J. K. Cotton Spinning & Weaving mills
Co. Ltd. V. Badri Mali & Ors  INSC 144 (9 May 1963)
09/05/1963 GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.
GUPTA, K.C. DAS
CITATION: 1964 AIR 737 1964 SCR (3) 724
RF 1969 SC 306 (18) F 1972 SC1598 (5,6,16,17)
Industrial Dispute-Definition of
'worker'-Malis whether workers-Malis whether industrial
employees-"Employed in any industry--"Meaning-Principle of incidents
relationship-Grant of 'leave' on ground of fair play and social justicsValidity--Concept
of social justice-Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (U.P. 28 of
1947), s. 2-Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947), s. 2 (s).
An industrial dispute was referred by the
Government of Uttar Pradesh for adjudication to the Adjudicator, Kanpur.
,Me Adjudicator held that the Malis were
workmen under the U.p. Industrial Disputes Act but they were not Industrial
employees and hence were not entitled to claim dear food allowance under the
Government order dated December 6, 1948.
The claims of the Malis with regard to weekly
holidays and leave with wages were also rejected by the Adjudicator.
725 Two crow appeals were filed -against the
order of the Adjudicator before the Labour Appellate Tribunal. The appeal of
the appellant was dismissed. As regards the appeal of respondents, the Tribunal
gave the Malis benefit of dear food allowance. Their claim for leave with wages
was also allowed on the ground of social justice. However, their claim for
weekly holiday was rejected.
The appellant filed a writ petition in the
Allahabad High Court but that was dismissed as in fructuous. The appellant came
to this court by special leave.
The contentions raised by the appellant in
this court were that the Malis were not workers within the meaning of s. 2 of
the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, that Malis were not industrial employees
within the meaning of Government order dated December 6, 1948, and hence were
not entitled to dear food allowance and that the Labour Appellate Tribunal
should not have granted the demand of the respondents for leave on ground of
fair-play and social justice.
Held that the Malis were workers within the
meaning of s. 2, of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act. They were employed by the
appellant, were paid by it and were, subject, to its control and supervision
and *discharged the function of looking after the properties of the appellant.
Their conditions, of service were also determined by the appellant and the
continuance of their service also depended upon the pleasure of the appellant.
The bungalows and gardens on which they worked were a kind of amenity supplied
by the appellant to its officers. Hence, the Malis were engaged in operations
which were incidentally connected with the main industry carried on by the
employers The case of the Malis was similar to that of the bus drivers. The
relation of the work carried on by the Malis with the industry was not remote,
indirect or farfetched.
The employee who is engaged in any work or
operation which is incidentally,connected with the main industry of the
employer is a workman, provided the other requirements of s. 2 (s) of the
industrial Disputes Act are satisfied.
Held also, that the Malis were industrial
employees within the meaning of the Government order dated December 6, 1948,
and hence were entitled to claim the benefit of dear food allowance. The
Tribunal was in error in limiting the scope of the expression, "
Industrial , employees" by reference to the definition of the word
"worker" as given in the Factories Act, 726 Held also, that the Tribunal
was justified in granting the demand of the respondents for leave on grounds of
fair-play and social justice. The concept of social justice has now become such
an integral part of industrial law that it is idle for any party to suggest
that industrial adjudication can or should ignore the claims of social justice
in dealing with industrial disputes. The concept of social justice is not
narrow, one-sided or pedantic and is not confined to industrial adjudication
alone. Its sweep is comprehensive.
It is founded on the basic ideal of
socioeconomic equality and its aim is to assist the removal of socioeconomic
disparities and inequalities. In dealing with industrial matters, it does not
adopt a doctrinaire approach and refuses to yield blindly to abstract notions,
but adopts a realistic and pragmatic approach. It endeavors to resolve the
competing claims of employers and employees by finding a solution which is just
and fair to both parties with the object of establishing harmony between
capital labour and relationship.
Shri Bhikari, Kanpur v. Messrs. Cooper Allen
& Co., Kanpur, 1952 L.A.C. 298 ; The Upper India Chini Mills Mazdoor Union
v. The Upper India Sugar Mills 1953 L.A.C. 870 ; The Suti Mill Mazdoor Sabha,
Kanpur v. Messrs. The British India Corporation Ltd., Kanpur, 1956 L.A.C. 549 ;
J.K. Iron& Steel Co. Lid, Kanpur v. The Iron and Steel Masdoor Union,
Kanpur,  2 S.C.R. 1315 ; Muir Mills Co. Ltd. v. Suti Mills Mazdoor Union,
Kanpur,  1 S. C.R. 991; Messrs. Crown Aluminium Works v. Their Workmen,
 S.C.R. 651 and The State of Mysore v. The Workers of Gold Mines, 
S.C.R. 895, referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 480 & 481 of 1962.
Appeals by special leave from the order dated
March 10, 1958 of' the Allahabad High Court in Writ Nos. 1006 and 1007 of 1955,
and from the decision dated July 15, 1955 of the Labour Appellate Tribunal of
India, Lucknow, III Bench in Appeal Nos. III-274 and 300 of 1954.
G. S. Pathak and G. C. Mathur, for the
K. S. Hajela and C.P. Lai, for respondent No.
2 (In C.A. No, 480 of 1962).
727 J.P. Goyal, for respondents Nos. 3 to 12
(in C.A. No. 480 of 1962) and the respondents (in C.A. No. 481 of 1962).
1963. May 9. The judgment of the court was
delivered by GAJENDRAGADKAR I.-An Industrial dispute which arose between the
appellant, J,K. Cotton Spinning & Weaving Mills Co., Ltd,, and the
respondents, its employees, was referred by the Government of Uttar Pradesh for
adjudication to the Adjudicator, Kanpur, on November, 30, 1953.This dispute
covered two items of claim made by the respondents. The first item was in
regard to the dismissal of a gardener (Mali) Badri by name. The respondents
urged that the said dismissal was unlawful and Badri was entitled to
reinstatement with all the wages during the period of his enforced
unemployment. The second item of dispute was in regard to the claim made by the
10 Malis employed by the appellant to receive dear food allowance, weekly
holidays and leave with: wages.
Before the Adjudicator, the appellant
contended that the Malis were not workmen within the meaning of the U.P.
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (No. 28 of
1947), and so, the reference was invalid. It was also urged by the appellant
that the claim made by the respondents for dear food allowance could not be
sustained, because G.O. No. 3754 (LL)/XVIII-894 (L)1948 issued by the U. P.
Government on December 6, 1948, was inapplicable to the Malis inasmuch as the
said Government order applied only to industrial employees and the Malis are
not industrial employees within the meaning of the said order. The other claims
made by the respondents for weekly holidays and leave with wages were also
resisted on the ground that the Malis were not workmen under 728 the Act, and
so, they were entitled to, no relief in the present proceedings.
The Adjudicator held that the Malis were
workmen under the Act, and so, he rejected the appellant's contention that the
reference was bad. On the merits, he found that the dismissal of Badri was
without justification, and so, he was entitled to reinstatement. He also
ordered that the appellant should pay Badri half his wages at Rs. 45/p.m.
as compensation from the date of his dismissal
to the date of his reinstatement. That is how the first item of dispute was
decided by the Adjudicator. On the second item of dispute.. the Adjudicator
found that the Malis were not industrial employees, and so, they were not
entitled to claim dear food allowance under the relevant Government order. The
other claims made by the Malis With regard to weekly holidays and leave with
wages were likewise rejected by the Adjudicator. In other words, the second
item of dispute was decided against the respondents. This award was pronounced
on May, 31 1954.
The decision of the Adjudicator gave rise to
two appeals before the Labour Appellate Tribunal. The appellant by its appeal
No. 300 of 1954 disputed, the correctness of the Adjudicator's conclusion that
Badri was a workman and that his dismissal was unjustified. The Labour
Appellate Tribunal has rejected this contention and the appellant's appeal was
dismissed. The respondents by their appeal No. 274/1954 contended that the
Adjudicator was in error in holding that the Malis were not industrial
employees and as such, were not entitled to dear food allowance. The Labour
Appellate Tribunal has upheld this plea and has given the Malis the benefit of
the provision contained in the relevant Government order in respect of dear
food allowance. The claim of the respondents for a weekly holiday was, however,
rejected by the Labour Appellate 729 Tribunal, while their claim for leave with
wages was allowed, and a direction was issued that the Malis in question should
be given leave in the manner prescribed by section 79 of the Factories Act (No.
63 of 1948). The Labour Appellate Tribunal held that though the said Act was,
in terms, not applicable to the Malis, the principle on which the statutory
provision for leave prescribed by s. 79 was based was a principle of social
justice, and so, the Malis were entitled to have a similar benefit. The
respondents had also claimed that Badri should be given the full wages for the
period of his enforced unemployment instead of Rs. 45/-p.m. as allowed by the
Adjudicator. This plea has also been upheld by the Labour Appellate Tribunal.
In the result, the respondents appeal
substantially succeeded. The decision, of the Labour Appellate Tribunal was
pronounced on 15.7.1955.
This decision was challenged by the appellant
before the Allahabad High Court by preferring a writ petition No. 1006/1955. It
was urged by the appellant that, the decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal
was patently erroneous and illegal, and so,, it should be quashed under Art.
226 of the Constitution. Whilst the writ petition was pending in the said High
Court, the Bench of the Labour Appellate Tribunal that sat at Lucknow ceased to
exist, and so, the High Court took the view that it had no jurisdiction to
entertain a writ petition in respect of the decision of the Labour Appellate
Tribunal which was not functioning within the limits of its territorial
juridiction. That is why they said writ petition was dismissed as having become
in fructuous. This decision was pronounced on March 10, 1958.
The two present appeals Nos. 480 &
481/1962 have been brought to this Court by the appellant by special leave and
they are directed, against the decision of the High Court dismissing the
appellant's 730 writ petition and against the decision of the Labour Appellate
Tribunal respectively. Mr. Pathak who appeared before us for the appellant
stated that he did not propose to argue Civil Appeal No. 480/1962, because this
Court's decision in Civil Appeal No. 481/1962 would determine the dispute
between the parties. Civil Appeal No. 480/1962 has in that dense become
unnecessary, because the merits of the main dispute are raised by the appellant
in its appeal No. 481/1962 which is directed against the decision of the Labour
Appellate Tribunal. We would, therefore, deal with Civil Appeal No. 481/1962
In this appeal, Mr. Pathak has not disputed
the correctness or propriety of the decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal
in regard to the claim made by the respondents in respect of Badri's dismissal.
So, that part of the dispute need not detain us in the present appeal. The
principal contention which has been seriously pressed before us by Mr. Pathak
is that the Labour Appellate Tribunal was in error in holding that the Malis
are workmen under section 2 of the Act. Section 2 of the Act, as it stood at
the relevant time, provided, inter alia , that in this Act the expression
"workman" shall have the meaning assigned to it in s. 2 of the Industrial
Disputes Act, 1947, and that takes us to s. 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes
Act, 1947 (No. 14 of 1947) which defines a workman. Section 2 (s), inter alia,
provides that a "Workman" means any person (including an apprentice)
employed in any industry to do any skilled or unskilled manual, supervisory,
technical or clerical work for hire or reward., whether the terms of employment
be expressed or implied; and so, the question is whether the 10 Malis whose
claims have given rise to the present reference can be said to be workmen under
s. 2 (s).
For deciding this point, it is necessary to
refer to the relevant facts, as they have been found by the 731 Tribunals below.
The 10 Mails have been appointed by the appellant for the maintenance of
gardens attached to the bungalows of some of the officers of the Mills which
are situated in the compoun, of the Mills, while others are employed for
looking after the gardens attached to Kamla Niwas which is a residential
building allotted to the Governing Director of the Mills and which is also
situated within the compound of the Mills. Some of these Malis have also to
work in the gardens attached to the residential building of the
Director-in-charge of the Mills. The gardens which are looked after by these
Malis are not the gardens attached to the Mills as such. It appears that in the
large and expensive colony of the Mills, the factory of the Mills is inside a
compound. Outside this compound of the factory, but within the colony of the
Mills, are situated the bungalows occupied by the officers of the Mills and the
Director. It is the gardens attached to these bungalows that arc looked after
by the 10 Malis.
It is also clear that the Malis are appointed
by the appellant. The total monthly wages of these 10 Malis come to about Rs.
450/-. The appellant collects a small amount from. the officers as a
contribution to the salaries of these Malis and the bulk of it approximating to
78% is paid by the appellant. The contributions made by the officers are
credited to the revenue of the appellant and from the funds of the appellant,
the Malis are paid their wages and they are debited in the accounts of the
The names of the Malis are borne on a
register maintained by the clerk of the appellant who supervises their work.
This clerk notes their attendance from day to day. Their appointment is made by
the appellant, their work is supervised and controlled by the appellant and they
are liable to be dismissed by the appellant. The officers who are allotted the
bungalows have no control over the Malis and can exercise no jurisdiction over
them. It is in the light 732 of these facts that the question raised by Mr.
Pathak in regard to the status of the Malis has to be determined.
Mr. Pathak contends that the crucial words
used in the definition prescribed by s. 2 (s) are ",,employed in any
industry". He argues that before any person can claim to be a workman
under s. 2 (s), it must be shown that he has been employed in the industry of
the employer. The industry of the appellant is spinning and weaving operations
and, says Mr. Pathak, the Malis have obviously nothing to do either with the
spinning or weaving operations of the appellant;
since they are not employed in the industry
of the appellant, the fact that they have been employed by the appellant would
not make them Workmen within the meaning of the Act. Thus presented, the
argument is no doubt prima facie attractive; but as soon as we begin to examine
it more carefully, it breaks down. If the construction for which 'Mr. Pathak
contends is accepted without any modification, clerks employed in the factory
would not be workmen, because on the test suggested by Mr. Pathak, they are not
employed in the spinning or weaving operation carried on by the appellant and
yet, there is no doubt that clerks employed by the appellant to do clerical
work are workmen under s. 2 (s), and so. the literal construction of the clause
employed in any industry" cannot be accepted and that means that "
employed in any industry" must take in employees who are employed in
connection with operations incidental to the main industry, and once we are
compelled to introduce this concept of incidental Connection with the main
industry, the literal construction for which the appellant contends has to be
It is, of course, not very easy to decide
what is the field of employment included by the principle of incidental
relationship, and what would be the limitations of the said principle? If
sweepers arc 733 employed by the appellant to clean the premises of the Mills,
that clearly would be work incidental to the main industry itself, because
though the work of the sweepers has no direct relation either with the spinning
or weaving, it is so manifestly necessary for the efficient functioning of the
industry itself that it would be irrational to exclude sweepers from the
purview of s. 2 (s). If buses are owned by the industry for transporting the
workmen, would the drivers of such buses be workmen or not? It would be noticed
that the incidental connection in' the present illustration is one degree
removed from the main industry;
the workmen who work in the industry are
intended to be brought to the factory by the buses and it is these buses that
the drivers run. Even so, it would not be easy to exclude drivers of buses
engaged by the factory solely for the purpose of transporting its employees to
the Mills from their respective homes and back, on the basis that they are not
workmen under s. 2 (s). Mr. Pathak was unable to resist the extension of the
definition to such cases; but, nevertheless, he attempted to argue that though
sweepers who sweep the premises of the factory may be called workmen, sweepers
who sweep the area around the factory may not be included under s. 2 (s).
Sweeping the area outside the factory, it is argued, may be incidentally
connected with the main industry, but the incidental connection is indirect and
remote, and so, this class of employees must be excluded from the definition.
We are not prepared to accept this argument. In our opinion, an employee who is
engaged in any work or operation which is incidentally connected with the main
industry of the employer would be a workman, provided the other requirements of
s. 2 (s) are satisfied.
In this connection, it is hardly necessary to
emphasise that in the modern world industrial operations have become complex
and complicated and for the efficient and successful functioning of 734 any
industry, several incidental operations are called in aid and it is the
totality of all these operations that ultimately constitutes the industry as a
whole. Wherever it is shown that the industry has employed an employee to
assist one or the other operation incidental to the main industrial operation,
it would be unreasonable to deny such an employee the status of a workman on
the ground that his work is not directly concerned with the main work or
operation of the industry. Reverting to the illustration of the buses owned by
the factory for the purpose of transporting its workmen, if the bus drivers can
legitimately be held to assist an operation incidental to the main work of the
industry, we do not see why a Mali, should not claim that he is also engaged in
an operation which is incidental to the main industry.
While we are dealing with this point, it is
necessary to bear in mind that the bungalows are owned by the appellant and
they are allotted to the officers as required by the terms and conditions of
the officers' employment. Since the bungalows are allotted to the officers, it
is the duty of the appellant to look after the bungalows and take tare of the
gardens attached to them. If the terms and conditions of service require that
the officers should be given bungalows and gardens are attached to such
bungalows, it is difficult to see why in the case of Malis who are employed by
the appellant, are paid by it, and who work subject to its control and
supervision and discharge the function of looking after the appellant's
property, it should be said that the work done by them has no relation with the
industry carried on by the appellant. The employment is by the appellant, the
'conditions of service. are determined by the appellant, the payment is
substantially by the appellant, the continuance of service depends upon the
pleasure of the appellant, subject, of course, to the Standing 735 Orders
prescribed in that behalf, and the work assigned to the Malis is the work of
looking after the properties which have been allotted to the officers of the
appellant. Like the transport amenity provided by a factory to its employees,
bungalows and gardens are also a kind of amenity supplied by the employer to
his officers and the drivers who look after the buses and the Malis who look
after the gardens must, therefore, be held to be engaged in operations which
are incidentally connected with the main industry carried on by the employer.
It is true that in matters of this kind it is not easy to draw a line, and it
may also be conceded that in dealing with the question of incidental
relationship with the main industrial operation, a limit has to be prescribed
so as to exclude operations or activities whose relation with the main
industrial activity may be remote, indirect and far-fetched.
We arc not prepared to hold that the relation
of the work carried on by the Malis in the present case can be characterised as
remote, indirect or far-fetched. That-is why we think that the Labour Appellate
Tribunal was right in coming to the conclusion that Malis are workmen under the
Before we part with this point, we would like
to add that industrial adjudication appears consistently to have taken the view
that Malis looking after the gardens attached to the bungalows occupied by
officers of any industrial concern are workmen under s. 2 (s). Our attention
has been drawn to two decisions of the Labour Appellate Tribunal dealing with
this question. In Shri Bhikari, Kanpur v. Messrs. Cooper Allen & Co.,
Kanpur, (1) the Labour Appellate Tribunal while dealing with the case of
Bhikari who was engaged as a gardener by the Company and was on the pay-roll of
the Company observed that the Tribunal failed to see why he is not to be
regarded as a workman within the meaning of s. 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes
Act which (1)  L. A. C. 298.
736 definition has been adopted by the U.P. Industrial
Disputes Act under which the case was started. The same view was taken by the
Labour Appellate Tribunal in the case of The Upper India Chini Mazdoor Union v.
The Upper India Sugar Mills (1). Dealing, with the case of Rati Rama Who was
engaged as a Mali, the Tribunal rejected the employer's contention that the
said Mali was a domestic servant and observed that merely because the Company
chooses to put Rati Ram on the work of a gardener with the Managing Director
which the A Company is admittedly required to provide for and pay for, it does
not follow that Rati Ram became a domestic servant. It is remarkable that both
these decisions which are directly in point, were under s. 2 of the Act with
which we are concerned. In dealing with industrial dispute we are reluctant to
interfere with the well established and consistent course of decisions
pronounced by the Labour Appellate Court unless, of course, it is shown that
the said decisions are plainly erroneous.
The next question which calls for our
decision is whether the Malis are industrial employees within the meaning of
the relevant G. O. The said G. O. opens with two operative paragraphs which are
followed by the table of minimum basic wages prescribed by it and other
paragraphs. These first two paragraphs read thus :
"(1) This order shall he deemed to have
come into force with effect from December, 1, 1948 and shall, in respect of the
matters covered by it, bind all the industries affected thereby and the workmen
(2) The minimum basic wage payable to
employees (industrial or clerical) in the various industries and undertakings
specified in column 1 of, Table I hereunder shall, so long as this (1) 1953 L.
order remains in force, be the amounts mentioned
against them in column 2 or 3 thereof, as the case may be," Paragraph 3
prescribes the dear food allowance, and it is in respect of this claim made by
the respondents that the appellant has raised the contention that this paragraph
does not apply, because the Malis are not industrial employees.
It will be noticed that the first Paragraph
makes it perfectly clear that the order binds all the industries affected by it
and the workmen employed therein ; so that as soon as it is held that the Malis
are workmen under s. 2 of the Act, it would follow that the order would apply
to the Malis. In considering the present point. it is necessary to bear in mind
that this order has been issued in exercise of the powers conferred by clauses
(b) and (g) of section 3 of the Act, and that clearly means that persons who
are workmen under s. 2 of the Act are referred to by paragraph I and there
would be no escape from the conclusion that the order would apply to such
workmen and the Industries that employed them.
It is, however, urged that in paragraph 2 the
minimum basic wage is specified as being payable to employees, industrial, or
clerical, in the various industries and the suggestion is that it is only
employees who are either industrial or clerical to whom the order applies.
Industrial employees are not defined; but it is assumed by the appellant in
urging this argument that the class of industrial employees would be narrower
than the class of workmen covered by s. 2 of the Act. In our opinion, this
argument is wholly fallacious. It is clear that the second paragraph refers to
industrial or clerical employees, because the table prescribing the minimum
basic wages divides the employees into two categories, industrial and clerical.
It is only because his division is made by the table that for the 738 purpose
of clarification, paragraph 2 mentions industrial or clerical in bracket after
referring to the employees.
Besides it would be unreasonable to assume
that when the order prescribed minimum basic wages for workmen to whom
paragraph I expressly refers, it could have been intended that the said minimum
basic wages should not be extended to some workmen falling under paragraph I
because they do not fall under the category of industrial employees or clerical
employees. The scheme of the order is plain and unambiguous ; to all workmen
failing under s. 2 the benefits of the order are intended to be extended. That
is the view -taken by the Labour Appellate Tribunal and, in our opinion, that
view is obviously right. If that be so, the validity of the order passed by the
Labour Appellate Tribunal awarding the respondents' claim for dear food
allowance under paragraph 3 of the G.O. cannot be questioned.
It is true that in The Suti Mill Mazdoor
Sabha Kanpur v. Messrs. The British Indian Corporation Ltd. Kanpur (1), the
Labour Appellate Tribunal appears to have taken the view that the expression
"'industrial employees" is limited to the class of employees who are
employed directly or indirectly for the purpose of manufacturing process
carried on by the factory. In coming to this conclusion, the Labour Appellate
Tribunal noticed the fact that the expression "'industrial employees"
had not been defined, but it was disposed to drive assistance from the
definition of the word "worker" in the Factories Act in determining
the scope of the expression "industrial employees". No doubt, it was
urged before the Tribunal that expression "industrial employees"
should be understood in the same comprehensive sense as the word
"industry" as defined in the industrial Disputes Act, but this
contention was rejected by the Tribunal. It seems to us that the Tribunal was
in error in limiting the, scope of (1) 1956 L.A.C. 549 739 the expression.
"'industrial employees" by reference to the definition of the word
"worker" prescribed by the Factories Act. Indeed, it would be
relevant and appropriate to refer to the definition of the word workman"
under s. 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, because the G.O. in question has
been issued under the Act and the definition of a "workman"
prescribed by s. 2 of the Act as s. 2 (s) of the Industrial Disputes Act would
determine the true denotation of the expression "industrials
employees". We must accordingly hold that the Labour Appellate Tribunal
was in error in accepting the very narrow construction of the expression
"industrial employees" used in the Government order.
The next point which has been urged before us
by Mr. Pathak is in regard to the decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal
awarding the benefit of leave to the respondents on the same lines as s. 79 of
the Factories Act. Mr. Pathak attempted to argue that the claim for leave had
been made specifically on the basis of provisions of the Factories Act and the
U.P. shops and Commercial Establishments Act, and he suggested that as soon as
it was found that these two Acts were inapplicable to the Malis the said claim
should have been rejected. The Labour Appellate Tribunal has, however, held
that though they said two Acts do not apply, a claim for leave can be justified
on the ground of social justice. Mr. Pathak objects to this decision on the
that the claim itself was based on the
provisions of the said two Acts and no other. This contention is not wellfounded.
It does appear that in paragraph 10 of the written statement filed on behalf of
the respondents reference is made to the said two Acts but in the prayer clause
the claim is made in general terms without reference to the Acts, and the
reference itself is in general terms and makes no mention of the said two Acts.
Therefore, the technical ground urged by Mr. Pathak that the, 640 relevant
claim was made on the provisions of the two specified Acts and should be
rejected solely on the ground that the said Acts do not apply, cannot be
sustained. It was a general reference which the Adjudicator was called upon to
decide and the fact that the said two Acts did not apply, cannot be said to
rule out the said claim as to leave in limine.
Then Mr. Pathak was driven to contend that
the ground of social justice given by the Labour Appellate Tribunal in support
of its award is really not sound in law, and he referred us to the observations
made by this Court on some occasions that the-considerations of social justice
'were "not only irrelevant but untenable" vide J.K. Iron & Steel
Co., Ltd. Kanpur v. The Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, Kanpur (1), and Muir
Mills Co., Ltd. v. Suti Mills Mazdoor Union, Kanpur. (2), In our opinion, the
argument that the considerations of -social justice are irrelevant and
untenable in dealing with industrial disputes, has to be rejected without any
hesitation. The development of industrial law during the last decade and
several decisions of this Court in dealing with industrial matters have
emphasised the relevance, validity and significance of the doctrine of social
justice, vide Messrs. Crown Aluminum Works v. Their Workmen, (s) and The State
of Mysore v. The Workers of Gold Mines (4) Indeed the concept of social justice
has now become such an integral part of industrial law that it would be idle
for any party to suggest that industrial adjudication can or should ignore the
claims of social justice in dealing with industrial disputes. The concept of
social justice is not narrow, one-sided, or pedantic, and is not confined to
industrial adjudication alone. Its sweep is comprehensive. It is founded on the
basic ideal of socioeconomic equality and its aim is toassist the removal of
socioeconomic disparities and inequalities ; nevertheless, in dealing with
industrial matters, it does not adopt a doctrinaire (1) 2 S.C.R. 1315.
(2) 1 S.C.R. 991.
(4)  S.C.R. 895 741 approach and
refuses to yield blindly to abstract notions, but adopts a realistic and
pragmatic approach. It, therefore, endeavours to resolve the competing claims
of employers and employees by finding a solution which is just and fair to both
parties with the object of establishing harmony between capital and Labour, and
The ultimate object of industrial
adjudication is to help the growth and progress of national economy and it is
with that ultimate object in view, that industrial disputes are settled by
industrial adjudication on principles of fairplay and justice. That is the
reason why on several occasions, industrial adjudication has thought it fit to
make reasonable provision for leave in respect of the workmen, who may not
strictly fall within the purview of the Factories Act or the Shops and
Commercial Establishments Act. We are, therefore, satisfied that there is no
substance in the grievance made by Mr. Pathak that the Labour Appellate Tribunal
should not have granted the demand of the respondents for leave on grounds of
fair-play and social justice.
The result is, Civil Appeal No. 481/1962
fails and is dismissed with costs. Civil Appeal No. 480 of 1962 has not been
pressed and is, therefore, dismissed. There would be no order as to costs.