(1.) THE petitioners are the secretary of the Cochin Dock Labour Union and five other individual workmen employed under the Cochin Dock Labour Board. Respondent 1 is the Cochin Dock Labour Board and respondent 2 is its administrative body, namely, the United Stevedore Association of Cochin (Private), Ltd. , represented by its president. The reliefs sought in this writ petition are: (1) a declaration that Ex. P. 6 (a) resolution passed by respondent 1 board at its meeting dated 8 December 1968 is illegal, inoperative and void and all actions by the respondents under Ex. P. 6 (a) are also illegal and void; (2) a write of mandamus directing respondent 2 not to treat petitioners 2 to 6 and dock workers similarly situated as having abandoned service in pursuance of Ex. P. 6 (a) resolution ; and (3) a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, order or direction quashing Ex. P. 6 (a) resolution or to grant; such other reliefs that are deemed fit and just in the circumstances of the case.
(2.) WHEN this writ petition came on for hereing on 17 February 1957, counsel for respondent 2 prayed for time to file a counter-affidavit. Counsel for respondent 1 also stated that it might become necessary to traverse the allegations in the additional affidavit of the petitioners dated 8 February 1937 filed on 9 February 1967, and to counter the effect of Ex. P. 8 filed along with the same. It was then represented by Sri T. C. N. Menon, counsel for the petitioners, that no reliance would be placed on the additional affidavit dated 8 February 1957 or on Es. P. 8 filed along with it. It was also stated by Sri Menon that no reliance would be placed on the allegations made against respondent 2 in the affidavits of the petitioner, and no reliefs will be claimed against respondent 2. These were recorded by me, and it was stated, that in the circumstances, it seemed unnecessary for respondent 2 to file any counter-affidavit, or for either respondent 1 or 2 to file any rejoinder to the additional affidavit of the petitioners. Arguments ware then addressed.
(3.) THERE has been a great deal of controversy and dispute in regard to the facts alleged in the petitioners' affidavit or stated by petitioners' counsel. Broadly stated, the position disclosed is as follows. Respondent 1 board IB governed by the provisions of the Cochin Dock Works (Regulation of Employment) Scheme, 1959, framed under the provisions of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948 (Central Act 9 of 1918 ). By an award in Industrial Dispute No. 3 of 1961, dated 18 October 1962, about 1,800 dock workers wore registered, according to the terms of the award, and respondent 1 board began to employ the workman from about 6 November 1962. Till then the stevedoring work in the board, which is casual in nature, used to be undertaken by casual workmen supplied for the purpose by two unions, namely, the Cochin Tauramugha Thozhilali Union and the Cochin Port Thozhilali Union. Petitioner 1 was registered as a union some-time in 1963, and, according to respondent 1, it wrote for the first time, for being considered for recognition on 13 March 1964. Respondent 1 board seems to have taken up this matter of recognition of the union with the Government of India, and by Ex. R. 1 letter, dated 9 June 1965 of the Government of India to the president of petitioner 1 union, it was stated that the question of recognition of the union should be taken up only after the code of discipline was made applicable to the Dock Labour Board. According to the petitioner, more than 000 dock workers are members of petitioner 1 union. This is denied by respondent 1, According to the petitioner again, respondent 1 was insisting that the recruitment of casual workmen should be done only through either of the two unions through which it was done till 1962, and was also harassing petitioner 1 union. Petitioner 1 union, therefore, issued a notice of strike on 30 October 1966 intimating that the registered dock workers represented by it, would commence an indefinite strike from 1 December 1966. A conciliation conference was called by the Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, Ernakulam, on 30 November 1966 to make attempts for an amicable settlement of the dispute. Owing to the non-co-operative attitude of respondent 1 as alleged by the petitioners, the conciliation conference resulted eventually in Ex. P. 1 failure report dated 9 December 1966 of the conciliation officer. These have been recounted in Paras. 9 and 10 of the petitioner's affidavit. In answer, respondent 1 has alleged in Para. 11 of the counter-affidavit, that the strike notice dated 30 October 1966 did not specify the demands of Union workmen, which was done only dated letter dated 8 November 1966, sent by the union. It, is alleged that the union and its members were adopting an obstructive attitude, and that as petitioner 1 union was not a recognized union, there was no question of carrying on any correspondence with if.;