V.P.GOPALAN NAMBIYAR,J. -
(1.) CERTAIN disputes between the petitioner,a registered Society(and the Managing Editor of a newspaper called 'Malayali ') and the 3rd respondent,one of its employees relating to arrears of wages and gratuity were referred by the Government under section 17(2)of the Working Journalists(Condition of Services)and Miscellaneous Provisions Act,1955,( referred to as the Journalists 'Act,for short)to the Labour Court,Quil on, for decision as References 1 and 2 of 1966.The petitioner's allegation is that pursuant to the reference an enquiry was held,evidence was taken,and after hearing,the cases stood posted to 4th May 1967,but that to his knowledge,no orders were passed on that day or any subsequent day,nor communicated to the petitioner.Nor according to the petitioner,was the 'award 'of the Labour Court published.In spite of these,the petitioner was served with Ext.P -2,notice,dated 3rd January 1 968,by the Tahsildar,Changanacherry to remit Rs.535 the amount due under Reference No.2 of 1966 to the 3rd respondent,and with Ext.P -3 notice in similar terms,for a sum of Rs.3,702.26 in respect of Reference No.1 of 1966.These were replied to by Ext.P -4,and Ext.P -5 by which the Tahsildar was informed that the petitioner had no information about the judgment in the two cases referred to in the notices.Despite these,by Exts.P -6 and P -7,the Tahsildar replied that steps for realisation will be pursued.The petitioner seeks to quash Exts.P -2,P -3 and P -6 and P -7 and the "award " ;,if any,passed by the 2nd respondent in Reference Nos.1 and 2 of 1966 and prays for other consequential reliefs.
(2.) A counter -affidavit has been filed by the 3rd respondent.The learned Government Pleader appearing for the other respondents submitted that the Labour Court made its 'decision 'or 'award 'in the two References on 6th June 1967,and forwarded the same to the Government on 7th June 1967;It was admitted however,that a copy of the same has not so far been communicated to the petitioner,and also that it has not been published.
(3.) THE petitioner claims the reliefs prayed for firstly on the ground that the "award "of the 2nd respondent had not been published and could not be enforced without publication;and secondly on the ground that the - principles of natural justice required that a copy of the award or decision should be communicated to the petitioner,before coercive steps were taken in pursuance of the same.The learned Government Pleader and the counsel for the 3rd respondent joined issue and contended that neither publication nor communication was necessary.
The requirement of publication was claimed on the ground that the Labour Court's decision was an "award "to which the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act would be attracted,and therefore the same would not be enforceable till publication.To appreciate this contention,the relevant provisions of the Journalists 'Act may be read:Section 17 of the Journalists 'Act reads: "17(1)Where any amount is clue under this Act to a newspaper employee from an employer the newspaper employee himself or any person authorised by him in writing in this behalf or in the case of the death of the employee,any member of his family may,without prejudice to any other mode of recovery,make an application to the State Government for the recovery of the amount due to him,and if the State Government or such authority,as the State Government may specify in this behalf,is satisfied that any amount is so due,it shall issue a certificate for that amount to the Collector,and the Collector shall proceed to recover that amount in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue.
(2)If any question arises as to the amount due under this Act to a newspaper employee from his employer,the State Government may,on its own motion or upon application made to it,refer the question to any Labour Court,constituted by it under the Industrial Disputes Act,1947,or under any corresponding law relating to investigation,and settlement of industrial disputes in force in the State and the said Act or law shall have effect in relation to the Labour Court as if the question so referred were a matter referred to the Labour Court for adjudication under that Act or law.
(3)The decision of the Labour Court shall be forwarded by it to,the State Government which made the reference and any amount found due by the Labour Court may be recovered in the manner provided,in sub -section(1 )." ;,
And section 3 of the same Act provides:
"( 3 )(1)The provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act,1947,as in force for the time being,shall,subject to the modification specified in sub -section(2)apply to or in relation to,working journalists as they apply to,or in relation to,workmen within the meaning of that Act.
(2)Section 25 -F of the aforesaid Act,in its application to working journalists,shall be construed as if in clause (a) thereof,for the period of notice referred to therein in relation to the retrenchment of a workman,the following periods of notice in relation to the retrenchment of a working journalist had been substituted,namely:"
(a) six months,in the case of an editor,and
(b) three months,in the case of any other working journalist."
Section 17(1)of the Industrial Disputes Act provides for publication of every award within thirty days of its receipt by the Government and section 17 -A provides that an award shall become enforceable on the expiry of thirty days from the date of its publication.;