Decided on May 22,1957



- (1.) THE State Government of the Punjab in writing referred five disputes to the second Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, Amritsar, under Section 10 (l) (c) of the industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (No. 14 of 1947), as in its opinion these disputes existed between the workmen and the management of eight industrial establishments (metal industries ). The necessary notification was issued on 19-31956. Two of these industrial concerns have filed this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution challenging the validity of this reference.
(2.) THIS petition was based on certain grounds but it is not necessary to refer to them as the learned counsel for the petitioners did not press these grounds before me in view of the recent decisions of their Lordships of the Supreme Court. The learned counsel however, urged that in view of settlement between the management and the workmen under Section 12 (3) of the Act the reference was illegal as in such a case it cannot be said that a dispute existed or was apprehended so as to justify a reference to the Industrial Tribunal. This ground was taken in an application for stay of proceedings before the Tribunal and therefore on 14-3-1957, I permitted the petitioners to raise this point in the interests of justice as it had also been raised in other writ petitions and I have treated the stay application as supplementary to the main application. Thereafter I adjourned the case to enable the respondents to file a reply to this allegation. The reply and a counter reply have now been filed.
(3.) IN the supplementary petition all that was stated was that there was a conciliation under Section 12 (3) of the Act and therefore there was no dispute which could be referred to the Tribunal. The Labour Commissioner has filed a detailed reply. He has stated that on 9-12-1935, the District Metal Mazdoor Union (Registered), Jullundur served a notice of demand on the employers and when these demands were not satisfied the workers went on strike, During the strike another trade union known as the Azad Factory Workers Union, Jullundur, which was at that time an unregistered body, served another demand notice containing demands almost identical with those of the Mazdoor Union. It appears that negotiations had been going on between the employers and the mazdoor Union since December 1955 (vide conies of letters produced by the mazdoor Union), Ultimately the Commissioner himself decided to interfere in view of the serious situation that had arisen in metal industry. A meeting was arranged for 14th March 1956. In this meeting the representatives of the employers of the district Metal Mazdoor Union, the General Secretary of All India Trade Union congress with which the Mazdoor Union is affiliated and the Azad Factory Workers union were present. No settlement was reached in the meeting and the commissioner left the meeting. Later on the representatives of the employers and of the Azad Factory Workers union went to the railway station and informed the Commissioner that a compromise had been reached between the parties before him, i. e,, between the employers and the Azad Factory Workers Union and a request was made to him that he may sign it. The Labour Commissioner however, refused to do so. According to the Labour Commissioner the Mazdoor Union is a registered body since some time before the present dispute arose in December 1955 and the Azad union was registered on 20-4-1956, i. e. , after the alleged conciliation. It appears that the Labour Commissioner has made inquiries into the credentials of the two unions and according to him total membership of the Mazdoor Union is 800 while that of the Azad Union is 150.;

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