Decided on July 28,1972

Central Bank Executor And Trustee Co. Ltd Appellant
K.R. Pawar Respondents


K.K.DESAI,J. - (1.) IN this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India the petitioner company has claimed a 'Writ of Prohibition against the Industrial Tribunal for preventing the Tribunal from proceeding with the adjudication of the dispute referred to the Tribunal under Order of Reference No. AJC. 25(4) 670 LAB II dated November 4, 1967 and/or from proceeding with Reference (IT) No. 390 of 1967.
(2.) THE facts which require to be noticed are as follows: By an Indenture of Settlement dated October 12, 1941 made by Bai Bhicaiji Bennet and Bai Putlibai Broacha two immoveable properties known as 'Shapurji Bharucha Baug' situated at Vithalbhai Patel Road, and one immoveable property situated at Khetwadi Main Road were settled upon certain private trusts. The Deed of Trust is produced at exh. F, in the present proceedings. By another Indenture of Settlement dated November 13, 1941 Bai Bhicaiji Bennet and Bai Putlibai Broacha settled one immoveable property situated at Dadar upon certain private trusts. This Indenture of Settlement is produced in the present proceedings at exh. G. After these two trusts were administered privately for certain duration of time, in accordance with the authority given in that connection by Clause 33 in each of these two deeds of trust, the retiring trustees of these trusts executed separate Deed of Appointment of new trustees in March 1958 and thereby appointed the petitioner company to be trustee of the above two Deed of Settlement -Trusts (hereinafter referred to as 'Bhicaiji Bennet Trust No. 1' and 'Bhicaiji Bennett Trust No. 2'). Since March 1958, the petitioner company, as trustee of the above two trusts, has been administering and managing the affairs of the two trusts and accordingly the immoveable properties and other assets belonging to these two trusts. Respondent No. 2 Union by its letter dated October 6, 1965 (exh. D to the petition) wrote to the petitioner company that the workmen of the petitioner company employed at Shapurji Bharucha Baug had joined respondent No, 2 Union and requested for fixing an early meeting to discuss the grievances of the workmen. By his letter dated October 19, 1965, the secretary of the petitioner company wrote to say; We are not the owners of the building abovenamed and the persons who are employed in connection with the said building are not our employees. We are a corporation who act, inter alia, as trustees of the property in question, ...in view of our position as trustees, we feel that no useful purpose will be served by a meeting as proposed by you. The president of respondent No. 2 Union served a Charter of Demands dated October 18, 1966 (exh, E to the petition). It was addressed to Smt. P.N. Bharucha, Trustee of B.H. Bennett Trust. The demands related to fixation of scales of pay, dearness allowance, provident fund, gratuity, leave, holidays and uniforms. The demand was made upon a statement that the employees of the B.H. Bennet Trust had become members of respondent No. 2 Union. In connection with these demands, the Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Bombay, addressed her letter dated December 16, 1966, to 'Messrs Trustees of B.H. Bennet Trust' (part of exh. F to the petition). By the Notice annexed to that letter it was stated that the demands made on behalf of the above employees were proposed to be admitted in conciliation under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, if otherwise admissible. On behalf of respondent No. 2 Union justification (for the demands) dated January 10, 1967 was submitted to the Conciliation Officer. In connection with the matter of conciliation proceedings the justification states as follows: '' The Workmen concerned in the dispute are employees of the Bennet Trust Property of which the Central Bank Executor and Trustee Company Limited Bombay are the Trustees and Manager' and points out several facts and demands. By a letter dated January 18, 1967 the assistant secretary of the petitioner company stated as follows : We say that all the claimants are employees engaged by us, who are the present trustees under the Indenture of Appointment of New Trustees dated 10 -3 -1958 and therefore their demands are outside the purview of the Industrial Disputes Act. He also stated:.We beg to point out that there is no legal entity as 'trust' as it seems to be the case of claimants. We also beg to point out that there is no legal entity like 'Bennet Trust Property' and therefore the question of the claimants being the employees thereof does not arise. The contention made in the matter of the demands was that there was no industry, nor were the employees workmen and the Conciliation Officer had no jurisdiction. The matter of demands was taken into conciliation and ultimately a 'Failure Report' was made by the Conciliation Officer some time before November 1967 (exh. J to the petition).
(3.) BY the impugned order of reference made under Clause (d) of Sub -section (1) of Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, the Government of Maharashtra referred to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication the dispute of the demands made by the employees (exh. K to the petition). The particulars of the disputes and demands referred are in the schedule to the above order.;

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