(1.) THESE appeals arise from a common order of Kailasam, J. , dismissing two petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution, one to quash the order of the Government dated 6th July, 1967 referring for adjudication an industrial dispute under Section (1) (c) read with Section 2a of the Industrial Disputes Act, and the other to prohibit the Presiding Officer, Labour Court, from proceeding with the adjudication.
(2.) THE third respondent was employed by the appellant as an apprentice from 1st May, 1964, for a period of twelve months, After completion of the apprenticeship, the third respondnot was appointed as a probationer under a fresh engagement as probationary technical Assistant with effect from 1st May, 1965. His probation was, however, terminated by order dated 3rd February 1966, after an enquiry into a certain charge of misconduct against him. On 31st December, 1966, the Labour Officer, Tirunelveli, sent his conciliation report, in the light of which the State Government, by an order dated 24th February, 1967, declined to make a reference for adjudication. The order stated that the third respondent was dismissed from service after an enquiry in which the charges against him were held proved and, therefore, no reference was called for. On 9th March, 1967, the third respondent by a petition moved the then Chief Minister to reconsider the order and this was followed by another petition to the succeeding Law Minister, both of which were sent to the Commissioner of Labour, who, after getting a report of the Labour Officer sent his communication dated 25th April, 1967, stating that the earlier order refusing reference did not call for review. After taking into consideration the Commissioner's communication as also that of the Labour Officer, dated 6th April, i957, the Government passed the impugned order. Though eventually the matter lies in a narrow compass, on a certain assumption of the effect of the impugned order, the constitutional validity of Section 2a has been canvassed.
(3.) THE preamble to the order of the Government dated 6th July, 1967, recited: "whereas the Government are of opinion that an industrial dispute has arisen between the workmen and the management. . . . " On the top of the order, it read: "from the Labour Officer, Tirunelveli, Conciliation Report. . . dated 6th April 1967". The use of the words 'conciliation' and 'workmen' in the order appears, as we understand the argument fir the appellant, to form its basis. First, it is stated that subsequent to the order of the Government dated 24ih February, 1967, there was no further conciliation and that inasmuch as the impugned order read as if there was a Labour Officer's conciliation report, the Government was misled into thinking that in that view reference should be made and that it could not refuse it without stating reasons. We have looked into the Labour Officer's report aforesaid and find that it did not pertain to any conciliation. It is not clear how the word 'conciliation' crept into the impugned order. But, at the same time, when the order under consideration recited the Labour Officer's report dated 6th April, as having been read by the Government, 1967, there can be no question of any misunderstanding on its part and that there was an earlier conciliation on which the Labour Officer had reported. We have to take it that the Government read the contents of the Labour Officer's communication dated 6th April, 1967. That being the case, we fail to see any force in the contention that the word 'conciliation' in the impugned order has misled the Government into making it. ";