Labour is a subject in the Concurrent Listunder the Constitution of India
where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislation subject, however, to reservation of certain matters for the Central Government.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment seeks to protect and safeguard the
interests of workers in general and those who constitute the poor, deprived and
disadvantaged sections of the society, in particular, with due regard to
creating a healthy work environment for higher production and productivity, and
developing and coordinating vocational skill training and employment services.
Government's attention is also focused on promotion of welfare activities and
providing social security to the labour force both in the organised and
unorganised sectors, in tandem with the process of liberalisation. These
objectives are sought to be achieved through enactment and implementation of
various labour laws, which regulate the terms and conditions of service and
employment of workers.
What is an Industrial Dispute?
The following are the thrust areas of the Government concerning labour laws:
3. What is an Industrial Dispute?
# Labour policy and legislation;
# Safety, health and welfare of labour;
# Social security of labour;
# Policy relating to special target groups such as women and child labour;
# Industrial relations and enforcement of labour laws in the central
# Adjudication of industrial disputes through Central Government
Industrial Tribunals-cum-Labour Courts and National Industrial Tribunals;
# Workers' education;
# Labour and employment statistics;
# Emigration of labour for employment abroad;
# Employment services and vocational training;
# Administration of central labour and employment services; and
# International cooperation in labour and employment matters.
India has a number of labour laws that govern almost all the aspects of
employment such as payment of wages, minimum wages, payment of bonus, payment of
gratuity, contributions to provident fund and pension fund, working conditions,
accident compensations, etc. The Government has enacted certain central
legislations, viz, the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions
Act, Employees State Insurance Act, Payment of Wages Act, Minimum Wages Act,
Equal Remuneration Act, Maternity Benefits Act, etc.
In addition, at the State level, the State Governments usually have a separate
Labour Ministry, which seeks to ensure compliance with State labour laws (viz,
State Shops and Establishments Act, Labour Welfare Fund Act, etc) through its
Labour Department, which is generally operational at the district level.
The law relating to labour and employment in India is primarily known under the
broad category of Industrial Law
. Industrial law in this country is
of recent vintage and has developed in respect to the vastly increased awakening
of the workers of their rights, particularly after the advent of Independence.
Industrial relations embrace a complex of relationships between the workers,
employers and government, basically concerned with the determination of the
terms of employment and conditions of labour of the workersTo settle the
Industrial disputes, the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 provides three kinds of
Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal and National Tribunal or National
The appropriate government may constitute one or more labor
Courts for the purpose of adjudicating on the matter referred to it. The ID Act
provides for the appointment of Conciliation Officers, Board of Conciliation,
Courts of Inquiry, Labour Courts, Tribunals, and National Tribunals for
settlement of disputes. Another method recognised for settlement of disputes is
through arbitration. The Industrial disputes Act provides a legalistic way of
The goal of preventive machinery as provided under the Act is
to create an environment where the disputes do not arise at all. The ID Act
prohibits unfair labour practices which are defined in the Fifth Schedule strikes and lockouts (except under certain defined conditions and with proper
notice). It also provides for penalties for illegal strikes and lockouts and
unfair labour practices and provisions regarding lay off and retrenchment as
well as compensation payable thereof.
What is an Industrial Dispute?
3. What is an Industrial Dispute?
According to Section 2A:
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.
Industrial Disputes have adverse effects on industrial production, efficiency,
costs, quality, human satisfaction, discipline, technological and economic
progress and finally on the welfare of the society. A discontent labour force,
nursing in its heart mute grievances and resentments, cannot be efficient and
will not possess a high degree of industrial morale. Hence, the Industrial
Dispute Act of 1947, was passed as a preventive and curative measure.
Individual workmen raises Industrial dispute Under Section7 of Industria Dispute
Act 1947 . Which says:
The appropriate government is empowered to establish one or more Labor Courts.
Its function is to settle industrial disputes concerning any matter specified in
the second schedule.
Qualification for the appointment of a Presiding Officer of the Court
(i) He is or has been a judge of high court
(ii) He has for a period of not less than 3 years, been a district judge or an
(iii) He has held any judicial office in India for not less than 7 years
(iv) He has been the presiding officer of labor Court constituted under any
Provision Act for not less than 5 years
Section 7-C of the Industrial Dispute Act,1947 prescribes
Disqualifications for the presiding officer to be appointed to the Labor Court.
It provides that no person shall be appointed to or continue in office if:
(a) He is not an independent person; or
(b) he has attained the age of 65 years
Matters within The Jurisdiction of Labour courtSecond Schedule
1. The propriety or legality of an order passed by an employer under the
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
According to [Sec 10 (1) (c)] matters specified in THIRD SCHEDULE,
dispute not effecting more than 100 workers can be referred to labour court.
According to [Sec 10 (2)] when parties in the industrial dispute apply to the
government to refer dispute to the labour court and if government satisfies it
shall make the reference to the labour courts.
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
Power and status of the labour court in trying offences
Section 215 and 216 of the code provides the procedure and powers of labour
court which is may be of two types;
Power and status in trying offences and
Power and status in civil maters
(a) The labour court shall follow as nearly as possible summary procedure as
prescribed under the code of criminal procedure 1898 (Act V of 1898)
(b) A labour court shall for the purpose of trying an offence under the code
have the same powers as are vested in the court of a magistrate of the first
class under the code of criminal procedure.
(c) The labour court shall for the purpose of inflicting punishment have
the same powers as are vested in Court of Session under that code.
(d) A labour court shall while trying an offence hear the case without the
What is an Industrial Dispute?
3. What is an Industrial Dispute?
Labour court is a civil court
In the case of Pubali Bank V the Chairman
1st labour court 44DLR(AD)40 the
question was raised whether a labour court is a civil court or not their.
1. Md. Abdul Halim, The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006,CCB Foundation, Ed.1, p.282
the appellate division upon consideration of relevant provision of the
industrial relations ordinance 1969 held that the labour court acts as civil
court for limited purpose but not a civil court at all it is only by a legal
fiction or a statutory hypothesis that it is to be treated as a civil court.
Duties of Labour Court:
Labour Court shall hold its proceedings within
the specified period and shall submit its award to the Government. Such award
must be in writing and signed by the presiding officer.
The Labour Court
has the same power of a Civil Court. The proceeding of the Labour Court shall
not be questioned on the ground that it is not properly constituted
Functions of the Labour Court:
The functions of the Labor Court are laid down in
Section 7 of the said Act.
(I) Adjudicating upon industrial dispute specified in the second schedule of
the said Act; are as follows
(1) The propriety or legality of any order passed by an employer under the
(2) The application and interpretation of the Standing Orders
(3) Discharge or dismissal of the workman including reinstatement of, or grant
of relief to, the workman wrongfully dismissed;
(4) Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege
(5) Illegality or otherwise of a strike or Lockout; and
(6)All matters other than those specified in the Third Schedule which fall
within the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunal.
(II) Performing such other functions as may be assigned to it under the
Industrial Dispute Act, 1947
The Other matters assignable on the Labor Court are:
(1) Voluntarily reference of dispute by written agreements between the parties
under Section 10A;
(2).Arbitration reference under Section 10A;
(3) Permission to or approval of the action of discharge under Section 33;
(4) Complaint by the aggrieved employees under Section 33A;
(5) Application under Section 33(c)2A for the computation of any money or any
benefit which is capable of being computed in the terms of money.
(6) Reference of awards or settlement for the interpretation in case of
difficulty or doubt under Section 36AA
Procedure and Powers of Labour court(a) While trying offences
While trying an offence, a labour court shall follow as nearly as possible
summary procedure as provided under Cr.P.C, and shall have the same powers as
are versed in the court of a magistrate of first class specially empowered u/sec
30 of Cr.P.C.
(b) While adjudicating industrial dispute
For the purpose of adjudicating and determining any industrial dispute, a labour
court shall be deemed to be a civil court and follow the procedure as provided
under C.P.C and shall have the same powers as are vested in such court under
C.P.C. Following are the powers of labour court.
i. To Grant Relief
Labour court can grant full and final relief to the aggrieved party.
ii. To Grant interim Relief
Labour court is also competent to grant ad-interim relief under its inherent
iii. To grant Adjournment
Labour court has the power to grant adjournments if just cause to shown.
iv. To enforce attendance of any Person
Labour court can enforce the attendance of any person which is necessary for
deciding the matter before it and this it can done so by issuing summons,
v. Power to Examiner
Labour court can examine any person on oath.
vi. To compel Production of Documents etc
Labour court can compel the production of documents and material objects,
necessary for deciding the matter in questions.
vii. To issue commissions
Labour court has the power to issue commissions for the examination of witnesses
viii. Ex-part Proceedings
Labour court has the power to proceeding ex-parte, where the party failed to
appear before it.
ix. to determine Grievance of workmen
Labour court may determine the grievance of workmen and in doing so, it shall go
into all the fact of the case and pass such order as may be just and proper in
the circumstances of the case.
c. While trying cases of Rights Given under special Acts
Where the special acts confer on litigants certain rights but the power to
decide, try or adjudicate the case in conferred on the labour court established
under PIRA 2010 and no procedure is prescribed, labour courts can apply their
Territorial Jurisdiction of Labour Court
Assumption of jurisdiction by labour court without deciding objection to
territorial jurisdiction was unwarranted unless it had necessary territorial
jurisdiction, its order was bound to be without lawful authority.
Exemption from court fee
No court fees are payable for filing, exhibiting or recording any document in or
obtaining any document from labour court.
10. Withdrawal of case
Where the matter has resolved the parties amicable before a final order is
passed by the labour court, the labour court may allow withdrawal of such case
if there are sufficient grounds for such withdrawal.
Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts (CGITs)
1. Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts (CGIT-cum-LCs) are
set up under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 for adjudication of
industrial disputes arising in Central Sphere. There are 22 CGIT-cum-LCs set up
in various States, out of which 10 are under Non-Plan and 12 under Plan Scheme.
The CGIT-cum-LC No.1, Mumbai and CGIT-cum-LC, Kolkata also function as National
Tribunals. These CGIT-cum-LCs are headed by Presiding Officers who are selected
from amongst High Court Judges (serving/retired) or Distt./Addl. Distt. Judges
2. The CGIT-cum-LCs have been set up with the objective of maintaining peace and
harmony in the industrial sector by quick and timely disposal of industrial
disputes through adjudication so that industrial growth does not suffer on
account of any widespread industrial unrest. Moreover, due to increasing
awareness about their rights and Labour laws among the workers, there is a
gradual increase in the number of cases being filed under the I.D.Act before the
CGIT-cum-LCs. Restructuring of workforce on account of application of latest
technology in the industries has also resulted in retrenchment, declaration of
surplus etc. which has further led to an increase in workers grievances.
To conclude, I can say, that the labour court is a judicial forum to resolve the
disputes between employers and workmen. It has two-fold jurisdiction viz civil
and as well as criminal, nut it is not subordinate to the high court and Article
201 of the constitution of Pakistan, 1973 does not apply to it. The labour court
is left with the owner discretion to decide what is just and fair in the
circumstances of each case, having regard to equity, fairness and social
Written by: Nikita Sharma
(Student), K.R. Mangalam University ,Harayana
Ph no: 805230002, Email Id:[email protected]