TEXTILE MACHINERY CORPORATION LIMITED Vs. ITS WORKMEN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
TEXTILE MACHINERY CORPORATION LIMITED
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Gajendragadkar, J. -
(1.)This appeal by special leave arises from an industrial dispute between the Textile Machinery - corporation Ltd., (hereinafter called the appellant) and its workmen (hereinafter called the respondents). It appears that the respondents made certain demands regarding the payment of Puja Bonus in 1955. On 14-10-1955, an agreement was reached between the parties that the said demands should be referred for adjudication to the Industrial Tribunal. It was also agreed that certain sum should be advanced towards the Puja Bonus by the appellant to the respondents to obviate the hardship to the respondents on the occasion of Puja. Accordingly a sum of Rs. 35 that is equivalent to 17 days' average basic wages was paid to each of the workers to be treated as advance against the Puja Bonus. Thereafter, on 21-3-1956, the Government of West Bengal made the present reference for adjudication to the Second Industrial Tribunal. The reference was in regard to the respondents' claim for bonus for the year 1955. The tribunal has awarded to the respondents two months' basis wages by way of bonus for the relevant year and it is this award of bonus that has given rise to the present appeal. This award is in addition to the Puja Bonus which has been paid by the appellant to the respondents.
(2.)In determining the amount of bonus awardable to the respondents the tribunal has purported to apply the Full Bench formula. It is, however, urged before us by the learned Solicitor-General on behalf of the appellant that in working out the Full Bench formula the tribunal has erred in not considering the material and relevant evidence led by the appellant in respect of its claim for rehabilitation and replacement charges. It is also argued that the tribunal was wrong in not allowing 4 per cent interest as a prior charge on the whole of the reserve fund as claimed by the appellant. Similarly the tribunal was in error, it is said, in adding back to the profits an item of Rs. 2.50 lakhs which had been donated by the appellant as well as an item of Rs. 2.35 lakhs which has been reserved by the appellant in respect of disputed claims. It will be convenient to deal with the latter argument first.
(3.)In regard to the claim for interest of 4 per cent on the reserves on the ground that they had been used as working capital, the tribunal has found that there was no evidence to show that the said reserve had been either partly or wholly used as working capital during the relevant year. The appellant sought to rely on the balance-sheet in support of this claim but the tribunal took the view that the entries in the balance-sheet were of no assistance because the balance-sheet in question that is for the year 1955 was prepared and published in the month of August 1956 and so the tribunal held that it was obvious that the items in question were not and could not have been employed in the business for the year 1955. It is not disputed that some of the material items in the balance-sheet had been introduced for the first time and there was no corresponding every in the balance-sheet for the previous year, and so the finding of the tribunal that the subsequent balance-sheet cannot be used for the purpose of showing what, if any, amount of the reserve was utilised as working capital during the relevant year cannot be successfully challenged. Having found that there was no evidence to show that any part of the reserves had been used as working capital the tribunal has nevertheless purported to adopt what it calls the broad and sensible view of the matter and has in the end allowed to the appellant interest at the rate of 4 per cent on the amount of general reserves only which was Rs. 3,51,406 as on 31-12-1954. If the finding of the tribunal that no evidence had been adduced to show that any part of the reserve had been used as working capital is correct then the amount of interest allowed by it on the said amount of general reserves may strictly not be justified, but no complaint has been made against this part of the award by the respondents and so it is not necessary to pursue that matter any further.
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