Decided on May 03,1973



- (1.) The opposite party No. 4 is a company holding mining leases. The petitioners are contractors wiho handle loading and unloading business in respect of minerals at the Barbil Railway Siding in the district of Keonjhar. They normally enter into ore handling contracts with different mine-owners for loading of their goods. The Keonjhar Mines and Forest Workers' Union at Barbil is a trade union purporting to represent the workmen employed bv the petitioners. It raised a dispute to the effect that the recommendations of the Centra Wage Board for Iron and Ores Mining Industry of the Government of India should be implemented by the petitioners and the wages of workmen should be paid in accordance thereto. Ultimately the State Government in the appropriate department made a reference of the following dispute to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication "Whether the workmen employed by the followng Loading Contractors in Barbil Railway Plot are entitled to revised rates of wages as recommended by the Central Wage Board for Iron and Ore Mining Industry? If so from what date? 1. Shri Ambika Prasad. 2. Shri Sirish Naik, 3. Shri N. K. Aditya. 4. Shri Saukat Ali. 5. Shri J. N. Ray. 6. Shri Bikram Munda. 7. Shri G, C. Mitra. 8. Shri Sudhir Patra. 9. M/s. Hindustan General Electrical Co. (P) Ltd." Before the Tribunal the petitioners raised two contentions. (1) The work for which the contractors were engaged was not a part of the Iron and Ore Mining Industry and. therefore the recommendation of the Central Wage Board could not be applicable to the employee working under the petitioners ; (2) The reference having been made by the State Government was not proper and was. therefore, without jurisdiction. Both the contentions were negatived by the Tribunal and an award was passed vide Annexure-6 holding that the Workmen employed by the petitioners were entitled to the revised rates of wages as recommended by the Central Wage Board for Iron and Ore Mining Industry from 1-1-1967. We are asked to quash the said award by issuing a writ of certiorari on. the self same grounds which were taken by the petitioners before the Tribunal.
(2.) On behalf of the opposite party No. 3 a counter affidavit was filed, but at the time of hearing none appeared for the opposite parties. To enable the counsel to appear before us we had adiourned the proceeding from 11-4-1973 to 24-4-1973; yet none appeared. The petitioners alone, therefore, have been heard. We shall now proceed to deal with the two contentions advanced by Mr. Mohantv on behalf of the petitioners.
(3.) Point No. 1 "Appropriate Government" has been defined in Section 2 (a) of the Industrial Disputes Act. 1947 (hereinafter called the Act) to mean, "(i) in relation to any industrial dispute concerning any industry carried on by or under the authority ci the Central Government or by a railway company or concerning any such controlled industry as may be specified in this behalf by the Central Government or in relation to an industrial dispute concerning the Employees' State Insurance Corporation established under Section 3 of the Employees' State Insurance Act. 1948. ' or 'Indian Airlines and Air India Corporation established under Section 3 of the Air Corporations Act. 1953. or the Agricultural Refinance Corporation established under Section 3 of the Agricultural Refinance Corporation Act. 1963. or the Deposit Insurance Corporation established under Section 3 of the Deposit Insurance Corporation Act. 1961, or the Unit Trust of India established under Section 3 of the Unit Trust of India Act. 1963. or a banking or an insurance company. a mine an oil-field, a Cantonment Board, or a major port, the Central Government, and (ii) in relation to any other industrial dispute, the State Government" "Mine" has been defined in Section 2 (lb) of the Act to mean a mine as defined in clause (j) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Mines Act. 1952, and that definition reads thus: " 'Mine' means any excavation where any operation for the purpose of searching for or obtaining minerals has been or is being carried on. and includes X X X (v) all conveyors or aerial ropeways provided for the bringing into or removal from a mine of minerals or other articles or for the removal of refuse therefrom. (vi) all adits, levels, planes, machinery, works, railways. tramways and sidings in or adjacent to and belonging to a mine, x x x x (x) unless exempted by the Central Government by notification in the official Gazette, any premises or part thereof, in or adjacent to and belonging to a mine, on which any process ancillary to the getting. dressing or preparation for sale of minerals or of coke is being carried on;" The loading of ores which is admittedly handled by the petitioners, even if it does not come under any other clause of the definition of mine, will cettainly come under the residuary provision in clause (x). The Tribunal while dealing with this aspect of the matter has stated; "At the time of hearing none of the contractors appeared. The Union let in evidence and examined P. W. 1 Shri Haribandhu Behera who has proved Exts. 1 and 2. It is revealed from the evidence that the workers are connected with loading and handling of iron-ore and with the activities of iron-ore mining industry. As such the recommendations of the Wage Board are applicable to them. Ext. 1 is a true copy of those recommendations. The contractors under the reference are the contractors under the mine-owner. Messrs S. Lal & Co. (P.) Ltd. itself is a mine-owner. All these mine-owners implemented the Wage Board recommendations in their mines. Ext. 2 is the agreement between the Union and Messrs. B. Patnaik Mines (Private) Ltd. regarding the implementation of the Wage Board recommendations. P. W. 1 says that similar agreements were entered into by the Union with other mine-owners also. I. therefore, find that the workmen employed by the following Loading Contractors in Barbil Railway Plot are entitled to the revised rates of wages as recommended by the Central Wage Board for Iron and Ore Mining Industry from 1-1-1967." In the award of the Wage Board while dealing with the Iron Ore Mining Industry it was stated: "Iron Ore Mining Industry will include all activities connected directly or indirectly, with the mining of Iron Ore, such as. prospecting survey, running for preparation of ore, pre loading and ore handling all engineering, mechanical and electrical installations, repairs, and maintenance transportation, stores, laboratory quality control, medical and sanitation, welfare, and education, watch and ward etc." With reference to the definition of "mine" we are not in a position to hold that the award went beyond the limits of the law. The operation (conducted by the petitioners were certainly within the purview of the definition of "mine" and. therefore, the wages as indicated in the award will be applicable to the employees under the petitioners.;

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