(1.) The facts in this case are shortly as follows: The Petitioner is a company employing about 200 workmen. Certain disputes arose between the company and its workmen, resulting in conciliation proceedings. What happened was that the workmen, through the new Allenberry Works Employees Union, submitted two charters of demand on August 9, 1957, regarding several matters including leave and holidays. The matter was taken up for conciliation, and meetings were held by the Conciliation Officer. During the pendency of the conciliation proceedings, the parties agreed to settle the outstanding disputes and a memorandum of settlement was executed on November 20, 1957, a copy whereof is annexure "A" to the petition. Previous to this, there was another agreement between the management and the workers and Clause 12 of the settlement expressly stated that the previous agreement entered into between the management and the workers would stand cancelled. Under Clause 13, this agreement was to be binding on both the parties for a period of one year, and after that it might be terminated by either party after giving one month's notice. On December 10, 1.957, the General Secretary of the said Union wrote to the Conciliation Officer that a general meeting of the Union had. been held on October 26, 1957, and it had been decided that there would not be any compromise with the employer and the workmen would only be satisfied with the decision of the Governments It was stated that in the face of this resolution, the signatories to the agreement on behalf of the Union, namely the Vice-President, the General Secretary and a temporary worker had no authority to enter into an agreement, and it was not binding on the workers. It was stated that the Executive Committee of His Union and the general members, unanimously passed a resolution of "no confidence" against the signatories to the agreement, namely, the Vice-President, Assistant Secretary and a temporary worker. The company, however, took up the attitude that the agreement was binding and gave effect to it. As the workmen approached the Conciliation Officer, certain meetings were held but it was stated that nothing could he achieved due to the adamant attitude of the company. On October 3, 1958, an agreement was entered into between the company and the workmen represented by a new Union, namely, the New Allen berry Workers' Association and one of the terms of the agreement was as follows:
Both the parties agree that the dispute of leave and holidays pending before the Labour Directorate shall be referred to Tribunal.
(2.) In this agreement, unlike the first one, there is no clause to the effect that all earlier agreements will stand cancelled. By an order, dated February 21, 1959, a reference was made to an Industrial Tribunal, and the dispute referred was "leave and "holidays". The order of reference does not state that the reference was under an agreement. It purports to be a reference under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act. The order merely states that there was an industrial dispute between the workers represented by the New Allenberry Works Workmen's Association and the company, and that it was referred for adjudication to the Third Industrial Tribunal. It was not done in the manner as laid down by Sub-section (2) of Section 10, nor was it a reference by agreement under Section 10A. Before the Tribunal, the workers, through their Union, filed a written statement stating that the alleged agreement, dated November 20, 1957, was not binding on the workers and had been entered into without the authority of the workers or the Executive Committee. Paragraph 16 of the written statement runs as follows:
That though the said agreement was not binding in law or in equity and had no legal or moral sanction behind it, the Company in an arbitrary and high-handed manner, made the said agreement, tried to make the agreement a law and questioning the same dispute was raised by the letter, dated 10-12-57, copy marked Annexure "B" and thus the very basis of the mala fide agreement was challenged.
(3.) The written statement proceeds to state that the company having taken an adamant attitude to enforce the first agreement, the Union took up the matter with the Labour Commissioner and several conciliation meetings were held, and since nothing could be achieved, an order of reference was made for adjudication. In this written statement, the second agreement is not referred to, but only the first agreement is annexed. The company, in its written statement took up the attitude that the first agreement was perfectly valid and binding, and the New Allenberry Works Workmen's Association had never issued a charter of demand relating to the issue of leave and holidays. The written statement of the company inter alia contains the following statements:;