The Newspapers Ltd. Vs. The State
Industrial Tribunal, U.P  INSC 24 (20 March 1957)
BHAGWATI, NATWARLAL H.
SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.
CITATION: 1957 AIR 532 1957 SCR 754
Industrial Dispute, Meaning of-Dispute between
employer and a single workman - Whether industrial dipute-Government making
reference on the assumption that a dispute exists between the, employer and his
workmen-Whether validity of the reference can be questioned -U . P. Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947 (U.P. XXVIII of 1947), SS. 2, 3-Industrial Disputes Act,
1947 (XIV Of 1947), S. 2 (k).
A dispute between an employer and a single
workman does not fall within the definition of " industrial dispute "
under the U.P. industrial Disputes Act, 1947. But though the applicability of
the Act to an individual dispute as opposed to a dispute involving a group of
workmen is excluded, if the workmen as a body or a consicrerable section of
them make common cause with the individual workman then such a dispute would be
an industrial dispute.
755 Central Provinces Transport Service Ltd.
v Raghunath Gopal Patwardhan, (1956) S. C. R. 956 and D. N. Banerji v. P. R. Mukherjee,
(1953) S.C.R. 302, referred to. Swadeshi Cotton Mills Co. Ltd. v. Their Workmen,
(1953) I L.L.J. 757, in so far as it decided that a dispute raised by an,
individual workman is within an industrial dispute, disapproved.
The third respondent was employed as a lino
typist by the appellant company but on allegations of incompetence he was
dismissed from service. His case was not taken up by any union of workers of
the appellant company nor by any of the unions of workmen employed in similar
or-allied trades, but the U.P. Working journalists Union, Lucknow, with which
the third respondent had no connection took the matter to the Conciliation
Board, Allahabad, and - ultimately the Government made a reference to the
Industrial Tribunal by a notification in which one of the points for
determination referred was as to- whether the services of the third respondent
were wrongfully terminated by the management.
The legality of the reference was challenged
by the appellant and the question was raised as to whether a dispute between an
employer and a single workman falls within the definition of "industrial
dispute" under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Held, that the reference was bad because the
dispute was not between the employer on the one hand and his workmen on the
other, nor could the U.P. Working journalists Union be called " his
workmen ", within the meaning of the U. P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Though the making of a reference by the
Government under the Act is the exercise of its administrative powers, an
aggrieved party can question the jurisdiction of the Industrial Tribunal to
show that what was referred was not an industrial dispute.
State of Madras v. C. P. Sarathy, (1953)
S.C.R. 334, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 213 of 1956.
Appeal from the judgment and decree dated
Septem. ber 22, 1954, of the Allahabad High Court in Special Appeal No. 8 of
1954 arising out of the judgment and decree dated January 6, 1954 of the said
High Court in Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No. 651 of 1953.
S. P. Sinha and S. N. Mukherjee, for the
G. G. Mathur and C. P. Lal, for respondent
756 1957. March 20. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by KAPUR J.-The ground on which the appellant company seeks to
have the order of the Industrial Tribunal set aside is that no industrial
'dispute existed within the meaning of the expression as used in the U.P.
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (XXVIII of 1947) (hereinafter called the U.P.
Act) and consequently the U.P. Government had no power to make the reference in
question. I Industrial Dispute' is defined in s. 2 of the U.P. Act as having
the same meaning assigned to it as in s. 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
(here- inafter termed the Central Act). There this expression has been defined
in s. 2 (k) to mean :
" any dispute or difference between
employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen
and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non- employment or the
terms of employment or with the conditions of labour, of any person. " The
controversy between the parties arose in the following circumstances:
Tajammul Hussain, respondent No. 3 was employed
as a lino typist by the appellant company. He was dismissed on May 8, 1952, on,
allegations of incompetence under r. 12 (ii) of the Standing Orders of the
appellant company. It was alleged that the dismissal of Respondent No. 3 was
welcomed by his co-workers and other workmen in the employ of the appellant
company and they made no grievance of it, nor did they espouse his cause.
The case of respondent No. 3 was not taken up
by any union of workers of the appellant company nor by any of the unions of workmen
employed in similar or allied trades, but the U.P. Working Journalists Union,
Lucknow, with which respondent No. 3 had no connection whatsoever, took the
matter to the Conciliation Board, Allahabad. Ultimately, the U.P. Government
made a reference to the Industrial Tribunal on June 3, 1953, by notification;
the prefatory words of which are:
757 " Whereas an industrial dispute in
respect of the matters hereinafter specified exists between the concern known
as Newspapers Ltd., Allahabad and its workmen; and whereas in the opinion of
the Governor it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order and I
for maintaining employment.
One of the questions referred was:- "'
Whether the services of Sri Tajammul Hussain Lino Operator were wrongfully
terminated by the Management On February 13, 1953, the State Industrial
Tribunal at Allahabad decided in favour of respondent No. 3 and ordered his
reinstatement " without break of continuity of service " and also
ordered the payment of his wages for the period during which he "remained
dismissed". An appeal was taken by the appellant company to the Labour
Appellate Tribunal, who by its ,order dated February 24, 1953, affirmed the
order of the Tribunal with costs. The appellant company then moved a petition
in the Allahabad High Court under Art.
226 of the Constitution but this was
dismissed by Bhargava J. on January 6, 1954, and a Special appeal against this
judgment was also dismissed. The appellant company has come up in appeal with a
certificate under Art. 133 (1) (c) of the Constitution.
The controversy which arises in this case is
whether a dispute between an employer and a single workman falls within the
definition of I industrial dispute' as used in the U.P. Act. In order to
resolve this controversy, it is necessary to refer to the scheme of the U.P.
Act and the relevant rules made there under. The preamble of the Act runs:
" to provide for powers to prevent strikes and look- outs, and for the
settlement of industrial disputes and other incidental matters ". Section
3 of the Act confers certain powers on the State Government for the purpose of
prevention of strikes, lock-outs, etc.- The portion of this section relevant
for the purpose of this appeal reads as follows:
If in the opinion of the State Government, it
is necessary or expedient so to do for securing the public safety or
convenience, or the maintenance of public 758 order or supplies and services
essential to the life of the community, or for maintaining employment, it may,
by general or special order, make provision- (c) for appointing industrial
(d) for referring any industrial dispute for
conciliation or adjudication in the manner provided in the order (g) for any
incidental or supplementary matters, which appear to the State Government
necessary or expedient for the purpose of the order; " Under s. 23 of the
Act, the State Government can make rules consistent with the Act for giving
effect to the provisions of the Act.
Under clauses (b), (c), (d) and (g) of s. 3
and under s. 8 of the U.P. Act, rules governing Conciliation Boards and
Industrial Tribunals in U.P. were promulgated by Notification No. 615 (LL)
XVIII-7 (LL)-1951, dated Lucknow, March 15, 1951. Rule 4 deals with the
reference of disputes to Conciliation Boards. The relevant portions of this
,,Any workman or an employer or a registered
association or trade union of employers or registered trade union of workmen or
any federation of such associations or trade unions or where no registered
trade union of workmen exists in any particular concern or industry, the
representatives not more than 5 in number of the workmen in that concern or the
industry, duly elected in this behalf by a majority of the workmen employed in
that concern or industry, as the case may be, at a meeting held for the
purpose, may by application in writing move a Conciliation Officer of the area
for settlement of any industrial dispute by conciliation. The application shall
clearly state the industrial dispute or disputes. " Rule 5 deals with proceedings
and the power of inclusion of other undertakings. The proviso to this rule is:
" Provided that if the Board of its own
motion or on an application made to it, is of the opinion that any question
involved in any such dispute or matter affects or is likely to affect more than
one workman in the same concern or industry or business or more 759 than one
concern in the same industry or business, constituted within the jurisdiction
of the Conciliation Board, it shall include in its proceedings relating to such
dispute or order every such workman or concern or where there is a registered
trade union covering the, majority of such concerns of workmen, such trade
unions." Rules 7 to 11-A deal with Industrial Tribunals. Rule 10 gives
power to the Government to make a reference of any dispute to the Industrial
Tribunal either on its own motion or after considering the Report of the
Conciliation Board made under r. 6. Rule 15(1) which deals with the
representation of parties to the dispute provides:
" The parties may in their discretion be
represented before a Board or Tribunal or an Adjudicator- (1) In the case of a
workman by- (a) an officer of a registered trade union of which he is a member;
(b) an officer of a federation of trade
unions to which the trade union referred to in sub-clause (a) is affiliated ;
(c) Where the workman is not a member of any
registered trade union, by an officer of any registered trade union connected
with, or by any other workman employed in the same industry or business, if so
authorised in writing by the workman." The language of section 36(1) of
the Central Act is almost identical.
Rule 27 prohibits strikes and look-outs; and
r. 28 gives finality and conclusiveness to the orders made or directions given.
The use of the word 'workmen' in the plural
in the definition of industrial dispute' does not by itself exclude the
applicability of the Act to an individual dispute because under a. 13(2) of the
General Clauses Act subject.............
(2) words in the singular shall include the
plural and vice versa," 760 But in order to get its true import it is
necessary to view the enactment in retrospect, the reasons-for enacting it, the
evils it was to end and the objects it was to suberve.
The Act has therefore to be viewed as a whole
and its intention determined by construing all the constituent parts of the Act
together and not by taking detached sections or to take one word here and
another there. Exposition " ex viscera bus actus " is applicable.
Lincoln College's Case (1).
So construed the provisions of the U.P. Act
show that the machinery of the Act has been devised with the object of
maintaining industrial peace so as to prevent interference with public safety
or public order or with the maintenance of supplies and services essential to
the life of the community or of employment. The Act is based on the necessity
of achieving collective amity between labour and capital by means of
conciliation, mediation and adjudication. The object of the Act is the
prevention of industrial strife, strikes and lock-outs and the promotion of
industrial peace and not to take the place of the ordinary tribunals of the
land for the enforcement of contracts between an employer and an individual
Thus viewed the provisions of the Act lead to
the conclusion that its applicability to an individual dispute as opposed to
dispute involving a group of workmen is excluded unless it acquires the general
characteristics of an industrial dispute, viz., the workmen as a body or a
considerable section of them make common cause with the individual workman and
thus create conditions contemplated by s. 3 of the U.P. Act which is the
foundation of State Governmental action under that Act. The other provisions
which follow that section only subserve the carrying out of the objects of the
Acts specified therein.
The use of the word workman in the singular
in rr. 4, 5 and 15 forms the basis of the argument for the inclusion of an
individual dispute in the expression industrial dispute.
But this suffers from more infirmities than
one. Rule 4 authorises a workman to (1) 3 Co. Rep. 58: 76 E. R. 764.
761 apply to a Conciliation Officer for the
settlement of an industrial dispute. The meaning sought to be given to this
word is inconsistent with the language of the latter part of that rule;
or where no registered trade union of workmen
exists in any concern or industry, the representatives not more than 5 in
number of the workmen............ duly elected." The first proviso to r. 5
is no surer foundation for the argument because in the context it can only be
interpreted to mean that, should there be an industrial dispute then all
workmen who may individually be the cause of the dispute or are to be affected
by its decision should get notices of the proceedings. Similarly, r. 15 only
provides for the representation of " a workman " even if he is only
one by an officer of a trade union or other person mentioned in the rule.
Besides, s. 13(2) of the General Clauses Act as to the interpretation of the
singular and the plural consider- ably reduces the efficacy of the argument,
which altogether loses its force in view of r. 26 which is as follows :
" During the pendency of any
conciliation proceeding or proceedings before the Tribunal or an Adjudicator in
respect of any dispute an employer shall not (a) alter to the prejudice of the
workmen concerned in such dispute the conditions of service applicable to them
immediately before the commencement of such proceedings or (b) discharge or
punish, whether such punishment is by dismissal or otherwise, any workman
concerned in such dispute save with the express permission in writing of a
Conciliation Officer of the area concerned irrespective of the fact whether the
dispute is pending before a Board or the Tribunal or an Adjudicator." The
use of the words " workmen" and " workman in the above rule is
indicative of the intention of the Act being applicable to collective disputes
and not to individual ones, and this is fortified by the finality and the
binding effect to awards by r. 28 and more specially by a. 18 of the Central
Act which makes 98 762 awards binding not only on the individuals present or
represented but on all the workmen employed in the establishment and even on
Another objection to reading these rules in
the manner above suggested is that it would be tantamount to enlarging the
scope of the expression 'industrial dispute' and the powers conferred on the
State Government under s. 3 of the U. P. Act. The executive cannot under the
power of framing rules and regulations clothe itself with powers which the
Statute itself does not give and which are inconsistent with the interpretation
put on the expression 'industrial dispute'.
The cardinal rule in regard to promulgation
of bye-laws or making rules is that they must be legi fidei rationi consona,
and therefore all regulations which are contrary or repugnant to statutes under
which they are made are ineffective. If the expression I industrial dispute' as
ordinarily understood and, construed conveys a dispute between an employer on
the one hand and the workmen acting collectively on the other, then the
definition of those words cannot be widened by a statutory rule or regulation
promulgated under the Statute or by Executive fiat.
I The notification in the present case was
under s. 3(c), (d) and (g) and under s. 8 which deal with (c) the appointment
of industrial Courts, (d) referring any industrial disputes and (g) incidental
or supplementary matters. The Executive may in the exercise of these powers
make such regulations which are necessary but under that garb it cannot extend
the definition of the term industrial disputes, nor is this extended meaning
necessary to sub serve the objects of the Act.
I In our opinion therefore rules- 4, 5 and 15
of the Rules cannot be a valid foundation for sustaining the argument raised
that an individual dispute was within the definition of 'industrial dispute'.
Ordinarily, an award of a tribunal binds or affects the rights of parties to
the proceedings but awards of Industrial Tribunals have extended implications
and may affect the rights of all workmen of a concern or undertaking end even
the future entrants. This doctrine of 763 representation which enlarges the
meaning of 'parties' in the U.P. & Central Acts is an essential idea
associated with industrial disputes and support-, collectiveness as opposed to
individualism. See Latham C. J. in Metal Trades Employers Association v.
Amalgamated Engineering Union(1).
Then there is the prohibition under r. 26 of
the U.P. Act and s. 33 of the Central Act against any change in conditions of
service during the pendency of the proceedings the object of which is to ensure
discipline and industrial truce during that period which also supports the
basic idea of collectiveness in 'industrial disputes'.
In Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd.
V. Raghunath Gopal Patwardhan (2), this Court observed that decided cases in
India disclose three views as to the meaning of 'industrial dispute' (i) a
dispute between an employer and a single workman cannot be an 'industrial
(ii) it can be an industrial dispute; and
(iii) it cannot per se be an industrial dispute but may become one if taken up
by a trade union or a number of workmen.
This Court discussed the scope of industrial
dispute as defined in s. 2(k), of the Central Act, and after referring to the
conflict of judicial opinion as to its applicability to the case of a dispute
between an employer and a single workman further observed:
of the last of the three views stated above, and
there is considerable reason behind it. Notwithstanding that the language of s.
2(k) is wide enough to cover a dispute between an employer and a single
employee, the scheme of the Industrial Disputes Act does appear to contemplate
that- the machinery provided therein should be set in motion, to settle only
disputes which involve the rights of workmen as a class and that a dispute
touching the individual rights of a workman was not intended to be the subject
of an adjudication under the Act, when the same had not been taken up by the
union or a number of workmen." (1)  54 C.L.R. 387.
(2)  S.C.R. 956.
764 Although the question did not directly
arise, this Court in D . N. Banerji v. P. R. Mukherjee and others(1) discussed
the meaning of the expression 'industrial dispute' and was of the opinion that
it "conveys the meaning to the ordinary mind that the dispute must be such
as would affect large groups of workmen and employers ranged on opposite
sides...... But at the same time, having regard to the modern conditions of
society where capital an labour have organised themselves into groups for the
purpose of fighting their disputes and settling them on the basis of the theory
that in union is strength, and collective bargaining has come to stay, a single
employee's. case might develop into an industrial dispute, when as often
happens, it is taken up by the trade union of which he is a member and there is
a concerted demand by the employees for redress".
This view is in consonance with the basic
idea underlying modern industrial legislation. The interpretation given to the
corresponding phrase "trade dispute" in English law and
"industrial dispute" in Australian Law also accords with this view
and in the absence of an express provision to the contrary or necessary
intendment there is no reason to give a different interpretation to the
expression in the Indian Statute.
According to English decisions an individual
dispute of a workman is not included in 'trade dispute' which corresponds to
'Industrial Dispute' in the Indian Act. In the English Trade Disputes Act of
1906 and 1919 as also in Reg. 58-AA of the Defence (General) Regulation, 1939,
'trade dispute' was defined in language very similar to 'industrial dispute' in
the Indian Statute. Dealing with a trade dispute, Lord Shaw in Conway v, Wade
" But I cannot see my way to hold that
"trade dispute" necessarily includes accordingly every case of person
al difference between any one workman and one or more of his fellows. It is
true that after a, certain stage even such a dispute, although originally
grounded, (1)  S.C.R. 302, 310.
(2)  A.C, 596, 520.
765 it may be, upon personal animosity, may
come to be a subject in which sides are taken, and may develop into a situation
of a general aspect containing the characteristics of a trade dispute; but
until it reaches that stage I cannot hold that a trade dispute necessarily
exists." Lord Wright observed in National Association of Local Government
Officers v. Bolton Corporation (1) " I think the same may be said of the
Industrial Courts Act and of reg. 58-AA, in both of which the word 'trade' is
used in the very wide connotation which it bears in the modem legislation
dealing with conditions of employment, particularly in relation to matters of
collective bargaining and the like.." Ex parte Keable Press Ltd.(2) was an
instance of an individual dispute developing into a 'trade dispute' because. of
the strike by a union to enforce the rein- statement of dismissed workman. That
was how this term (trade dispute) was interpreted by the Court of Appeal in R.
v. National Arbitration Tribunal(3) after
taking into consideration the definition of the word 'dispute'.
In Australian cases also, without specific
reference to any definition of the phrase the courts have excluded individual
disputes from the scope of industrial disputes. In Jumbunna Coal Mine v.
Victorian Coal Miners Association (4), Griffths C.J. observed:
" An industrial dispute exists where a
considerable number- of employees engaged in some branch of industry make
common cause in demanding from or refusing to their employers (whether one or
more) some change in the conditions of employment which is denied to them...................................................
" Similarly in Federated Saw Mills & Co. Employees of Australasia v.
James Moore & Son Proprietory Ltd. (5), Griffths C.J. gave the
characteristics of an industrial dispute as follows:
" It is necessary at the outset to
consider the meaning which the term 'industrial dispute' conveyed (1) 
A.C. 166, 185.
(2)  2 All E.R. 633.
(3)  2 All E.R. 828.
(4)  6 C.L.R. 309, 332.
(5)  8 C.L.R. 465, 487, 488.
766 in 1900 to the, minds of persons
conversant with the English language.....................
"The word 'industrial denotes two
qualities which distinguish them from ordinary private disputes between
individuals, namely (2) that on one side at least of the dispute the disputants
are a body of men acting collectively and not individually." Isaacs J. in
George Hudson Ltd. v.
Australian Timber Workers' Union(1) stated:
"The very nature of an 'industrial
dispute', as distinguished from an individual dispute, is to obtain new industrial
conditions, not merely for the specific individuals then working It is
&'battle by the claimants, not for themselves alone and not as against the
respondents alone, but by the claimants so far. as they represent their class
According to Griffths C.J. "The term- "industrial dispute"
connotes a, real and substantial difference having some element of persistency,
and likely, if not adjusted, to endanger the industrial peace of the
community". Vide Federated Saw Mills Case(2) at p. 488. The same meaning
was attached to the expression by Latham C.J. in Metal Traders Employers
Association v. Amwlgamated Engineering Union(3) at p. 403:
"Industrial disputes are essentially
group contests-there is always an industrial group on at least one side. A
claim of an individual employee against his employer is not in itself an
industrial dispute We shall now refer to the Indian decisions which bear on
Rajamannar C.J. in Kandan Textile Ltd. v. The
Industrial Tribunal,,Madras and another(4) held that the definition of
industrial dispute is wide enough to cover a dispute between an employer and an
individual workman but taking into consideration s. 18 of the Central Act he
was of the opinion that such an extended definition cannot be given to it in s.
2(k) of the Central Act. Mack J. agreed with
the decision of Rajamannar C. J. but he said that the case of an English
language., (1) (1923] 32 C.L.R. 413, 441.
(2)  8 C.L.R. 465, 487, 488.
(3)  54 C.L.R. 387, 403.
(4) A.I.R. 1951 Madras 616.
767 individual workman if taken up by the
worker's union makes such a dispute an industrial dispute. In that case 1 1
items of difference were referred to the Industrial Tribunal., One of the items
in dispute was the wrongful removal of a workman, Sundaram by name. In the',
High Court an objection was taken to the legality of the award on the ground
that no industrial dispute existed and that there was no material before the
Government on the basis of which it could make a reference. It was held that
the dispute as to a single workman was not an industrial dispute. Kandan
Textile Ltd. case (1) was followed in United Commercial Bank, Ltd. v. The
Commissioner of Labour, Madras (2) which was a case under s. 41 of the Madras
Shops and Establishments Act and the right of appeal given to an individual
employee against the order of the employer dispensing with his services under
s. 41(2) of Madras Shops and Establishments Act was challenged on the ground
that it had been taken away by the Central Act. It was held that an individual
worker had the right to appeal. Vishwanatha Sastri J. in his judgment referred
with approval to the distinction made between an individual dispute and an
industrial dispute in Kandan Textile Ltd. v. Industrial Tribunal, Madras
The second view that such a dispute falls
within the definition of the word "industrial dispute" is supported
by a decision of a Full Bench of the Labour Appellate Tribunal- Swadeshi Cotton
Mills Co. Ltd. v. Their Workmen (3) There the question was mainly decided on
the- basis of s. 33-A of the Central Act (introduced in 1950) which gives the
right to an individual workman dismissed or dealt with contrary to s. 33 of the
Act during an industrial dispute to raise the matter before a tribunal. The
introduction of s. 33-A would not alter the construction to be placed on the
phrase 'industrial dispute'. On the contrary it supports the view that an
individual dispute is not comprised in that phrase.
In view of what has been said above, we are
of the opinion that in so far as that case lay& down (3)  1 L.L.J.
768 that a dispute raised by an individual
workman as to his personal grievance is within an industrial dispute, it cannot
be said to have been correctly decided.
The cases which support the third view are
J. Chowdhury v. M. C. Bannerjee (1) Was a
case in which a lino operator was removed from service on the ground of his
negligence and arrears of work. The matter was referred to the Industrial
Tribunal under the Central Act. The Management moved the High Court under Art.
226 of the Constitution and s. 45 of the Specific Relief Act and it was held
that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter as on a perusal
of the various sections of the Central Act including ss. 10 and 18 the dispute
of an individual workman was not covered by the term industrial dispute.' In
Bilash Chandra Mitra v. Balmer Lawrie & Co.
a suit was brought for the recovery of
arrears of wages on the basis of an award of an Industrial Tribunal and one -of
the issues raised was' whether an 'individual dispute' fell within 'industrial
dispute'. Following the judgment in I.
Chowdhury v. M. C. Bannerjee (1), Bose J.
held that it did not.
Another case in which this view was held is
N. 1. Assurance Co. v. C. G. I. Tribunal (3). There the Government referred the
question of dismissal of an employee of an Assurance Co.
and it was not proved that his case was taken
up by the employees association. The same view was adopted in Standard Vacuum
Oil Co. v. Industrial Tribunal (4).
In Lakshmi Talkies, Madras v. Munuswami and
Others (5), Balakrishna Ayyar J. held that an industrial dispute' arises where
a case of an individual workman is espoused by a union. The same view was taken
in Lynus & Co. v. Hemanta Kumar Samanta (6).
The view taken in these cases is in accord
with the interpretation we have put on the expression 'Industrial dispute' as
defined in the U. P. Act or the Central Act.
(1)  55 C.W.N. 256.
(2)  A? C.W.N. tog.
(3) [l953] I.L.R. 32 Patna 181 (4) I.L.R.
 Trav.Co. 432.
(5)  L.L.J. 477.
'(6)  2 L.L.J. 89, 769 Taking into
consideration the whole tenor of the Act and the decisions of this Court the
decided cases to the extent that they take a contrary view, i.e., an individual
dispute is comprised in an 'industrial dispute' must unless there is something
peculiar- as to facts, be In spite of the fact that the making of a reference
by the Government under the Industrial Disputes Act is the exercise of its
administrative powers, that is not destructive of the rights of an aggrieved
party to show that what was referred was not an 'industrial dispute' at all and
therefore the jurisdiction of the Industrial Tribunal to make the award can be
questioned, even though the factual existence of a dispute may not be subject
to a party's challenge. State of Madras v. C. P. Sarathy (1), It may also be
noted that the notification issued by the U. P. Government on January 3, 1953,
already quoted proceeds on the assumption that a dispute exists between the
"employer and his workmen". The points of dispute in the reference,
however, comprise the wrongful termination of the service of only Tajammul
Hussain, a lino operator. The words used in the first part of the notification
show that the Government was labouring under the misapprehension that this
dispute was between the employer on the one hand and his workmen on the other,
which, in fact it was not. Tajammul Hussain could not be termed work-, men (in
the plural) nor could the U. P. Working Journalists Union be called "his
workmen" nor is there any indication that the individual dispute had got
transformed into an industrial dispute. The very basis, therefore, of the reference
was bad and must be held to be so.
We would, therefore, allow this appeal with
(1)  S.C.R. 334, 347.