INDIA FOILS LTD Vs. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL WEST BENGAL
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
INDIA FOILS LTD.
5TH INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL, WEST BENGAL
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(1.)This is an application for appropriate order and/or directions directing the respondents not to give effect to or enforce an order of the respondent No. 1, being order No. 27 of July 3, 1971.
(2.)The petitioner's employees are members of a Trade Union known as India Foils Employees' Union. According to the petitioner most of the supervisors and staff assistants, who are members of the Association, are not "workmen" within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act and for that reason, are not competent to raise any industrial dispute. According to the petitioner again although the supervisors and staff assistants are not entitled to raise an industrial dispute, they purported to raise such a dispute before the Labour Directorate, Government of West Bengal through the third respondent. An order of reference was made on June 4, 1969, by which the dispute raised by the said workmen was referred to the first respondent. The issues framed in the order of reference are: 1. Incentive/Production bonus. 2. Gratuity. Written statements were filed before the first respondent according to the directions given. On March 21, 1971, the third respondent filed a petition before the first respondent in which it was stated that the Association would at the time of hearing of the case rely on documents which were filed as annexures to the written statements. On May 2, 1970, the third respondent filed another petition setting out a list of other documents to be relied upon at the time of hearing the case. On July 3, 1971, the third respondent filed a petition stating that the documents mentioned in their petition of May 2, 1970, were in the possession of the petitioner and that on May 28, 1971, the Association served a notice on the petitioner asking it to produce the documents, particulars whereof were given in the notice. It was alleged in this petition that the documents would be required to prove the case of the employees in connection with the preliminary objection raised by the petitioner.
(3.)On July 3, 1971, the first respondent made the impugned order which is as follows:
"Both parties are present. Heard the learned lawyers of both sides. The Association files a petition in duplicate. Make over a copy of the petition with a copy of Annexure 'M' to the company. The company to produce the documents mentioned by the Union on its petition dated 2-5-70 and in Annexure M of 27-5-71 if in power and possession. Documents be filed by the company within a fortnight from the date of this order."
Being aggrieved by this order, the petitioner made an application under Article 226 of the Constitution and obtained the rule nisi which is the subject-matter of this application. The first point urged by Mr. A. K. Dutt, appearing for the petitioner was that the first respondent had no jurisdiction to make the order for production of documents. He argued that this order was made contrary to and in violation of the provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure and the rules framed under the Industrial Disputes Act. He referred to Section 11 (3) of the Act which provides that the first respondent shall have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure. He also referred to Rule 24 of the Rules framed under the Act which says that in addition to the powers conferred by the Act, Boards, Labour Courts and Tribunals shall have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure when trying a suit in respect of five different matters set out under Rule 24. Mr. Dutt argued firstly that the third respondent had no right to call upon his clients to produce the documents before the Tribunal as it purported to. Secondly, he argued that the impugned order could not be made by the first respondent as there was nothing on record to show that the documents required to be produced by the petitioner were in the petitioner's possession and power. The documents, production of which has been ordered by the first respondent, are set out in a letter dated May 27, 1971, addressed by the third respondent to the petitioner. Mr. Dutt submitted that if the third respondent felt that those documents were in the possession and power of the petitioner, he should have made an application before the Tribunal for discovery of documents under Order 11, Rule 12 of the Civil Procedure Code. In support of this contention reliance was placed by Mr. Dutt on a decision of this Court in , in which it was held that until an affidavit of documents has been directed to be filed, the court would have no jurisdiction to order inspection and that this was not a procedure which could be omitted. In that case, however, the question was one of inspection and not of production only. But it seems to me that the observations of Sinha, J. in that decision are very relevant for determining the questions in this application.
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