Decided on March 21,1974



- (1.) DESPITE the elaborate ground covered by the Tribunal and the elaborate arguments advanced before us, we think the main question for determination in these writ petitions falls in a narrow compass. Two Industrial Disputes, I. D. 31 of 1967 and I. D. 1 of 1969 were referred to the Industrial Tribunal, Calicut for adjudication. The Disputes were between the Gwalior Rayons Silk Manufacturing (Weaving) Co. Ltd. , Mavoor (referred to, for short as the company) and the Gwalior Rayon Pulp Factory Employees' Union, Mavoor. In I. D. 31 of 1967, the disputes referred, were: Payment of bonus for the year 1965-66. 2. Payment of D. A, linked with cost of living index. 3. Confirmation of staff: 4. Fixation of pay scales of the following staff: (a) Plantation Officers (b) Supervisors (c) Assistant Supervisors (d) Watchmen (e) Drivers (f) Clerical staff. 5. Other amenities In I. D. 1 of 1969, the disputes referred, were: 1. Production bonus for 1966-67 and 1967. 68 to staff. 2. Reinstatement of Shri K. V. Showkat Ali. The two references were heard and disposed of together by a common order (copy Ext. P 1 ). Item 2 in I. D. 1 of 1969 was not pressed and was withdrawn ; so was item 3 in ID. 31 of 1967. The rest of the items in both disputes were pressed and were found against the management. The company has filed O. P. 1957 of 1972 ; and the Employees' Union has filed O. P. 2885 of 1972. We shall first deal with the company's Writ Petition O. P. 1957 of 1972.
(2.) THE company is having a number of undertakings in several States in this country. It established its Rayon-grade Pulp plant which commenced production in the early months of the first half of 1963. The raw material, mainly bamboo, and, to some extent certain other species of wood, were being obtained from Government reserve forests in Kerala, Mysore and Tamil Nadu, and from the private forests of this State as defined in Madras Preservation of Forests Act. This last framed category has now been brought under State ownership, by the Kerala Act 26 of 1971. Difficulty was experienced by the company in procuring raw materials in sufficient quantity for its pulp industry. The State Government which had covenanted to supply to the company a fixed quantity of bamboo as per agreement, dated 3-5-I958 was also experiencing difficulty in continuing the supply. The company was, therefore, advised, to acquire its own plantation area for development of a plantation, of fast growing species of pulp wood, like eucalyptus, which would, in due course, take the place of the raw materials needed for the pulp division, In pursuance of this, thirty thousand acres of private forests belonging to the Nilamboor, Kovilakam were purchased by the company at a cost of rupees seventy-five lakhs by agreement, dated 1-6-1965 between the petitioner and the Kovilakam receivers with Government sanction. The Government also entered into a separate agreement with the company on 14-7-1965, proportionately reducing their contractual obligation to supply raw materials to the petitioner. It is the petitioner's case that the Plantation Division came into existence, at the earliest, only on 19-41966 when the working plan was approved by the Government. The company would claim that the staff engaged in the Plantation Division were exclusively for the purposes of the plantation and for the silvi cultural operations according to the approved working plan. The employees in the Plantation Division are alleged to have formed themselves into a union and eventually merged in the union, represented by the 2nd respondent. They pressed their demands for payment of bonus under the Bonus Act, at the same rate, at which it was paid to those in Pulp Division, and also for payment of production bonus at the same rate. They demanded also equality of status and of terms and conditions of service with those in the Pulp Division. It was these demands that led to the disputes being referred for adjudication, as noticed earlier.
(3.) THE contention of the company was that the Plantation Division was a separate and independent entity or establishment by itself, and that the employees in question were not justified in pressing their demands on the basis that the Plantation Division was an integral part of the company. The Tribunal held against the company on this aspect; and that is the main question that has been agitated in this writ petition.;

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