The Bombay Union of Journalists &
Ors Vs. The, Hindu', Bombay, & ANR  INSC 284 (27 September 1961)
CITATION: 1963 AIR 318 1962 SCR (3) 893
CITATOR INFO :
E 1966 SC 182 (7,11) R 1970 SC 737 (6,7,8) RF
1970 SC1205 (6) R 1975 SC1660 (6)
Industrial Dispute-Individual Dispute-If and
when can be converted into industrial dispute-Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14
of 1947), s. 12 (5).
The first respondent, the 'Hindu', Bombay,
which was a newspaper establishment terminated the services of the third
appellant as its correspondent and declined to accede to the request of the
latter for his re-instatement. His case was taken up and supported by the
Bombay Union of journalists, a trade union, of which membership was open to all
persons depending on journalism for their livelihood. He was not supported by
any union of the employees of the 'Hindu', Bombay, or a number of its workmen.
The Government referred the dispute for adjudication under s. 12(5) of the
Industrial Disputes Act, 894 1947. The Industrial Tribunal rejected the
reference holding that the dispute was merely an individual dispute between the
'Hindu', Bombay, and the third appellant who had not been supported by an
appreciable number of employees of 'Hindu', Bombay. On appeal, Held, that the
applicability of the Industrial Disputes Act to an individual dispute as
distinguished from a dispute involving a group of workmen is excluded, unless
the workmen as a body or a considerable section of them make common cause with
the individual workmen.
Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd. v.
Raghunath Gopal.Patwardhan, (1956) S.C.R. 956 and The Newspapers Ltd. v. The
State Industrial Tribunal, U.P. (1957) S.C.R. 754, followed.
Members of a union who were not workmen of
the employer against whom the dispute was sought to be raised could not by
their support convert an individual dispute into an industrial dispute. Persons
who sought to support the cause of a workman must themselves be directly and
substantially interested in the dispute and persons who were not employees of
the same employer could not be regarded as so interested.
Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate v. Management
of Dimakuchi Tea Estate, (1958) S.C.R. 1156, followed.
In each case in ascertaining whether an
individual dispute had acquired the character of an industrial dispute the test
was whether at the date of the reference the dispute was taken up and supported
by the union of workmen of the employer against whom the dispute was raised by
an individual workman or by an appreciable number of such workmen. The
jurisdiction of the labour court was not affected by the subsequent withdrawal
of support by the workmen who originally sponsored the cause. Nor could
subsequent support by a union of concerned workmen convert what Was an
individual dispute on the date of reference into an industrial dispute and
confer jurisdiction. The Hindu v.
The Working Journalist of the Hindu in
Madras, (1959) II L.L.J. 348 and Working Journalist of the Hindu v. The Hindu
(1961) 1 L.L.J. 288, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION. Civil Appeal
No. 22 of 1961.
Appeal by special leave from the award dated
October 3, 1959, of the Industrial Tribunal, Bombay, in Reference (I.T.) No. 33
Ramaswamy, E. Udavarathnam and S. S. Shukla,
for the appellants.
895 R. Ramamurthy Iyer and R. Gopalkrishnan,
for the respondent No. 1.
1961. September 27. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by SHAH. J.-This is an appeal with special leave against an award
of the Industrial Tribunal, Bombay. By its award the Tribunal rejected the
reference holding that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the dispute
submitted to it by the Government of Bombay.
Salivateeswaran (the third appellant) who
claimed to be a full time employee of the first respondent. The Hindu",
Bombay-addressed a letter on February 15, 1956, to the Managing Editor of
"The Hindu"-a daily newspaper published at Madras intimating that he
was 'proceeding to Europe on March 1, 1956. On February 16, 1956, the Assistant
Editor of "The Hindu" informed Salivateeswaran that even though the
latter was not a full time employee of '-The Hindu", they could "not
allow frequent breaks in the performance of" of his duties and that they
would have to relieve him of his duties as correspondent from March 1, 1956, if
he proceeded to Europe as arranged by him. Salivateeswaran having persisted in
carrying out his project by letter dated February 29, 1956, he was informed by
the Management that lie ceased to be a correspondent of "The Hindu"
from March 1, 1956. After returning from his tour of Europe, Salivateeswaran,
on July 5, 1956, demanded reinstatement and called upon the management of
"The Hindu" to treat the period of his absence out of India as leave.
The management of "The Hindu" having declined to accede to that
demand, Salivateeswaran filed an application under s. 17 of the Bombay Working
Journalist (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 45 of 1955,
1,57,172-8-0 under diverse heads alleging
that termination of his employment was wrongful and that it amounted to
retrenchment. The manager, meat of "The Hindu" denied that
Salivateeswarn 896 was their employee and submitted that the Authority under
Act 45 of 1955 had no jurisdiction to decide disputed questions of fact. The
Authority rejected this contention holding that he was competent to decide
disputed questions arising in the case" before him. The management of
"The Hindu" presented a petition under Act. 32 of the Constitution
for a direction quashing the order of the Authority., contending that s. 17 of
the Act did not empower the Authority to act as a forum for adjudicating
disputed claims. This Court upheld (see Kasturi and Sons (Private) Ltd. v.
Salivateeswaran(1)] the plea of the Management of "The Hindu", but
dismissed the petition holding that no fundamental right of the Management was
infringed by the order passed by the Authority. Acting on the view expressed by
this Court the Authority declined to proceed with the application, because
disputed questions of fact fell to be determined in the petition before him.
"The Hindu" had an office in Bombay
since 1937. At the material time., "The Hindu" had besides
Salivateeswaran only -nine employees-seven serving on the administrative side
and two journalists-Venkateawaran and Tiwari. Salivateeswaran and Venkateswaran
were members of the Bombay Union of Journalists: Tiwari, the other journalist
employee,, was not a member of the Union. The Bombay Union of Journalists is a
Trade Union, the membership of which is open to all persons who depend for
their livelihood upon the practice of the profession of journalism, including
press photographers, artists, cartoonist and free-lance writers. This Union is
admittedly not a Union of employees of "The Hindu", Bombay, but it is
a Union of all persons who depend for their livelihood upon journalism in
Bombay. By its resolution dated August 16, 1956, the Bombay Union of
Journalists supported the claim of Salivateeswaran in the application filed by
him under s. 17 of Act 45 of 1955.
(1)  S. C. R 1.
897 Between April 9, 1958, and April 15 1958,
four letters were addressed by 225, members of the Union (amongst whom
Venkateswaran was not included) informing the Union that the termination of
employment of Salivateeswaran. raised "questions of principle and it was
necessary that there should be a proper adjudication in which the principles
may be settled" and therefore they supported the cause of Salivateeswaran
and requested the Union to take all appropriate steps to approach the state of
Bombay for referring the dispute to an appropriate tribunal for adjudication
under s. 10 (1)(c) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
The Union claims that these letters amounted
to a requisition for calling a meeting and that they were placed before an
adjourned meeting of the General Body on April 17, 1958, held under the
chairmanship of one D. V. Nathan, and in that meeting it was resolved: to
support the cause of Salivateeswaran in the dispute with "The Hindu"Bombay.
On April 25, 1958, the Union wrote to the Proprietor of "The 'Hindu";
Bombay to settle the dispute raised by Salivateeswaran. "The Hindu"
Bombay having declined to accede to the request, the Union moved the
Conciliation Officer appointed under the Industrial Disputes Act to intervene.
The dispute was taken up for Conciliation by the Conciliation Officer, Bombay,
but after holding several meetings with the parties, the Conciliation Officer
by his report dated December 5, 1958, reported failure in his efforts to bring
about conciliation Thereafter, on February 9, 1959, the State of Bombay
referred the dispute between "'The Hindu", Bombay, and
Salivateeswaran for adjudication under s. 12(5) of the Industrial Disputes
Act,1947. The order of the Government, the effect whereof falls for
determination in this case is as follows:"No. AJN. 7458-H-Whereas the
Government of Bombay has considered the report submitted by the Conciliation
Officer under sub-section (4) of section 12 of the Industrial 898 Disputes Act,
1947 (XIV of 1947), in respect of the dispute between the Hindu, Bombay and the
workman (Working Journalists) employed under it over the demands mentioned in
the Schedule appended hereto;
And whereas the Government of Bombay are
considering the aforesaid report is satisfied that there is a case for
reference of the dispute to a Tribunal;
Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers
conferred by subsection (5) of the Section 12 of the Industrial Disputes Act,
1947 (XIV of 1947), read with Section 3 of the Working Journalists (Conditions
of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (XIV of 1955), the
Government of Bombay hereby refers the' said dispute for adjudication to the
Tribunal consisting of Shri M. H. Meher constituted-under Government Notification,
Labour and, Social Welfare Department, No. IDA. 1157(b) dated the 12th March,
1957." By the Schedule, the claim of Salivateeswaran to receive in the
aggregate Rs. 1,52,172-8-0 under, diverse heads was set out.
"The Hindu", Bombay, challenged the
competence of the State Government to refer this dispute' on three grounds: (1)
that there was no industrials establishment, of "The Hindu" in Bombay
and, therefore, the Industrial Tribunal had no jurisdiction in. the matter; (2)
that Salivateeswaran was not a working journalist within the meaning of the Act
and was not employed as such by "The.Hindu" , and there being no
relationship of employer and employee between "The Hindu", and
Salivateeswaran, the Industrial 'Tribunal' had no jurisdiction. to adjudicate
upon the dispute and(3) that there was no dispute between the Working
Journalists of "The Hindu"', Bombay , on the one hand and the
Management on the other 899 and the dispute raised by Salivateeswaran was
merely an individual dispute which was not supported by an appreciable number
of employees of "The Hindu" Bombay. The Tribunal rejected the first
and the second grounds but upheld the third, and holding that the dispute was
merely an individual dispute between Salivateeswaran and "The Hindu",
Bombay, which had not been supported by an appreciable number of employees of
"The Hindu", Bombay, the Government of Bombay had no jurisdiction to
refer the dispute to the Tribunal The terms of reference by the Government of
Bombay under s. 12(2) indicate that the dispute was primarily between ',The
Hindu" Bombay, and the appellant a-single employee relating to his
individual claim in which the other employees of "The Hindu", Bombay,
were, not directly interested. In Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd. v. Raghunath
Gopal Patwardhan (1), this Court after setting out the three possible views on
the question whether a dispute by an individual workman may be regarded as an
industrial dispute within the meaning of s. 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act,
1947 observed.. "The preponderance of judicial opinion is clearly in
favour of the last of the three views ,stated above (i. e. a dispute between an
employer and a single employee cannot per se be an industrial dispute, but it
may become one if it is taken up by the Union or a number of workmen 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 right,% of a workman was not intended to be the subject of an
adjudication under the Act, when the same had not been taken (1)  S. C.
900 up by the Union or a number of workmen.
This view was reiterated in The Newspapers Ltd. v.The State industrial
Tribunal. U. P., (i) Therefore, the applicability of the industrial Disputes
Act to an individual dispute as distingushed from a dispute involving a' group
of workmen a excluded, unless the workmen as: a' body or a considerable section
of them make common cause with individual workman.
The dispute, in ;the present case, being
prima facie, an individual dispute, in order that it may become an industrial
dispute it bad to be established that it had been taken up by the Union of
employees of "The, Hindu", Bombay, or by an appreciable number of
employees of "The Hindu", Bombay. Counsel for the appellant contended
that the dispute was supported by the Bombay Union of Journalists of which
Salivateeswaran was a member and that, in any event, it was supported by
Venkateswaran and Tiwari, who were the only other employees in this
establishment. He also contended that in any event the dispute having been
taken up by the Indian Federation of Working Journalists after it was referred
to the Tribunal, it had become an industrial dispute.
By its constitution the Bombay Union of
Journalists is a Union not of employees of one employer, but of all employees
in the industry of journalism in Bombay. Support of the cause, by the Union,
will not in our judgment convert the individual dispute of one of its members
into an industrial dispute.' The dispute between "The Hindu", Bombay,
and Salivateeswaran was in respect of alleged wrongful termination of
employment; it could acquire the character of an industrial dispute only if it
was proved that it was, before it was, referred, supported by the Union of the
employees of "The Hindu", Bombay, or by an (1)  S. C. R. 754.
901 appreciable number of its employees. in
Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate v. The , Management of Dimakuchi Tea Estate
This Court held by a majority that the two
tests of an industrial I dispute as defined by sub-s. (k) of s. 2 of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947, must,, therefore be-(1) the dispute must be a real dispute
capable of being settled by relief given by one party to the other and (2) the
person in respect of whom the dispute is raised must be one in whose
employment, non-employment, terms of employment, or conditions of labour (as
the case may be), the parties to the dispute have a direct or substantial
interest, and this must depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. In
that case, certain employees sought to raise a dispute about a person who was
not a workman. In the present case members of the Union who were not workmen of
the employer against whom the dispute was sought to be raised, seek by
supporting the dispute to convert what is prima facie an individual dispute
into an industrial dispute. The principle that the persons who seek to support
the cause of a workman must themselves be directly and substantially interested
in the dispute in our, view applies to this class of cases also :
persons who are not employees of the, same
employer cannot be regarded as so interested, that by their support they may
convert an individual dispute into an industrial dispute. The mere support to
his cause by the Bombay Union of Journalists cannot therefore assist the claim
of Salivateeswaran so as to convert it into an industrial dispute.
But counsel for the appellants submits that
Venkateswaran being a member of the Bombay Union of Journalists, support of the
cause by that Union amounted to espousal of the cause by Venkateswaran, and'
having regard to the fact that there were only three employees who were
journalists of "The Hindu" Bombay, out of whom, (1)  S. C. R.
902 Venkateswaran had supported the cause,
the dispute acquired the character of an industrial dispute. It is true that
the Executive Committee of the Bombay Union of Journalists had in August
1956,resolved to support the cause of Salivateeswaran but that resolution was
in respect of the application under Act 45 of 1955. The Union appeared before
the Authority appointed by the Government of Bombay and also in this Court in
the petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution, but that support cannot, in our
judgment asssit the claim now made by Salivateswaran. The proceedings under s.
17 of the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) Act terminated when the
Authority refused to proceed with the petition. Again, there is nothing to show
that Venkateswaran had participated in any of these proceedings.
Venkateswaran and Tiwari filed affidavits
before the Tribunal stating that the dispute between Salivateeswaran and the
management of "The Hindu" was purely a personal affair of the former
and that they had not made common cause with him in regard to the dispute or
adopted his dispute as their own. Venkateswaran and Tiwari stated in their
affidavits that they had not at any time, nor did they support
Salivateeswaran's claim in any manner.
Venkateswaran also stated that he had not at
any time authorised the Bombay Union of Journalists to take up
Salivateeswaran's ,matter" and to raise the dispute thereon.
The affidavits filed by Venkateswaran and
Tiwari were almost in identical terms and it may reasonably be inferred that
these employees had acted in concert, but there is no reason to suppose that
they were, as contended by Salivateeswaran, coerced into filing the affidavits.
Counsel for the, appellants strongly relied
upon a resolution passed at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Bombay Union of
Journalists 903 dated April 17, 1958, to take up the dispute of Salivateeswaran
against "The Hindu" under s. 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act to
demand reliefs for the "retrenched journalist Salivateeswaran". But
evidence in support of this resolution is very unsatisfactory. For reasons to
be presently set out, we are of the view that the evidence tends to establish
the plea raised by the first respondent that the record of the alleged
resolution was fabricated with a view to support the case of Salivateeswaran.
The alleged meeting of April 17, 1958, was
not convened as an Extraordinary General meeting of the Union. It is claimed
that it was an adjourned meeting, the earlier meeting having been held on April
5, 1958, and adjourned.
Mahatame--the Secretary of the Union at the
relevant time deposed that a requisition having' been received for calling a
meeting the,, requisition was considered in the meeting dated April 17, 1958,
and a resolution supporting the case of Salivateeswaran was passed. In
cross-examination, he admitted that the agenda of the meeting was not available
and that he was deposing about what happened in the meeting from memory. He stated
that there were cyclostyled coppies of the agenda which were destroyed and no
coppies were kept;
that there was no agenda of the meeting of
April 17 and that no copies of the notice were maintained; that no minutes of
the General Body meeting were maintained and that there was nothing in writing
to show who attended the meetings of April 5 and April 17 and ,'all that
happens in General Body meetings is recorded in annual reports". He
admitted that the requisitions were received after the 5th of April and tinder
the rules of the Union, 15 days' notice was necessary for convening a meeting.
He stated that he had received all the requisitions before April 17, but there
was no record about the receipt of the requisition. According to Mahatame, 225
members had signed the requisition and at the meeting 904 they had asked that
the matter be brought up, but there was no record as to who was present. He
asserted that the notice of the meeting dated April 17 was issued but he could
not say whether it was issued on April 9 or thereafter. It is difficult to
accept the testimony of Mahatame that even though minutes of the Executive
Committee's meetings were maintained, records relating to the General Body
meetings were not preserved. Mahatame's explanation that the agenda was
cyclostyled and thereafter destroyed is too crude to be accepted. Other
circumstances to which we will presently advert make it abundantly clear that
the story about the resolution having been passed on April 17, 1958, is untrue.
The original resolution was produced in the
course of the trial as Ext. U-86. This document contains inherent evidence that
it was not made on April 17, 1958. It purports to be dated April 17, 1958, and
bears the signature of D. V. Nathan, the president, but by some mischance the
year was originally written as 1959 and then altered to 1958. This may very
well indicate that the writer was writing in 1959 and not in 1958. D. V.
Nathan, who it is stated presided over the meeting, has not been examined.
Mahatame stated that in the Annual Report of
the year 195758 which was published sometime at the end of the year, 1958,
there is a reference to the meeting of April 17, 1958, but in the report the
meeting of April 5 is mentioned, and the meeting of April 17 is not at all
mentioned. The letters of the members are not in truth requisitions at all:
they are merely requests made by some members
to the Union to support the cause of Salivateeswaran, and do not request the
Secretary to call a meeting. If a requisition, according to the rules was in
fact received, a meeting had to be called after notice of 15 days for that
Under al. 7(c) of the Constitution and Rules
of the Bombay Union of Journalists meetings of the General Body require 905 15
days' clear notice except when a meeting has been adjourned in which case a
week's notice will suffice. It is also provided by cl. (g) that resolutions
regarding other business which a member may desire to be taken up at any
meeting should also be given seven clear days before the meeting. Under el. 19,
a notice of a General Body meeting has to be sent to every member individually
by the Secretary in the time prescribed in cl. 7 of the Constitution, and by
cl. 18, sub-cl. 2 (a), the Secretary has to maintain the minutes of all
meetings, conduct all correspondence, convene all meetings, exercise
supervision over the affairs and activities of the Union. Of the alleged
meeting dated April 17, 1958, clear notice of 15 days was not given. Of
resolutions regarding other business which a member may desire to be taken up
at any meeting 7 days, clear notice is required by the rules, but it is not
shown to have been given. There is no evidence that the notice for a General
Body meeting of the time prescribed under cl. 7 was given to the members, and the
Secretary bad made a startling statement that be did not maintain any minutes
of the meeting, but had copied out the resolution on a loose sheet of paper.
The subsequent conduct of the office bearers of the Union also strongly,
supports the contention raised by counsel for the respondents that the
resolution is fabricated at some later date. In the letter dated April 25,
1958, it was stated that the Bombay Union of Journalists had taken up the
dispute of Salivateeswaran and called upon "The Hindu", Bombay, to
settle the dispute amicably, but there is no reference of the resolution passed
on April 17, 1958. The resolution was not mentioned even in the statement of
claim before the Industrial Tribunal. In paragraph 33 of the statement of claim
it was stated that more than 200 members of the Union had written to the Union
supporting the working journalist (Salivateeswaran) and urging the Union to
take up his case under Industrial Disputes Act, but there was no reference to
the resolution dated April 17, 1958. The Hindu" in paragraph 4 of its
reply has expressly averred that apart from the statement that 225 members of
the Union requested its Secretary to take up the Cause of Salivateeswaran,
there is nothing to show that the Union as such had Passed any resolution or
authorised its Secretary to take up Salivateeswaran's cause and to raise an
industrial dispute thereon.
This statement of "The Hindu" was
not challenged by an affidavit in reply alleging that the claim of
Salivateeswaran was supported by a resolution of the Union.
When Venkateswaran was examined on June 12,
1959, he was not asked in cross-examination about the resolution. Even when
Salivateeswaran was examined the resolution was not produced : it was for the
first time produced on July 9, 1959. The letters requesting the Union to
espouse the cause of Salivateeswaran were written between April 9 and April 15,
1958, and it is suggested that the matter was taken up in the meeting of April
17. If the meeting of April 17 was an adjourned meeting (the previous meeting
being of April 5) in the agenda there could be no reference to the
consideration of these letters and it could not take up fresh matters.
Beyond the bare statement of Mahatame
supported by the interested testimony of Salivateeswaran there, is no reliable
evidence that in the meeting of the 17th the Secretary moved the resolution
about Salivateeswaran and it was adopted without opposition the documentary
evidence which should normally have been in existence if the case that the Union
passed a resolution on April 17, 1958, was true, has not been produced on the
plea either that it was not maintained' or that it was destroyed. Even on the
case 'of the appellants, there is nothing to show that notice of the meeting
dated April 17 convened for the purpose of considering the requisition was ever
given to Venkateswaran and if it was not given, by the mere passing of a
resolution by other members 'of the Union the case of the appellants that the
claim 907 of Salivateeswaran was supported by Venkateswaran cannot be
The Tribunal observed that if even after the
reference Venkateswaran and Tiwari ceased to support the cause of
Salivateeswaran, being the only person who could support the cause, the
reference must fail, and in support of that view relied upon the judgment of a
Single Judge of the Madras High Court in The Hindu v. The Working Journalists
of the Hindu in Madras (1), but this decision has since been overruled by a
Division Bench of the Madras High, Court in the Working Journalists of the
Hindu v. The Hindu (2). In that case the Court observed : ,It must be hold that
the jurisdiction of the labour court to proceed with the matter wholly depends
on whether the industrial dispute referred to it for adjudication existed or was
apprehended on the date of the reference and not on any subsequent date. Having
regard to the relevant statutory provisions it must be held that the
jurisdiction of the labour court to proceed with and adjudicate upon an
industrial dispute stems from and is sustained, until it makes an award and the
same becomes enforceable, by the reference itself which has been made on the
basis of an industrial dispute existing or apprehended on the date of the
reference and that the jurisdiction of the labour court to proceed in the
matter is not in any way affected by the fact that subsequent to the date of
the reference, the workers or a substantial section of them who had originally
sponsored the cause, had later resiled and withdrawn from it." In our
view, these observations correctly set out the effect of a subsequent
withdrawal of support by the workmen of a cause previously espoused by them. In
each case in ascertaining whether an individual dispute has acquired the
character of an industrial dispute the test is whether at the date of the
reference the depute was taken up as supported by the Union of the workmen of
the employer against whom the (1)  11 L. L. J. 348.
(2)  1 L. L. J. 288.
908 dispute is raised by an individual
workman or by an appreciable number of workmen. If Venkateswaran or Tiwari had
prior to the date of the reference supported the cause of Salivateeswaran, by
their subsequent affidavits the reference could not have been invalidated. But
as we have already observed there was, in fact, no support to the cause of
Salivateeswaran by Venkateswaran or by Tiwari and therefore the dispute
continued to remain an individual dispute.
The effect of the support to the cause of
Salivateeswaran by the Indian Federation of Working Journalists and the claim
founded thereon does not call for any detailed consideration. After the
reference was submitted and it was pending hearing before the Tribunal a letter
was written by the President of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists to
the General Secretary of the Bombay Union of Journalists on April 16, 1959,
stating that the Federation had lent support to Salivateeswaran in the writ
petition filed by "The Hindu" in the Supreme Court and that the
Federation did so as it was a test case. Another letter dated April 17, 1959,
was addressed by the General Secretary of the Indian Federation of Working
Journalists to the General Secretary, Bombay Union of Journalists Bombay,
stating that they had advised Salivateeswaran to file a petition before the
Presiding Officer of the Industrial Court in Bombay and had also intervened in
the Supreme Court, and further that the Federation fully supported all actions
taken by the Bombay Union of Journalists to get justice for Salivateeswaran,
The Secretary of the Union by letter dated July 9, 1959, wrote to the President
and Secretary-General of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists that
Salivateeswaran's case was being heard for a week and that Salivateeswaran was
to undergo crossexamination on the next day and that Mahatame, the previous
Secretary was to give evidence. Ho further stated "I am of opinion that we
must produce some document whereby it 909 will be possible to prove that the
Federation had supported Salivateeswaran's case" and requested the
Federation to send a document in the form of a minute of a meeting or a letter
or a resolution and if there was none such on the record, to pass a fresh
resolution supporting the Bombay Union's action regarding Salivateeswaran's
case and to send the same by return of post. Taking a clue from this letter, on
July 24, 1959, the President of the Federation sent a copy of the resolution
alleged to have been adopted by the members of the Working Committee of the
Indian Federation of Working Journalists regarding Salivateeswaran's case. The
draft resolution sought to support the case of the Bombay Union of Journalists
before the Industrial Tribunal, Bombay, and to "'direct the Union to fight
the case with all its strength".
This resolution is alleged to have been
passed by circulation after the commencement of the adjudication proceedings.
If the dispute was in its inception an individual dispute and continued to be
such till the date of the reference by the Government of Bombay, it could not
be converted into an industrial dispute by support subsequent to the reference
even of workmen interested in the dispute.
We have already held that subsequent
withdrawal of support will not take away the jurisdiction of an industrial
tribunal. On the same reasoning subsequent support will not convert what was an
individual dispute at the time of reference into an industrial dispute. The
resolution of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists, assuming that it
has any value, would not be sufficient to convert what was an individual dispute
into an industrial dispute.
On the view taken by us this appeal must fail
and is dismissed with costs.