NEW MANECK CHOWK SPG AND WVG CO LIMITED AHMEDABAD Vs. TEXTILE LABOUR ASSOCIATION ANMEDA BAD
LAWS(SC)-1960-12-47
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on December 07,1960

NEW MANEK CHOWK SPG.AND WVG.MILLS COMPANY LIMITED, Appellant
VERSUS
TEXTILE LABOUR ASSOCIATION, AHMEDABAD Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

MOON MILLS LIMITED VS. M R MEHER PRESIDENT INDUSTRIAL COURT BOMBAY [LAWS(SC)-1967-2-12] [REFERRED TO]
MADAN MOHAN S TIWARI VS. PRIYA LAKSHMI MILLS [LAWS(GJH)-1995-12-36] [REFERRED]
GRINDLAYS BANK LTD VS. CENTRAL GOVERNMENT INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL [LAWS(CAL)-1977-4-10] [REFERRED TO]
ELECTROSTEEL CASTINGS LIMITED VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(CAL)-1978-4-17] [REFERRED TO]
I T C LIMITED VS. PRESIDING OFFICER [LAWS(KAR)-1984-6-30] [REFERRED TO]
MANAGEMENT OF MALAYALI PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY VS. WORKMEN OF ABOVE CONCERN [LAWS(KER)-1961-8-23] [REFERRED TO]
MALABAR TILE WORKS VS. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL [LAWS(KER)-1968-7-3] [REFERRED TO]
MALABAR MOTOR TRANSPORT CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD VS. THEIR EMPLOYEES [LAWS(KER)-1978-10-30] [REFERRED TO]
MGMT OF CIPLA LIMITED VS. CIPLA KARMIKARA SANGHA [LAWS(KAR)-2000-2-57] [REFERRED TO]
POONA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY LTD VS. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL S TAKI BILGRAMI [LAWS(BOM)-1963-12-4] [REFERRED TO]
COCHIN SHIPYARD LIMITED VS. INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL [LAWS(KER)-1989-10-5] [REFERRED TO]
KARNATAKA ELECTRICITY BOARD EMPLOYEES UNION NOW CALLED THE KARNATAKA POWER VS. KARNATAKA ELECTRICITY BOARDRESENTED [LAWS(KAR)-2006-7-60] [REFERRED TO]
BHEL THUPPURAVU THOZHILALAR SANGAM BHEL LTD VS. MGMT OF BHEL [LAWS(MAD)-1999-12-61] [REFERRED TO]
MANAGEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED COFFEE ESTATE LIMITED VS. WORKMEN [LAWS(SC)-1968-9-45] [REFERRED TO]
PRAKASH COTTON MILLS PRIVATE LIMITED VS. STATE OF BOMBAY [LAWS(SC)-1961-2-46] [RELIED ON]
ATIG INDUSTRIES LIMITED ATUL PRODUCTS LIMITED WORKMEN EMPLOYED VS. WORKMEN:WORKMEN:ATIC INDUSTRIES LIMITED [LAWS(SC)-1972-3-72] [RELIED ON]
WORKMEN OF BATA SHOE CO PRIVATE LIMITED VS. BATA SHOE CO PRIVATE LIMITED [LAWS(SC)-1972-5-27] [REFERRED]
DISHERGARH POWER SUPPLY CO LIMITED CALCUTTA VS. WORKMEN OF DISHERGARH POWER SUPPLY COMPANY LIMITED [LAWS(SC)-1986-7-12] [FOLLOWED]
N S GIRI VS. CORPORATION OF CITY OF MANGALORE [LAWS(SC)-1999-5-82] [FOLLOWED]
GUJARAT WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LTD VS. GUJARAT JAL SAMATTI VIKAS NIGAM KAMDAR MAHA SANGH [LAWS(GJH)-2005-4-92] [REFERRED TO]
K.S.PANDURANGA VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA [LAWS(SC)-2013-3-2] [REFERRED TO]
COMPAGNIE NATIONALS AIR FRANCE VS. FIRST INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL [LAWS(CAL)-1961-12-16] [REFERRED TO]
I.T.C. Ltd. VS. Labour Court, Bangalore and others [LAWS(KAR)-1984-6-39] [REFERRED TO]
SUDARSHAN RAJPOOT VS. U P STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORATION [LAWS(SC)-2014-11-34] [REFERRED TO]
HARI NANDAN PRASAD AND ANR. VS. EMPLOYER I/R TO MANAGEMENT OF FCI AND ANR. [LAWS(SC)-2014-1-115] [REFERRED TO]
KRISHAN GOPAL AND ORS. VS. ONGC AND ORS. [LAWS(DLH)-2015-10-101] [REFERRED TO]
INDIAN RAILWAY FINANCE CO. LTD. AND ORS. VS. YATENDER KUMAR SHARMA AND ORS. [LAWS(DLH)-2015-9-387] [REFERRED TO]
PALANPUR MUNICIPALITY THROGH CHIEF OFFICER VS. SECRETARY, BANASKANTHA SAFAI KAMDAR SANGH [LAWS(GJH)-2016-1-259] [REFERRED TO]
NAGAR PALIKA PARISHAD VS. PRESIDING OFFICER, LABOUR COURT AND ANOTHER [LAWS(ALL)-2016-8-47] [REFERRED]
U.P.S.R.T.C. VS. SATISH CHANDRA [LAWS(ALL)-2017-2-156] [REFERRED TO]
J&K BANK LIMITED VS. CENTRAL GOVT INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL AND OTHERS [LAWS(J&K)-2018-4-54] [REFERRED TO]
UTTARAKHAND FOREST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND OTHERS VS. ANOOP CHANDRA BHATT [LAWS(UTN)-2019-3-71] [REFERRED TO]
SUPERINTENDENT ENGINEER VS. RAM SANWAR SINGH [LAWS(ALL)-2019-4-330] [REFERRED TO]
UOI VS. RAJU KUMAR SHAH [LAWS(DLH)-2020-1-51] [REFERRED TO]
UOI VS. RAJU KUMAR SHAH [LAWS(DLH)-2020-1-252] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)These eighteen appeals by special leave raise a common question and will be dealt with by this judgment. The appellants are certain cotton textile mills in Ahmedabad while the respondent in each appeal is the Textile Labour Association, Ahmedabad, which is a representative union of the cotton textile workers in Ahmedabad. The total number of cotton textile mills in Ahmedabad is 66; therefore, 66 references under S. 73-A of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, No. XI of 1947 (hereinafter called the Act), were made to the industrial court for arbitration of disputes arising out of notices of change given by the respondent making a demand for bonus for employees of textile mills in Ahmedabad. It appears that there was an agreement between the Textile Labour Association and the Ahmedabad Mill owners' Association representing the member-mills on June 27, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Agreement), with respect to payment of bonus by the mills to their employees. The Agreement was to remain in force for a period of five years, beginning with January 1, 1953, and ending with December 31, 1957, and related to bonus for the five calendar years from 1953 to 1957 (both inclusive). When the Agreement came to an end disputes arose about bonus for the year 1958. The Agreement was not extended and a notice of change under S. 42 of the Act was given by the Textile Labour Association to the Ahmedabad Mill-owners' Association on July 21, 1959, claiming that all the employees employed during the year 1958 in the member-mills be paid an adequate amount of bonus having regard to the volume of profits, if any, or some bonus irrespective of profits to fill the gap between the existing wage and the living wage so as to avoid unrest among the employees. It further appears that notice in the same terms was given to individual mills about the same time. As no agreement was arrived at between the parties, 66 references with respect to the sixty-six mills were made to the industrial court as already mentioned above. The industrial court considered all the sixty-six references together and came to the conclusion that the Agreement of 1955 had worked fairly to both sides and was substantially in accord with the long-standing practice in the industry in Ahmedabad even before the Agreement and that its extension for one year was essential for keeping industrial peace. It therefore ordered the extension of the Agreement for the year 1958 and directed the parties to file within six weeks from the date of the award calculations of bonus payable for the year 1958 in the light of the decision and thereafter the court would proceed to award appropriate bonus in the case of each individual mill. Thereupon there were fifty-two applications for special leave to appeal to this Court in which special leave was granted. Thirty-four of the appeals arising out of the special leave petitions have been withdrawn and only eighteen now remain for decision. It appears that the remaining fourteen mills accepted the decision of the industrial court, so that now forty-eight mills are out of the picture and only eighteen are before the Court.
(2.)The main contention of the appellants before the industrial court was that in view of the law laid down as to bonus by this Court is Associated Cement Companies Ltd. v. The Workmen, 1959 SCR 925: (AIR 1959 SC 967), it was not open to it to extend the Agreement for the year1958 as that would be against the concept of bonus as understood in industrial law. The same point is being urged before us and the question that falls for decision is whether the industrial court was right in law in extending the Agreement for another year.
(3.)In order to appreciate the dispute between the parties with respect to the extension of the Agreement we may refer to the salient terms of the Agreement. Before we do so, we may mention that the Agreement was "without renouncing the general principles enunciated in decisions and awards of the arbitration boards, the industrial court, the Labour Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme court in respect of bonus or the rights and privilages created thereunder". It was entered into only with a view to creating goodwill among workers and for the purpose of maintaining peace in the industry and without creating a precedent for the future. The Agreement in the first place provided that the claim of the employees for bonus would only arise if there is an available surplus of profit after making provision for all the prior charges. These prior charges were : (i) statutory depreciation and the development rebate; (ii) taxes; (iii) reserve for rehabilitation, replacement and modernisation of block as calculated by the industrial court (basic year 1947); (iv) six per centum return on paid-up capital including bonus shares; and (v) two per cent, return on reserves employed as working capital. After the available surplus was determined thus, a mill having an available surplus of profit had to pay to its employees bonus which would in no case be less than an amount equivalent to 4.8% of basic wages earned during the year; nor was it to exceed an amount equivalent to 25% of the basic wages earned during the year. It was also provided that in case the available surplus was more than sufficient for granting bonus at a higher figure than the ceiling of twenty-five per centum of basic wages earned during the year and the maximum bonus of 25 per centum was paid, such a mill would be deemed to have set aside a part of the residue of available surplus after grant of maximum bonus not exceeding 25 per cent, of the basic wages earned during the year as a reserve for bonus for purposes of "set on" (adjustment) in subsequent years. Secondly it was provided that where in the case of a mill, the available surplus was not more than the ceiling of 25 per cent, of basic wages fixed for bonus, the bonus would be fixed after deducting at least Rs. 10,000/- from the available surplus. Further it was provided that if a mill had an available surplus of profits which would suffice to pay bonus at a rate lower than the minimum of 4.8 per cent, it would pay the minimum and would be entitled to set off the excess amount thus paid against the available surplus in a subsequent year or years and there were provisions how this set-off would be worked out, Lastly it was provided that if the profits of a mill were not sufficient to provide for all prior charges as mentioned above, though it had made profits, or where the mill had actually suffered a loss, such a mill would as a special case for creating goodwill among its workers and for continuing peace in the industry but without creating a precedent pay to its employees the minimum bonus equivalent to 4.8 per cent, of the basic wages but would be entitled to set off this amount towards any available surplus in any subsequent years, subject, however, always to a payment of a minimum bonus at the rate of 4.8 per cent, of basic wages earned during the year.
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