Decided on October 03,1963

D.M.VIN Respondents


N.M.MIABHOY, M.U.SHAH - (1.) This is a writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India. Petitioner is Ambalal Shivlal. Respondent No. 1 was at the relevant time the Officer presiding over the 1st Labour Court Ahmedabad. Petitioner was running at Ahmedabad an establishment for manufacturing bidis. Respondents Nos. 2 and 9 (hereafter called respondents simpliciter) were petitioners employees. The wages payable to respondents were governed by an award of the Industrial Tribunal. On 20th of January 1956 petitioner gave a notice that respondents shall be paid at the rate of Rs. 2-8-0 per 1000 rolls. The rate so offered by petitioner was lower than the rate fixed by the Industrial award. By their reply dated 4th February 1956 respondents refused to accept the variation in the rate. Thereafter there was some further correspondence between the parties and ultimately on 13th of February 1956 petitioner gave a notice to respondents in which he said that respondents had declined his offer and that therefore they were deemed to have left his service of their own accord and though originally his offer stood till 28 of February 1956 he had acquired a right to withdraw it and that he was not bound to wait till that date for the acceptance of his offer. Petitioner further contended in the notice that under the circumstances of the case he was not bound to give notice pay to respondents but that in spite of this he was giving to respondents the notice pay. Petitioner further stated in the notice that he was not under an obligation to pay any retrenchment compensation on the above grounds and also on the ground that sec. 25P of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 (hereafter called the Act) was ultra vires the Constitution. Petitioner ended the notice by stating that however if any competent authority decided that retrenchment compensation should be given to respondents petitioner was prepared to do so. Respondents did not take any steps after this notice E On 3rd April 1959 each of the respondents filed a separate application in the Court of the 1st respondent under section 33C sub-sec. (2) of The Act. Respondents alleged therein that they were retrenched with effect from 13 of February 1956 and that they had not been paid retrenchment compensation as provided for in sec. 25P of the Act. Therefore respondents claimed under the aforesaid section that the amount of their compensation should be determined by respondent No. 1 and that steps should be taken to recover the amount so determined under the provisions of the Act. Petitioner contested the applications. He contended that respondents were not retrenched but that the correct factual position was that petitioners establishment had been closed. Therefore he contended that respondents were not entitled to receive any compensation amount from petitioner. Petitioner also raised the question about the amount of the retrenchment compensation claimed by each respondent. He also contended that the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to decide both or any of the aforesaid two questions and that those questions fell within the purview of the jurisdiction of the Industrial Tribunal. Respondent No. 1 found against all the aforesaid three contentions of petitioner. He held that he had jurisdiction to decide the question whether respondents were or were not retrenched and so he had also jurisdiction to determine the amount at which the retrenchment compensation should be computed. Respondent No. 1 also found that respondents were retrenched and that the establishment was not closed. Respondent No. 1 then determined the amount of compensation payable to each of the respondents and passed a suitable order to enable respondents to take steps necessary for the purpose of recovering the amount. Respondent No. 1 had consolidated all the 8 applications of respondents and he delivered one common judgment disposing of all the aforesaid applications. The present writ application is directed against that order of respondent No. 1 passed on 31 of October 1961. Petitioner prays that the proceedings in the recovery applications made by respondents herein and the records thereof be called by this Court from the file of respondent No. 1 and that a writ of or in the nature of certiorari or any other writ or order or direction quashing the impugned order dated 31st October 1961 be issued.
(2.) Mr. Vyas appearing on behalf of petitioner raised four questions for the decision of this Court. The first three points were the same which were raised before respondent No. 1. In addition to that Mr. Vyas submitted that there was no evidence before respondent No. 1 on the basis of which he could have held that petitioners establishment was not closed and that therefore the finding of respondent No. 1 on that subject was vitiated by the fact that it was recorded on no evidence.
(3.) In our judgment the contention of Mr. Vyas that on the facts of the case the Labour Court had no jurisdiction to decide the question as to whether respondents were or were not retrenched is valid and that the petition deserves to be allowed on that ground. In view of our this conclusion it is not necessary for us to consider the validity or otherwise of the other submissions made by Mr. Vyas.;

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