cochin state power light corporation ltd v. its workmen, (1964) 2 LLJ 100 (SC)
· Delhi cloth general mills v. their workmen, (1967) II LLJ 523 (SC)
· Dhanalakshmi v. Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, (1999) LLR 278
· Glaxo laboratories Ltd. v. Labour court, Guntur, 1977 Lab IC 1523 AP
· Graphite India Ltd. v. State of West Bengal, 1979 Lab IC 1279 (Cal)
· Gujarat Steel Tubes Ltd v. Gujarat Steel Tubes Mazdoor Sabha, (1980) 1 LLJ 137
· Haryana state co-operative land development Bank v. Neelam, (2005) 1 LLJ 1153 (SC)
· Indian general navigation railway co, v. workmen, (1960) 1 LLJ 13 (SC)
· ITC Ltd. workers’ welfare association v. mgmt of ITC ltd, (2000) 1 SCC 371
· Jaypore sugar co. Ltd, v. their employees, (1995) 2 LLJ 444 (LAT)
· Juggat pharma (P) Ltd v. Deputy Commissioner of labour, Madras, (1982) 2 LLJ 71
· Karnal leather Karamchari Sangathan v. Liberty Footwear Co., (1989) 2 LLJ 550 (SC).
· Kathayee cotton mills Ltd. v. District Labour Officer, (1988) 1 LLJ 417
· Kemp & Company Ltd., v. their Workmen, (1955) II LLJ 481 Mad
· Landra Engineering and Foundary workers v. Punjab state, (1969) Lab IC 196
· Lipton Ltd v. Workmen, (1959) 1 LLJ 431 (SC)
· M/S. North Brook Jute Co. Ltd v. Their Workmen, AIR 1960 SC 879
· Management of KSRTC v. KSRTC staff and workers federation, (1999) 1 LLJ 489 (SC)
· Mineral Industrial Association v. Union of India, (1971) Lab IC 837
· Modern stores Cigarettes v. Krishnadas Shah, (1970) Lab IC 196,
· National Project Construction Corporation v. their workmen, (1960) Lab IC 907 (Patna)
· North Orissa Worker’s Union v. State of Orissa, (1971) LLJ 199 (Orissa)
· Oil India ltd. v. G.N.Borah and others, 1977 Lab IC 1610 (Cal)
· Punjab National bank v. workmen, AIR 1960 SC 160
· Pure drinks pvt ltd. v. Kirat singh, (1961) 2 LLJ 99
· Rohtas industries v. Rohtas industries Staff Union, AIR 1967 Pat 149
· Sindri cement factory union v. Dass, 1977 Lab IC 1801 (Pat)
· State of Bihar v. Kripa shanker Jaiswal, AIR 1961 SC 304
· Union of India v. T.R.Verma, AIR 1957 SC 832
· Virudhachalam P. v. Mgmt of Lotus mills, AIR 1998 SC 554
· Working Journalists, Hindu v. The Hindu, (1961) 1 LLJ 282 (Mad).
· Workmen of Buckingham and carnatic mills v. State of Tamilnadu, (1982) 2 LLJ 90
· Workmen of Dahingeapara tea estate v. Dahingeapara tea estate, AIR 1958 SC 1026
· Workmen of industry colliery v. its colliery, (1953) 1 LLJ 190 (SC)

List of Acts and abbreviations
· AIR-All India Report
· Cal- Calcutta
· CPC-Civil Procedure Code
· Cr.P.C-Criminal Procedure Code
· ID (Central) Rules-Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules,1957
· ID Act-Industrial Disputes Act,1947
· IPC-Indian Penal Code
· LLJ-Labour Law Journal
· Mad-Madras
· Pat-Patna
· SCC-Supreme Court Cases
· SC-Supreme Court
· Sec.-section

End-Notes
[1] See generally S.C.Srivastava, Industrial relations and labour laws, 275,276(6th Edition,2013), Vikas Publishing house Pvt. Ltd, Noida.
[2] See sec.22(1) (d) of ID Act. see also sec.22(2) (d) and 33 of ID Act
[3] See Workmen of industry colliery v. its colliery, (1953) 1 LLJ 190 (SC)
[4] See Bata shoe co. Ltd v. Ganguli, AIR 1961 SC 1158
[5] See Sec.19 (1) of ID Act
[6] See Sec.19(2) of ID Act
[7] See(1995) 2 LLJ 444 (LAT)
[8] See (1964) 2 LLJ 100 (SC), See also management of KSRTC v. KSRTC staff and workers federation, (1999) 1 LLJ 489 (SC)
[9] See Virudhachalam P. v. Mgmt of Lotus mills, AIR 1998 SC 554
[10] See (2000) 1 SCC 371
[11] See generally Lalit Bhasin, India: Labour And Employment Laws Of India, mondaq, http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/50440/employee+rights+labour+relations/Labour+And+Employment+Laws+Of+India (last visited Sep.30,2015, (N.T.M.))
[12] ibid
[13]See Delhi cloth general mills v. their workmen, (1967) II LLJ 523 (SC)
[14] see Workmen of Dahingeapara tea estate v. Dahingeapara tea estate, AIR 1958 SC 1026
[15] See Oil India ltd. v. G.N.Borah and others, 1977 Lab IC 1610 (Cal)
[16] See 1977 Lab IC 1523 AP
[17] See 1977 Lab IC 1801 (Pat)
[18] See (1960) 1 LLJ 13 (SC) Compare…with… Burn & co. v. employees, (1957) 1 LLJ 226 (SC)
[19] See Punjab National bank v. workmen, AIR 1960 SC 160
[20] See generally Admin, Difference Between Arbitration and Conciliation, Difference between.com, http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-arbitration-and-vs-conciliation/ (last visited oct.1,2015, (N.T.M.))
[21] See (1971) LLJ 199 (Orissa)
[22] See (1989) 2 LLJ 550 (SC). See also Kathayee cotton mills Ltd. v. District Labour Officer, (1988) 1 LLJ 417
[23] See North Orissa Worker’s Union v. State of Orissa (supra)
[24] See Landra Engineering and Foundary workers v. Punjab state, (1969) Lab IC 196
[25] See Mineral Industrial Association v. Union of India, (1971) Lab IC 837
[26] See Modern stores Cigarettes v. Krishnadas Shah, (1970) Lab IC 196, See also Aftab-e-jadid,Urdu Daily Newspapers v. Bhopal Shramjivi Patrakar Sangh, (1985) 1 LLJ 272
[27] See AIR 1967 Pat 149
[28] See (1960) Lab IC 907 (Patna)
[29] See (1980) 1 LLJ 137
[30] See Sec.3(1) of Industrial Disputes Act,1947
[31] see The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, what is human resource.com, (2014), http://www.whatishumanresource.com/the-industrial-disputes-act-1947 (last visited Oct.1, 2015, (N.T.M.))
[32] See (1955) II LLJ 481 Mad
[33] See Rule 40 of ID (central) rules,1957
[34] See Rule 41 of ID (central) rules,1957
[35] See AIR 1960 SC 879
[36]See Sec.4(2) of ID Act

Written by: Pushpender

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