Decided on September 03,1974

Phoenix Plywood, Kottayam Appellant
The Industrial Tribunal, Alleppey Respondents


K.BHASKARAN,J. - (1.) EXT .P -1 order in M.P,No.26 of 1970 in I.D.No.29 of 1970 on the file of the first respondent,Industrial Tribunal,Alleppey,has given rise to this writ petition.The petitioner seeks to have Ext.P -1 quashed,and also to have a direction to the first respondent to grant approval under section 33(2 )(b)of the Industrial Disputes Act,hereinafter referred to as the Act,for dismissal of respondents 2 to 12.
(2.) THE facts leading to the filing of this writ petition could be stated briefly as follows:"The petitioner is the Managing Partner of the firm ˜Phoenix Plywood,Kottayam &rsquo ;,manufacturing plywood products.Respondents 2 to 12 were employees working in the general section of the factory.In April 1970 there appears to have cropped up some dispute regarding the manner in which respondents 2 to 12,deputed for work in the Veneer Taping Section of the factory,should have kept the diaries.Originally the employees themselves were making entries in the diaries and were keeping the same with them,The purpose of this diary was to enable the management to work out the cost of production.Later on,the management having found that the employees were concealing the diaries,and the diaries were not forthcoming for the purpose for which they were introduced,another system by which the supervisor in charge of the section used to have the diary prepared in loose sheets on the basis of the observation he made during inspection was tried.This came into vogue early in April 1970.On 10th April 1970 a further change in the system was brought about by the management and by this the workers were required to sign below the entries made by the supervisor in the loose sheets -diaries.The workers protested against this procedure contending,inter alia,that they had no occasion to consult their Union about the feasibility of doing so.This resistance on the part of the workers was considered by the management as an act violative of clause 32(a)of the Standing Orders of the Company which reads as follows:" Misconduct shall include the following acts or omissions(a)insubordination or disobedience whether alone or in combination with another or others to any lawful order of a Superior. The workers who declined to sign the diaries,respondents 2 to 12,were suspended;six on 6th May 1970,and the remaining five on 7th May 1970.Subsequently charge memos were issued to six of the workers on 12th May 1970,and to the remaining five on 13th May 1970.The.enquiry was to be conducted by one Sree Joseph Mackil,who,it is stated,was the legal advisor of the company,and also the Joint Secretary of the Kottayam Plywood Manufacturers ™Association.On 25th June 1970,while the enquiry was in progress,the workers refused to participate in the further proceedings stating that they had objection to the manner in which the enquiry was being conducted.On 26th June 1970 the enquiry was completed without the delinquent workers participating in the proceedings;and the enquiry officer having found the workers guilty,recommended that the appropriate punishment to be meted out to them would be dismissal from service.
(3.) THE reference of the dispute which forms the subject -matter of I.D.No.29 of 1970 was made by the Government by its order dated 3rd July 1970 which was duly communicated to the petitioner.It was while that dispute was actually pending,on 9th July 1970,as per a series of dismissal orders,marked as Exhibits W -8 series before the first respondent Tribunal,that the management terminated the services of respondents 2 to 12.The management having found later that in view of the pendency of I.D.No.29 of 1970 it was incumbent on its part to get approval under section 33(2 )(b)of the Act,passed orders marked before the Tribunal as Ext.P -20 series dated 30th July 1970,dismissing respondents 2 to 12 from service;and it also sought approval of the 1st respondent Tribunal for that action.When the approval application came up before the Tribunal,the workers contended that the approval could not be granted because the order dated 9th July 1970 was not superseded or cancelled and that while it stood intact,there was no scope for issuing a further dismissal order.It was also contended that the enquiry officer was biased as against them and the punishment awarded was shockingly disproportionate to the alleged acts of misconduct with which they were charged.The Tribunal by Ext.P -1 order upheld all the contentions raised by respondents 2 to 12 herein and declined to grant approval as prayed for by the petitioner.;

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