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Industrial and National Tribunal

What is Industrial Law?

Industrial Law relates to the laws governing industrial enterprises. These can include a wide range of legal topics, from employment laws to environmental concerns, contracts, industrial relations, and worker safety regulations. Industries vary widely and the policies for each is as unique as the business to which it relates.

Employment and Labor Issues

Employment and labor laws are relevant to any commercial enterprise, and industry is no exception. Indeed, industrialization led not only to the modern conveniences of our technological age, but also the rise of organized labor unions. Employment and labor issues in industrial enterprises are particularly important, given the often hazardous nature of the work.

Industrial Accidents

Another major area of concern to industrial laws is accidents. Industrial workplaces vary widely depending on industry and purpose, from the clean rooms of high-tech manufacturing, to the often dangerous and noisy welding floors of heavy industry. Factories, warehouses, chemical plants, refineries, and many other facilities may also be considered industrial workplaces.

Common industrial accidents include forklift accidents, falling objects, slips, trips, and falls, machinery or equipment injuries, explosions or blast injuries, and chemical burns or inhalation. Industrial accident injuries can often be more severe than other workplace injuries given the nature of the work. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that two out of every 1,000 industrial workers will lose their life from a workplace accident. As a result, personal injury laws are a major area of practice related to industrial laws.

OSHA Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) monitors workplace safety conditions, including in the industrial sector. According to OSHA, many of the top violations resulting in citations are given to industrial workplaces. Common problems include communication hazards, lack of respiratory protection, poor electrical design, inadequate or disabled machine guards, and improper or unlicensed use of powered industrial trucks.

A brief overview of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

The Industrial Disputes Act has come into force in the year, 1947. The Act was enacted to make provisions for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes and for providing certain safeguards to the workers. The act aims to minimise the conflicts between labour and management by ensuring possible economic and social justice. The regulations made under this act apply to the entire constitution of India.

Objectives of the Industrial Disputes Act

The objectives of the Industrial Disputes Act are as follows:
To support measures for securing and preserving good relations between employers and employees.
To provide suitable machinery for the equitable and peaceful settlement of industrial disputes.
To prevent illegal strikes and lockouts.
To afford relief to workers against layoffs, retrenchment, wrongful dismissal and victimisation.
To promote collective bargaining.
To improve the conditions of workers.
To avoid unfair labour practices.
2.2 Features of the Act
The features of the Industrial Disputes Act are listed out.
The act applies to entire India also includes the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
It favours arbitration over the disputes between employers and workers.
It affords for setting up of works committees as machinery for mutual discussion between employers and workers to promote friendly relation.
The act paved the way for creating permanent conciliation machinery at various stages having definite time limits for conciliation and arbitration.
This act emphasis on compulsory adjudication apart from the conciliation and voluntary arbitration of Industrial Disputes.

Industrial Tribunal

Industrial Tribunal [Sec. 7A]: The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any matter, whether specified in the Second Schedule or the Third Schedule and for performing such other functions as may be assigned to them under this Act.

SECOND SCHEDULE
1. The propriety or legality of an order passed by an employer under the standing orders;
2. The application and interpretation of standing orders;
3. Discharge or dismissal of workmen including reinstatement of, or grant of relief to, workmen wrongfully dismissed;
4. Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege;
5. Illegality or otherwise of a strike or lock-out; and

THIRD SCHEDULE
1. Wages, including the period and mode of payment;
2. Compensatory and other allowances;
3. Hours of work and rest intervals;
4. Leave with wages and holidays;
5. Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity;
6. Shift working otherwise than in accordance with standing orders;
7. Classification by grades;
8. Rules of discipline;
9. Rationalisation;
10. Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment; and
11. Any other matter that may be prescribed.

According to [Sec 10 (2)] when parties in the industrial dispute apply to the government to refer dispute to the industrial tribunal and if government satisfies it shall make the reference to the industrial tribunal.

According to [Sec 10 (6)] no Labour Court or Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon any matter which is under adjudication before the National Tribunal.

A Tribunal consists of one person only.

For appointment as the presiding officer of a Tribunal
# he is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or
# he has, for a period of not less than 3 years, been a District Judge or an Additional District Judge;
# he is or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department, having a degree in law and at 7 seven years’ experience in the labour department after having acquired degree in law including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer:

Provided that no such Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner or Joint Labour Commissioner shall be appointed unless he resigns from the service of the Central Government or State Government, as the case may he, before being appointed as the presiding officer; or he is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade III with three years’ experience in the grade.”

Role of Industrial Tribunal

The Industrial Tribunal is a juridical Tribunal made up of a Chairman and two members (one representing Workers’ interests and the other Employers’ interests) drawn up from separate panels in the case of an Industrial Dispute whilst of a chairman alone in the case of alleged unfair dismissal. It is regulated by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act 2002 (Cap 452).

The tribunal hears disputes in the public but it may hold private sittings. Statements of Cases are asked of the parties who are then given an opportunity to support their cases by oral pleading.

Subject to the rules laid down under the Act, the Tribunal is free to regulate its own procedures but it is expected to observe the rules of natural justice and to decide on the substantive merits of the case in front of it.

Awards or decisions are binding on both parties. The parties are not free unilaterally to seek a revision within a year. They may however ask for an interpretation if the need arises.

Enforcement of the Tribunal’s decisions vests in the Tribunal itself. The minister is empowered to ask the tribunal for advice in regard to matters relating to Trade Disputes.

In cases of unfair dismissal the Tribunal may order re-instatement of the employee or award compensation.

In its awards the Tribunal is expected to refrain from any decision or consistent with any law or regulation regarding Conditions of Employment. The Tribunal is forbidden from encroaching upon the Public Service Commission.

No application fee or court fees are payable. The only real expenses are the transcripts which are obtained at a reasonable fee from the Law Courts transcribes, and the fee due to the person assisting the applicant. These fees are stipulated by L.N. 48 of 1986 - Representation Fees Regulations.

The Tribunal Office is housed at the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations and sittings are held at the Superior Courts.

Presenting a case to the Industrial Tribunal

A case before the Tribunal must be presented by means of a referral in writing consisting of a declaration stating the facts of the case. The referral must be presented in the Registry of the Tribunal at the Maltese Law Courts within four months from the effective date of the alleged breach.
# Ultratech Cement Limited, vs Industrial Tribunal-Cum-Labour on 8 March, 2016
# State Of Rajasthan And Ors. vs Harish Chandra Sharma And Ors. on 20 July, 2006

National Tribunal

National Tribunal [Sec. 7 (B)]: The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more National Industrial Tribunals. Its main function is the adjudication of industrial disputes which involve questions of national importance or affecting the interest of two or more States.

According to [Sec 10 (1-A)] dispute involves any question of national importance or is of such a nature that industrial establishments situated in more than one State, whether it relates to any matter specified in the Second Schedule or the Third Schedule, the government will order in writing refer to National Tribunal for adjudication.

According to [Sec 10 (2)] when parties in the industrial dispute apply to the government to refer dispute to the National Tribunal and if government satisfies it shall make the reference to the National Tribunal.

The Central Government shall appoint a National Tribunal consisting of one person only.
# A person to be appointed a presiding officer of a National Tribunal must be, or
# must have been, a judge of a High Court or
# must have held the office of the chairman or
# any other member of the Labour Appellate Tribunal for a period of not less than two years.
The Central Government may appoint two persons as assessors to advise the National Tribunal.

Role of National Tribunal

Central government may, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute one or more National Tribunals for the adjudication of Industrial Disputes in:
# National matters.
# Matters in which industries are more than one state, or are affected by the outcome of the dispute.
# The duty of the National Tribunal to hold its proceedings fast and submit its report to the central government within the specified time given

Cases related to National Tribunal

# The Indian Bank Ltd. vs The Industrial Tribunal And Ors. on 18 January, 1963

Written by: Rupali Yadav - KRMU
Email: [email protected]

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