Decided on May 05,1958

The Malabati Tea Estate Appellant
Bhakta Munda And Others Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



J.N. Datta, J.C. - (1.)ON a reference of the dispute by the Chief Commissioner, Tripura, under S. 10(1)(c) of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, which had arisen over the discharge from service of 17 workmen (labourers), represented by the Tripura Cha Majdoor Union, Agartala, and the employer, the Malabati Tea Estate, Shekerkot, the Labour Court, presided over by the District Judge, Tripura, gave an award that the discharge or dismissal was wrongful, that is, illegal, and therefore directed their reinstatement within a month of the publication of the award, and also ordered the employer to pay a month's wages to the workmen as compensation.
It is against this award, that the present application was filed on behalf of the Malabati Tea Estate, for setting aside the award by a Writ of Certiorari or some other suitable Writ under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India or by an order under Art. 227.

(2.)THE learned Presiding Officer of the Labour Court, found that the workmen were permanent employees, and the notices served on them terminating their services were not in accordance with law and their services could not be also terminated, without giving them an opportunity to show cause, as the termination was due to some alleged misconduct on the part of the workers.
It is convenient to dispose of some of the legal objections raised on behalf of the Petitioner, at this stage. It was contended that the Chief Commissioner had no power to make the reference, and therefore, the reference was bad, and the Labour Court got no jurisdiction to try the matter. There is no force in this contention which is Based on a misapprehension of facts. Section 10 of the Act authorises "the appropriate Government" to make such a reference and the definition of "appropriate Government" as given in S. 2(a) would go to show' that the appropriate Government in respect of such disputes is the State Government. By notification No. 104 -J, dated the 24th August 1950, the President was pleased, in the exercise of his powers under Cl. (1) of Art. 239 of the Constitution of India, to invest the Chief Commissioner of Tripura with the powers of a State Government under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and many other Acts, except those under S. 38 (powers to make rules) with which we are not concerned in the present case. The definition of "State Government" and that of "Central Government" as given in the General Clauses Act also makes it clear, that in respect of Part C States (now Union Territories) the Chief Commissioner would mean the State Government as regards the matters for which the President has authorised him under Art. 239(1).

(3.)THE same was further made clear in the Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules, 1957, framed by the Central Government, under S. 38 of the Act. In clause (f) of R. 2 of the said Rules, it is laid down that in relation to an industrial dispute in a Union Territory reference to the Central Government (the appropriate Government) shall be construed as a reference to the Administrator of the Territory (Chief Commissioner).
It would be therefore idle to contend, that the Chief Commissioner did not have the power to make this reference. The decision of the question whether to make a reference or not, being entirely within the discretion of the Chief Commissioner, it is also not open to challenge in a proceeding under Art. 226 or 227 of the Constitution on the ground that the reference was not proper or on similar grounds.

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