Decided on February 21,1975

JEEWANLAL (1929) LIMITED Appellant


- (1.)In this case there was a reference to the Tribunal under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act on the question, "what should be the quantum of bouns for the year .1969". Both the parties filed their written statements. It appears that the Union thereafter filed a petition praying for interim relief of bouns of 10 per cent pending the final decision of the case. The said prayer was opposed by the Company. By an order dated the 22nd June, 1972 the First Industrial Tribunal, West Bengal was of the opinion that there was no prima facie case in favour of the Union to show that the employees were entitled to bonus in excess of 4 per cent as declared by the Company. The Tribunal however felt that in view of the evidence and the admitted position, the employees were entitled to 4 per cent bonus as interim relief, leaving the question whether it was a full and final settlement or not open for decision at the final hearing of the case. The question is. whether this direction and order of the Tribunal should be published under Section 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act. A joint application was made by the employees and the Company for an order that the said order should be submitted to the Government for publication as an interim award under Section 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act so that the same could be enforced. The tribunal by its order dated 26th July, 1972 declined to do so on the ground that the order was merely granting interim relief and was not required to be published as an interim award. Thereupon the Company moved this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution by this application.
(2.)Award has been defined under Section 2 (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and an Award means an interim or a final determination of any industrial dispute or of any question relating thereto by any Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal or National Industrial Tribunal and includes an arbitration award made under Section 10A. Under Section 10 (4) of the Industrial Disputes Act a tribunal has power of adjudication on all matters incidental to any matter referred to it Section 17 of the Act requires publication of the award. Therefore, a determination interim or final of any industrial dispute or any question relating theretocan come within the ambit of the definition of Section 2 (b) of the Act. The right to get interim bouns during the pendency of the question as to what bouns the employees were entitled is, in my opinion, a determination of a question relating to a dispute that was pending before the tribunal under the order of reference. Therefore, in my opinion, there was no bar as such in making an interim award in the instant case for the interim relief granted. Reliance was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Management Hotel Imperial, New Delhi V/s. Hotel Worker s Union, 1959 AIR(SC) 1342 . There- the Supreme Court specifically left the question, whether an order granting an interim relief was an award within the meaning of Section 2 (b) of the Act and must, therefore, be published under Section 17, open But the Supreme Court observed that an award as defined in Section 2 (b) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 might either be final or interim and in either case it would have to be published as required by Section 17. Such awards were however not in the nature of interim relief for these decided the industrial dispute or some question relating thereto. Interim relief, on the other hand, was granted under the power conferred on the tribunal under Section 10 (4) with respect to matters incidental to the points of dispute for adjudication. The Supreme Court observed that even assuming that the interim relief granted in that case under Section 10 (4) could not be enforced as it was in the nature of an award and should have been submitted to the government and published under Section 17 to become enforceable under Section 17-A, the Supreme Court had the power to grant interim relief in the same manner as the Industrial Tribunal could do and its order need not be sent to Government for publication. In this case the question of right to get interim relief was embedded in the order of reference and an interim determination of that question was part of the question referred to under Section 10 and in such a case if there is an adjudication of thai question, in my opinion, there is no bar in making an award under Section 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. In this case furthermore where both the parties have desired and in the interest of justice I see no reason why the tribunal should not exercise the jurisdiction which it undoubtedly had in treating this order as one for publication under Section 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act. Counsel for the workmen contended that there was no error of law apparent on the face of the order and this Court should not interfere with the same under Article 226 of the Constitution. The tribunal in this case, in my opinion, has refused to exercise its jurisdiction on the mistaken view that an order of this nature could never be published or treated as an interim award. This in my opinion, is a failure to exercise the jurisdiction which the tribunal had. An order of this nature can be published but it need not be 'always published. It must depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and where the tribunal has abrogated its jurisdiction by deciding that it could not be published, in my opinion, there is an error of law which entitles this Court to interfere with this order.
(3.)In the premises, the Tribunal is directed to send the order No. 19 dated the 22nd July, 1972 to the Government under Sec. 17 of the Industrial Disputes Act for publication under the said provisions. In the facts and in the circumstances each party will pay and bear its own costs.

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