INDIAN DETONATORS LIMITED KUKATPALLI Vs. INDIAN DETONATORS LIMITED WORKERS UNION
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
INDIAN DETONATORS LTD., KUKATPALLI
INDIAN DETONATORS LTD., WORKERS, UNION
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(1.)The Indian Detonators Limited is the petitioner in this application for the issue of a writ of Certiorari in which a decision of the Industrial Tribunal, Hyderabad is questioned. The case of the petitioner is as follows:---- There was an Industrial Dispute between the Indian Detonators Limited and its workmen, represented by the Indian Detonators Limited Employees Union. the Industrial Dispute was referred by the Government to the Industrial Tribunal for adjudication. Before the Tribunal could take up the dispute for adjudication the parties, that is, the management and the Employees Union arrived at a settlement which they agreed should be in force till 30-6-1969. One of the terms of the settlement was that the workmen should not, during the period of operation of the settlements, make any demands involving a financial burden on the management. The parties requested the Tribunal to pass an award in terms of the settlement and the Tribunal did so on 29-4-1966. On 16-6-1967, a rival and newly registered Union called the Indian Detonators Limited Workers Union Presented a charter of demands to the Management. Some of the demands involved financial burden on the management. Conciliation proceedings failed and the Conciliation Officer submitted a report to that effect to the Government. At that stage the Government entertained a doubt whether the settlement embodied a doubt whether the settlement embodied in the award of 29-4-1966 would be in force till 30-6-1969 or whether it would be in force for a period of one year only form the date of award. The Government therefore referred the question for the decision of the Tribunal under Section 36-A of the Industrial Disputes Act. The Tribunal held tht the necessary consequence of the settlement merging in the award was that it would be in force for a period of one year only form the date of award. The management questions the decision of the Tribunal and contends that the award was in force till 30-6-1969.
(2.)The worker Union submits that the earlier settlement was a collusive settlement between the management and the Employees Union and that the Employees Union represented no more than 15 out of 558 workmen and all the 15 were drivers of motor vehicles. On the other hand the Worker Union represented 507 out of 558 workmen. The period for which an award may be in force id determined by statute and it is not open to the management to bargain out of the statute.
(3.)In order to appreciate the question at issue it is necessary to refer to a few statutory provisions. The definition of a settlement in Section 2(p) of the Act comprehends a settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceeding as well as a written agreement between the employer ad the workmen arrived at otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceedings. Under Section 12 of the Act it is the duty of the Conciliation Officer to endeavor to induce the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of an existing or an apprehended industrial dispute. Without delay, he is not investigate the dispute and all matters affecting the merits and the right settlement of the dispute. he is to report to the Government whether a settlement is arrived at or not. if he reports that there is no settlement , the Government is to decide whether a reference is to be made to a Tribunal. Board, or Labour Court Section 10 authorises the Government not refer any existing or apprehended industrial dispute for adjudication to a Tribunal, Board or Labour Court. Section 15 prescribed the duties of a Tribunal and Section 16(2) prescribes the form of the award of a Tribunal. Section 2(b) defines an award as meaning an interim or a final determination of any industrial dispute or any question relating thereto. Section 18 provides that a settlement arrived at by an agreement between the employer and the workmen otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceedings shall be binding on the parties to the agreement. Where, however, a settlement is arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings or where a Tribunal makes an award, the settlement or award shall be binding not only on the parties to the dispute, but, where one of the parties is composed of workmen it shall also be binding on all persons employed in the establishment or part of the establishment, as the case may be, on the date of the dispute and all persons who subsequently become employed in that establishment or part. Thus while a settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings and an award are binding on every workman of the establishment a settlement arrived at otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceedings is binding only on the parties to the agreement. This distinction of great importance. Under Section 19, a settlement, whether it is arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings or otherwise than in the course of conciliation proceedings, comes into operation on the date agreed upon by the parties to the dispute and shall be binding for the period agreed upon by the parties. If no date or period are agreed upon it shall come into operation on the date on which the memorandum is signed by the parties and shall be binding for a period of six months from that date. An award of a Tribunal, however, becomes enforceable on the expriy of 30 days form the date of publication of the award by the Government. This is provided by Section 17(a) of the Act. Section 19(3) of the Act provides that the award shall remain in operation for period of one year form the date on which the award becomes enforceable. The government is clothed with the power to reduce the period during which an award shall remain in operation. The Government is also vested with the power to extend the period of operation of an award by any period not exceeding one year at a time. So, however , that the total period of operation of an award does not exceed three years.
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