Decided on June 18,1963



- (1.) The petitioners have been convicted by the Industrial Tribunal, Hyderabad-cum-Special First Class Magistrate, Hyderabad, for contravention of the provisions of sections 27 and 29 of the Industrial Disputes Act, and sentenced to imprisonment and also to fine. On appeal, the Sessions Judge, Secunderabad, giving benefit of doubt to accused-1 acquitted him of an offence under section 29 and upheld the conviction of A-2 under that section and of both the accused on the other count, but maintained only the sentence of fine awarded to the accused. The petitioners have, therefore, come up to this Court invoking its revisionary powers. Petitioner No. 1, P.M. Deshpande, is the Executive member of the F.A.C.O.R. and Sree R B. Sreeram Workers' Union and the second petitioner is the President of the said Union. There was a strike from 24th September, 1960 to 1st October, 1960 of the F A.C O.R. and R.B. Sreeram & Co., (Private) Ltd. The case of the prosecution is, that there was a settlement during the course of the conciliation on 30th September, 1959 to which the F.A.C.O.R. and R.B. Sreeram & Company Workers' Union and also the management were parties and thereunder the Union had agreed not to resort to any strike or to any direct action in future and agreed that disputes, if any, which might arise in future would be settled by negotiation and conciliation.
(2.) It was further agreed that the Union would maintain industrial peace for a period of three years from that date and would not raise any demands including increase inwages in any form and in dearness allowance, etc., for the said period commencing from 30th September, 1959. This settlement was duly signed by the parlies and also the labour Conciliation Officer. A report was sent to the appropriate Government along with the memo, of agreement signed by the parties. The prosecution contends that the terms of this agreement were fully acted upon by the management, but the Union and the workers could not be as good as their word, and that at the instigation of the accused, a strike was staged in breach of the settlement making fresh demands. Thus it is said that the accused petitioners herein, incurred the penalties under sections 27 and 29 of the Act. The action was initiated at the instance of the management, who, after obtaining the requisite authorisation from the Government, lodged their complaint with the presiding officer of the Industrial Tribunal, who happens to be appointed Special Magistrate under Notification C.O.Ms. No. 1517 dated 4th July, 1959 with all the powers of a First Class Magistrate for the purposes of trying offences under the labour enactments in the entire State of Andhra Pradesh. The accused took up several pleas challenging the propriety of the sanction given and also the legality of the action taken against them.
(3.) All their pleas were rejected. The appellate Court agreed with the findings of the learned Chairman on all the above points. The same points which have been unsuccessfully urged before the Courts below have been reiterated in this revision petition. The first point urged relates to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to take cognizance of the matter. It was argued that there was no proper vesting of authority in the Tribunal as contemplated by section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Code, because the powers conferred under the notification were not on a particular person by name, nor for a particular area in any of the districts. This contention, having regard to the provisions of sections 14 and 39 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, is devoid of merit. Before I consider the above provisions of law, it may be necessary to refer to the wording of the Notification which had conferred powers on the Tribunal. It reads thus : "In exercise of the powers conferred by section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, (Central Act V of 1898) and in supersession of the notification of Home Department No. 686, dated the 24th October, 1958, published at page 2815 of the Andhra Pradesh Gazette, dated 15thNovember, 1958, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh hereby appoints the ' Presiding Officers of the Labour Courts, Guntur and Hyderabad and the Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal, Hyderabad, appointed under section 7 and section 7-A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (Central Act XIV of 1947) respectively as Special Magistrate and confers on them all the powers of a First Class Magistrate for the purposes of trying offences under the labour enactments in the entire State of Andhra Pradesh." It is not disputed that the trial Magistrate who convicted the accused was the presiding officer of the Industrial Tribunal, Hyderabad, duly constituted under section 7 and section 7-A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. It is also not disputed that the offences for which the accused have been tried are the offences coming under labour enactments, viz., the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The dispute is confined to the question whether the powers as expressed to be conferred are in order and have their legal validity. It is argued that the powers conferred are ineffective as they are not on a named person, nor for a specific area of a district. Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure specifically lays down that:- "The State Government may confer upon any person who holds or has held by any judicial post under the Union or a State or possesses such other qualifications as may, in consultation with the High Court, be specified in this behalf by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazete, all or any of the powers conferred or conferrable by or under this Code on a Magistrate of the first, second or third class in respect to particular cases or to a particular class or particular classes of cases, or in regard to cases generally in any local area outside the Presidency Towns." Section 39 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure reads thus : " In conferring powers under this Code, the State Government may by order, empower persons specially by name or in virtue of their office or classes of officials generally by their official titles." It is clear from the above provisions that it is open to the State Government to confer powers on a Magistrate in relation to a particular class or classes of cases in any local area and this conferment on that person may be specifically by name or by virtue of his office. Therefore, no exception can be taken if the powers were conferred on the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal with reference to his office and not by his name. It has been so held by this Court in Public Prosecutor v. SriRamabhadrayya, (1960) 1 An.W.R. 117 : (1960) M.L.J. (Crl.) 159 : A.I.R. 1960 A.P. 282 and also by the Madras High Court in Palanisamy Chettiar, In re, (1957) M.LJ. (Crl.) 145: A.I.R. 1957 Mad. 351.;

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