ATIC Industries Ltd. Vs. Its Workmen
 INSC 79 (14 March 1972)
CITATION: 1972 AIR 1234 1972 SCR (3) 770 1972
SCC (2) 88
Industrial Dispute--Transport Allowance Award
of Tribunal making employers liable to pay 15 paise per day to employees who
had to travel more than five miles to place of work--Award justified--Tribunal
when may take into account principles of social justice and region cum industry.
The appellant companies carried on the
business of manufacturing chemical in a vilage. There were disputes between the
companies and their workmen. regarding dearness allowance, transport allowance
and other demands. In regard to transport allowance the Tribunal in its award
directed the employers to pay 15 paise per day to workmen who lived more than
five miles away from the place of work except on days when a workman was on
leave. in doing so the Tribunal took into account the fact that in the same
region a pharmaceutical company was paying transport allowance to its workmen.
The Tribunal rejected the contention of the companies that it was not the
obligation of an employer to provide transport facilities for the workmen or to
pay in whole or in part their transport expenses.
In appeal by special leave,
HELD : (i) The principle that in a proper
case the Industrial Tribu nal can impose new obligation on the employer in the
interest of social justice and can also involve the parties in a new Contract
has been accepted by this Court. There can be no doubt that an Industrial Tribunal
has jurisdiction to make a proper and reasonable order in an industrial
dispute. [779 F; 780 D] (ii) The Tribunal was justified in having regard to the
practice obtaining in the region on the principle of regioncum industry when
considering the claim of the workmen for payment of transport allowance. The
foundation of the principle of region-cum-industry is that as far as possible
their should be uniformity of conditions of service in comparable concerns in
the industry in the region as that there is no balance ,in the conditions of
service between workmen in one establishment and those in the rest. The danger
otherwise would be migration of labour to 'he one where there are more
favourable conditions from those where conditions are less favourable. [780
B-C; 781 A-B] (iii) When the Tribunal was fixing the wage scales and dearness
allowance it was aware that it had also to adjudicate on a claim for transport
allowance. Having regard to this claim it must have fixed the wage scales and
dearness allowance. In the scale of dearness allowance fixed by the Tribunal
complete neutralisation has not been awarded. The Tribunal had also proceeded
on the basis that the workmen must bear, from and out of the wages earned by
them, a part of transport expenses. It was only when the Tribunal found that
the expense incurred by the workmen for transport was rather high that it had
afforded some relief.
771 No material had been placed before this
Court on behalf of the companies concerned to how that in the preparation of
the cost of living index in the area concerned transport expense can be taken
into account [781 D-F; 777 G] (iv) In the circumstances of the case it could
not be stated that the award of the sum of 15 paise per day was in any manner
unreasonable or arbitrary. The payment had also been hedged in by the condition
that the employer had to be satisfied that the workman was staying at a place
five mile and over from the pace of work and that it need not be paid on days
when the workman was either on earned leave or any type of leave authorised or
otherwise. The Tribunal had also taken into account the financial capacity of
the appellants and there was 'no flow in its reasoning. [782 F;783 A] .
Ahmedabad Mill Owners' Association etc. v.
The Textile Labour Association,  1 S.C.R. 382; The Patna Electric Supply
Co. Ltd. Patna v. The Patna Electric Supply Workers Union,  Suppl. 2,
S.C.R. 761; Mohamed and Som v. Their Workmen,  1 L.L.J. 536, Remington
Rand of India Ltd. v. Workmen,  (19) F.L.R. 46 and The New Maneck Chowk
Spinning and Weaving Co. Ltd. Ahmedabad and others v. The Textile Labour
Association Ahmedabad,  3 S.C.R. 1, applied.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 742 of 1968.
Appeal by special leave from the Award dated
November 15, 1967 of the Industrial Tribunal, Gujarat in Reference (I.T.) No.
65 of 1966.
AND CIVIL APPEAL No. 809 OF 1968.
Appeal by special leave from the Award dated
October 16, 1967 of the, Industrial Tribunal, Gujarat in Reference (I.T.) No.
60 of 1966.
AND CIVIL APPEAL No. 2086 OF 1968.
Appeal by special leave from the Awards Part
I & II dated September 27, 1967 and November 15, 1967 of the Industrial
Tribunal, Gujarat in Reference (I.T.) No. 65 of 1966,.
A. K. Sen, V. B. Patel, I. N. Shroff and M.
N. Shroff for the appellant, (in C.A. No. 742 of 196 M. C. Setalvad, V. B Patel
and I,. N. Shroff for the appellant (in C.A. No. 809 of 1968).
Madan G., Phadnis, Janardan Sharma and Indira
jai Singh, for the appellants (in C.A. No. 2086 of 1968) respondents (in C.A.772
No. 742 of 1968) and respondent No. 1 (in C.A. No. 809 of 1968).
M. C. Setalvad, V. B. Patel, I. N. Shroff,and
M. N. Shroff, for respondent No. 1 (in C.A. No. 2086 of 1968).
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Vaidialingam, J.-Civil Appeal Nos. 742 and 2086 of 1968, by special leave,
arise out of the decision regarding demand No. 4 under Award Part 11, dated
November 15, 1967 of the Industrial Tribunal, Gujarat, in Reference (IT) 65 of
As Atic Industries Ltd., and its workmen
could not settle the various demands made by the latter, on the joint
application of both, the Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Ahmadabad, by order
dated February 19, 1966 referred for adjudication to the Industrial Tribunal,
Gujarat, nine demands made by the workmen. The demands cover various matters
and have been elaborately set out in the Schedule annexed to the order of
reference. It is enough to note that the demands covered revision of wage
scales, dearness allowance, shift allowance, vacation traveling allowance,
housing facilities etc. Demand No. 4, with which we are concerned was as
"All workmen who make use of the, S.T.
Bus Service shall be paid Rs. 20/per month as Bus Allowance and those workmen
who come Cycling from places where S. T. Bus Service is not available shall be
paid Rs. 15/per month as Cycle Allowance and also those workmen who come by
train shall be paid Rs. 10/per month as Train Allowance.
The Industrial Tribunal by its Award, Part 1,
dated September 27, 1967 disposed of demands Nos. 1, 2, 3, 6 and
9. By its Award, Part 11, dated November 15,
1967, the Tribunal disposed of demand Nos. 4 5. 7 and 8. In respect of demand
No. 4, the Tribunal directed the Company (Atic Industries Ltd.) to pay an
allowance of 15 paise per day to every employee who stays at a distance of five
miles or more from village Atul. The Tribunal directed this payment to be made
with effect from January 1, 1968. The Tribunal 'further directed that the
allowance need not be paid for days on which the workman is on earned leave or
any type of leave authorised or otherwise. Atic Industries Ltd. has filed Civil
Appeal No. 742 of 1968 challenging the grant of this allowance to its workmen.
The workmen have filed Civil Appeal No. 2086 of, 1 968 challenging the various
matters covered by the Award Parts I and II, regarding wage scales, dearness
allowance in so far as the Award was against them.
In particular, regarding demand No. 4 they
have claimed, in the appeal, 773 that a higher allowance should have been
granted by the Tribunal. But this Court, by its order dated September 24, 1968
has restricted the Special Leave only to the question of transport allowance.
Therefore, the various other points raised by the workmen in their appeal no
While the Company in its appeal No. 742 of
1968 wants the allowance granted under demand No. 4 to be set aside, the
workmen, on the other hand, in their appeal No. 2086 of 1968 require the
allowance to be enhanced.
Civil Appeal No. 809 of 1968 is by special
leave; and the appellant therein is Atul Products Ltd., which also is an
industry located ill Atul village. Here again, on the joint application of the
said Company and its workmen, nine demands were referred for adjudication to the
Industrial Tribunal, Gujarat, by or-der dated June 30, 1966 of the Deputy
Commissioner of Labour, Ahmadabad. The demands related to dearness allowance,
shift allowance, housing facilities, vacation travelling allowance etc. Demand
No. 6 with which we are concerned in this appeal was as follows :
"Company shall provide free transport
facility to all workmen. Till such time free transport is made available every
workmen shall be paid an allowance of Rs. 151/per month." The Industrial
Tribunal, by its Award Part 1, disposed, of demand Nos. 1 to 4 and 7. By its
Award Part 11, dated October 16, 1967, the Tribunal disposed of demand Nos. 5,
6, 8 and 9. The decision of the Tribunal under its Award Parts 1 and 11 in
respect of demand Nos. 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 is, not the subject of consideration
before us. In respect of demand No. 6, the Tribunal rejected the demand
regarding the Company being made to provide free transport facilities.
However, the Tribunal directed the Company to
pay an allowance of 15 paise Der day to every employee who stays at a distance
of five miles and above from village Atul. The said payment was made effective
from December 1, 1967. Here again a direction was given that the Company need
not Pay allowance to its workmen who is either on earned leave or any type of
leave, authorised or otherwise.The Company desires in this appeal to have the
direction given by the Tribunal under this demand set aside.
From the facts stated above, it will be seen
that the common question that arises for consideration in all these three
anneals relates to the claim of the workmen for payment of transport allowance
to enable them to go from their place of residence to the place of work. We may
also state that references in both the matters were made by the Deputy
Commissioner of Labour, Ahmadabad, 774 as such a power had been delegated to
him by the State Government under S. 39 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Both Atic Industries Ltd. and Atul Products
Ltd., are public limited companies. They manufacture dyes and chemical and
other intermediates. Both the companies were having their factories in village
Atul. The basis of the claim made by the workmen of both these Companies for
payment of transport allowance and the defence raised by the two concerns were
substantially the same. In support of its demand the Union had stated that the
majority of the workmen employed in the two Companies come from a distance' of
about five to ten miles. As the, factories are not situated in a place where
labour force is available easily, the majority of the workmen have to come from
distant villages or the town of Bulsar. There is no adequate transport reaching
the site of the factories. The State Road Transport Corporation runs buses to
reach the site of the factories, but the service is not regular or adequate. A
workman has to incur a bus fare of 40 paise per trip from Bulsar to Atul and
another 40 paise for the return journey. Therefore, each day a workman had to
incur 80 paise as bus fare in going to village Atul from Bulsar and this was
too much of an expense which could not be borne by an employee from and out of
In the case of Atul Products, the demand was
for a uniform allowance of Rs. 15/per month, though in the case of Atic
Industries Ltd., the demand was slightly different. The Union in, this
connection relied on the Award in the case of Cynamid India Ltd., which was a
pharmaceutical industry in Atul region.
Both the Companies opposed the demands of the
workmen on the ground that it is not the function or duty of an employer to
provide transport facilities for its workmen to come to their place, of work.
It was further pleaded that there is a good road from Bulsar to village Atul
and the State Transport Service, which was running buses on the said route was
easily available to all the workmen both for coming to village Atul and also
for going back home. In addition to the bus service, there was also a train
service which was available to the workmen. The Companies further pleaded that
most of the workmen employed in the two Companies were living in the nearby
villages and they never depended upon either the bus service or the train
service. Even at the time when the workmen took unemployment in the factories,
they should have known that they will have to go to their place of work at
their own expenses. On all these grounds the claim of the workmen was resisted
by both the Companies.
It is seen that in respect of Cynamid India
Ltd., which was in the same region, though in the pharmaceutical industry, the
775 Tribunal had occasion to consider a claim made by its workmen for free
transport facilites or for payment of fixed transport allowance at the rate of
Rs. 15/per month. It is further seen that Cynamid India Ltd., was already
paying 15 paise per day for every wrokmen who was staying five miles and more
from village Atul. The workmen demanded that whole of the transport expenses
incurred by them, which was of 80 paise per day, must be paid. This demand was
considered by the Tribunal in its Award published in State Gazette on September
3, 190'6. In this award, a copy of which has been placed before us, it is seen
that the Tribunal has rejected the claim of the workmen for directing the
Company concerned to provide free transport. But in respect of the further
claim for increasing the transport allowance, the Tribunal has ultimately
increased the allowance from 15 paise to 37 paise per day to every employee who
was staying at a distance of five miles andmore from village Atul. The Tribunal
has also granted an allowance of 12 paise per day to the workmen, of Cynamid
India Ltd., who were staying beyond three miles but less than five miles.
As we have mentioned earlier, the claim for
transport allowance ance was made by the Union mainly on the basis of the award
of the Industrial Tribunal in the case of Cynamid India Ltd. Though the,
Tribunal did not grant the enhanced allowance fixed by it inthe case of Cynamid
India Ltd. and also the further allowance granted therein to employees staying
beyond three miles but less than five miles, the Tribunal in the case of Atic
Industries Ltd. and Atul Products Ltd. has awarded only a sum of 15 paise per
day for those workmen who were staying five miles and more from village Atul.
In Civil Appeal No. 809 of 1968 Mr. M. C.
Setalvad, 1earned counsel for the appellant, apart from contesting the grant of
transport allowance to the employees on the ground that it is not the function
of an employer to provide transport facilities or to pay allowance-for the
same, has raised an objection to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to give any
We have already referred to demand No. 6,
which is the. subject of consideration in this appeal. According to Mr. Setalvad,
the demand is to the effect that the Company should provide free transport
facilities to its workmen and till such facility is provided the workmen should
be paid an allowance of Rs. 15/per month. The counsel further pointed out that
in this case the Tribunal has rejected the demand of the workmen for provision
for free transport.
Once this claim was rejected on the ground
that the employee are not entitled to be provided free transport, no,, further
question arose for consideration before the Tripunal.
776 According to Mr. Setalvad the claim for
payment of an allowance of Rs. 15/per month is only for the interim period that
will necessarily be taken by the Company to make arrangements for providing
free transport, if the claim in that regard of the workmen had been accepted.
The latter part of the demand being only for an interim period, had to be
straightaway rejected when once the main demand providing free transport made
by the workmen was rejected. Therefore, it is the contention of Mr. Setalvad that
the Tribunal's direction regarding payment of allowance under demand No. 6 is
The above contention of Mr. Setalvad has been
controverted by Mr. Phadnis, learned counsel for the Union. According to the
learned counsel, the demand is really in the alternative, namely, that the
Company should be made to provide free transport facility. If this is not
feasible, the Company should pay an allowance of Rs. 15/per month.
The counsel has also drawn our attention to
the reasons given by the Tribunal in the case of Cynamid India Ltd. for
rejecting the claim for provision of free transport. The Tribunal has itself
referred to those reasons in the present Award in respect of both the
Companies. Therefore, even though the claim for provision for free transport
was rejected, the Tribunal had to deal with the alternative claim for payment
of Rs. 15/per month.
We are not inclined to accept the contention
of Mr. Setalvad that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider the quantum
of transport allowance to be paid to the workmen when once it has rejected the
claim of 'he Union for provision of free transport. The claim was a very tall
one, namely that the Company should provide free transport facilities to all
its workmen. The latter part of the demand should-really be understood as an
alternative claim if free transport is not provided by the Company. If the
Company was willing to provide free transport facilities, then there will be no
question of any transport allowance being paid to the workmen and the second
part of the demand may not arise for consideration. But it does not follow that
when the claim for free transport facilities is rejected, the claim for
transport allowance no longer survives. In our opinion, the proper way of
looking at the demand is to treat the claim as one for provision of free
transport facility and in the alternative for payment of an allowance of Rs.
15/per month. The claim for payment of allowance is not, as contended by Mr.
Setalvad for an interim stage covering the period taken by the Company to make
arrangements for providing transport facilities, when once it has been directed
to the ,so by the Tribunal.
777 The contention of Mr. Setalvad that the
Tribunal had no jurisdiction to give direction for paying transport allowance
after rejecting the claim of the Union for the Company making provision for
free transport, will have considerable force, if the Tribunal had rejected the
claim for free-transport on the ground that the employer is not under any
circumstance liable to make any such arrangement or bear transport expenses
incurred by the workmen either in whole or in part. As we will show presently
the, ground on which the Tribunal rejected the claim of the Union that the
employer should provide free transport was not on the ground that the employer
is under no circumstance liable to provide the same, but because of the fact
that a sound transport system existedon the route and as such was conveniently
available to the workmen.
it Will be pertinent to note the reasons
given by the Tribunal in Cynamid India Ltd. for rejecting the claim of the
workmen in that concern for making provision for free transport facilities. We
are referring to this aspect because the Tribunal in the case of Atul Products
Ltd. has rejected the claim for free transport on the same ground as given by
it in Cynamid India Ltd. The reason given by the Tribunal is that there whould
be justification for a Company being made to provide free transport only if a
sound public transport sytem did not exist or was not conveniently available.
The Tribunal has held that for going to village Atul from Bulsar, public
transport is available. It is on this ground that the Tribunal held that it
will not, be justified in conceding the demand for free transport. It may be
mentioned that Cynamid India Ltd. was admittedly providing free transport for
its supervisory staff and for that purpose it was maintaining a fleet of
vehicles. But, nevertheless, the Tribunal rejected the'claim of the workmen
therein for provision being made for free transport. It was represented by Mr.
Phadnis, learned counsel for the union, that Atul Products Ltd. and Atic
Industries Ltd. give a special conveyance allowance to their supervisory staff.
But so far as this is concerned, the council
also frankly admitted that no material in this regard has been placed in the
record of these appeals. Hence we leave that aspect out of consideration.
Now coming to the attack on behalf of the two
Companies regarding the grant of transport allowance, Mr. A. K. Sen and Mr. V.
B. Patel, who followed him, urged, that the workmen when they took unemployment
in the factories at village Atul knew full well that they have to incur
expenses for going to their place of work. It was also pointed out that the
dearness allowance bad been revised by the Tribunal by its award Part 1 and
that is sufficient to enable the workmen to meet the, transport charges that
778 they will have to incur for going to their Place of work.
In any event, it was urged, it is not the
obligation of the employer to provide transport facilites or to bear either 'in
whole or in part the transport expenses of an employee incurred by him for
going to his place of work.
On the other hand, Mr. Phadnis, learned
counsel for the Union, pointed out that the Tribunal has not accepted the
entire claim made by the Union, nor has it granted transport allowance at the
same rate given by it in the case of Cynamid India Ltd., The counsel pointed
out that Atul Products Ltd. and Atic Industries Ltd. and Cynamid India Ltd. are
all situated in village Atul. Atic Industries Ltd.
and Atul Products Ltd. are no doubt doing
business in manufacturing dyes, whereas Cynamid India Ltd. is a pharmaceutical
industry. The employees working in the same region should have the same
facilities and it is on this principle that the Tribunal has awarded transport
allowance and that to a lesser degree than that prevailing in Cynamid' India
Ltd. The Tribunal itself has held that the workmen must share a part of the
expenses and it is on that ground that though a workmen has to incur 80 paise
per day, he has been granted only 15 paise per day. According to the learned
counsel, the circumstances of the case 'also justify the said grant.
We are of the opinion that the grant of 15
paise per day as transport allowance to those employees staying five miles and
beyond is justified in the circumstances of this case.
The Tribunal itself has held that the Company
must be satisfied that the workmen come from a place Re Bulsar or 'places
equally distant and no allowance need be paid on days when the workman is on
earned leave or any type of leave authorised or otherwise. On behalf of the
Companies it was stated that in calculating the cost of living index, bus fare
also is taken into account. No doubt in Ahmedabad Mill Owners' Association Etc.
v. The Textile Labour Association, (1) it is stated that in the preparation of
the cost of living index, various items including bus fare are taken into
account. But it is to be noted that the observation in the said decision is
that usually the items mentioned 'herein including the bus fare are taken into
account. But Mr. Phadnis, pointed out by reference to the book "Cost of Living
Index Numbers in India" a Monograph, published by the Labour Bureau,
Ministry of labour, Government of India that so far as Ahmedabad is concerned,
bus fare is not taken into account in the preparation of cost of living index.
In contrast, he referred is to the Ranchi area where travelling expense is
taken into account in the preparation of cost of living index. No material has
been placed before us on behalf of the Companies concerned to-show the in (1)
 1 S.C.R. 382.
779 the preparation of the cost of living
index in the area concerned transport expense is than into account.
The decisions in The Patna Electric Supply
Co., Ltd. Patna v. The Patna electric Supply WorKers' Union(1) and Mohammed and
Sons v. Their Workmen(-) were referred to us by Mr. Patel wherein it has been
held that providing of housing accomodation is not the duty of an employer and
that the responsibility for the same is that of the Government. In.
our opinion, a claim for providing housing
accommodation is totally different from a claim made for transport allowance,
In fact in the presene awards/. the tribunal has rejected the, claim of the
workmen for housing facilities being provided by both the Companies. Similarly,
the decision in Remington Rand of India Lid. v. Workmen(3) of this Court
regarding lunch allowance does not also assist the Companies before us. It was
held in the said 'decision that normally when the wage structure is fair and
dearness allowance is paid to the workmen linked with the index of .Cost of
living, they must take care of the rise in the cost of living from time to time
and therefore a company cannot be compelled to pay lunch allowance to all
workmen. In that decision, it will be noted, that the lunch, allowance was
being paid by the company concerned to workmen who had to go to distant places
and could not return to. the office, during lunch period. But the rate of
allowance to such employees was raised by this Court no doubt by consent of the
Company. But the extension of that allowance to other employees who had to work
only in 'the factory or office premises was rejected. In this connection it was
observed that the financial ability of an employer to bear the additional
burden is not criterion. The principle that in a proper case the Industrial Tribunal
can impose view obligation on the employer in the interest of social justice
and can also involve the parties in a new contract has been recognised by this
Court in The Patna Electric Supply Co., Ltd. Patna v. The Patna Electric
Supply, Workers' Union(1), and The New Maneck Chowk Spinning and Weaving Co.
Ahmedabad and others v. The Textile Labour
Associatioz, Ahmedabad ( 4) No doubt the said jurisdiction of the Tribunal is
conditioned by the laws and judicial pronouncements. In this connection the following,
observation of Ludwig Teller in "Labour Disputes & Collective
Bargaining" (Volume 1, page 536) is apposite:
"Industrial arbitration may involve the
extension of an existing agreement or the making of a new one, or, in general,
the creation of new obligations or modification of old ones while commercial
arbitration (2)  IL.L.J. 536.
(1)  Supl. 2 S.C.R. 761.
(3)  (19) F.L.R. 46.
(4)  3 S.C.R. 1.
780 generally concerns itself with
interpretation of existing obligations and disputes relating to existing
agreements." The above observations have been quoted with approval by this
Court in some of its earlier decisions. Therefore, there can be no doubt that
an Industrial Tribunal has jurisdiction to make a proper and reasonable order
in any industrial dispute. It should be borne in mind that the foundation of
the principle of industry cum-region is that as far as possible, there should
be uniformity of conditions of service in comparable concerns in the industry
in the region so that there is no imbalance in ,he conditions of a service
between workmen in one establishment and those in the rest. The danger
otherwise would be migration of labour to the one where there are more
favourable conditions from those where conditions are less favourable.
It is pertinent to note that though this
Court in Renington Rand of India Ltd. v. Workmen(1) declined to extend the
benefit of lunch allowance to employees who had no occasion to go for out door
work, nevertheless it recognised in a limited measure the obligation of an
employer to provide medical facilities for its workmen. The demand for
provision for medical facilities made by the workmen was contested by the
Company therein on the ground that making provision for medical facilities is
the responsibility of the. Government and not of the employer. Even on the
basis that it is the obligation of the employer, it was further contended that
medical expenses which a workman would ordinarily have to incur are looked
after and taken into account when fair wages are settled. This Court accepted
as correct the contention that the primary responsibility for providing medical
facilities for citizens is that of the State. This Court also accepted the
contention that while fixing fair wages, medical expenses. which may have, to
be ordinarily incurred by a workman will be taken into consideration. But on
the basis that the expenses for medical facilities would have been taken into
account in the fixation of wages only to a limited extent and as the State cannot
discharge its full responsibility in the matter of providing medical
facilities, this Court held that a Tribunal will have jurisdiction in a proper
case to call upon an,employer to shoulder a part of the burden regarding
medical expenses incurred by his workman in the interest of industrial harmony
and good co-operative relations. We are emphasising the said decision which
recognised an employer being made to shoulder a part of the burden in respect
will of medical expenses, as more or less the same principle apply in the
matter of an employer being asked to reimburse the workman at least to a
limited extent regarding the transport expenses incurred by the latter for
going to his place of work.
(1)  (19) F.L.R. 46.
781 We have already pointed out that in Atul
village apart from the two Companies there is another concern also. Though Cynamid
India Ltd. is in the pharmaceutical industry, in our opinion, the Tribunal was
justified in having regard to the practice obtaining in that region on the
principle of region-cum-industry when considering the claim of the workmen for
payment of transport allowance. It is no doubt true that in the case of Cynamid
India Ltd. that Company was already paying 15 paise per day to every one of its
workmen as transport allowance and that amount has been raised by the Tribunal
to 37 paise per day. It has also granted even to Workmen living beyond three
miles but less than five miles a sum of 12 paise per day. But the very fact
that Cynamid India Ltd. was paying even originally 15 paise per day was a
relevant factor to be taken into account as the said industry was also in the
same region and most of its employees were also coming from distant places like
the workmen in \the case of the two Companies before us. It should also be
remembered that the Tribunal, in the awards in question,, was not considering
an isolated claim for payment of transport allowance. That demand was only one
of the demands, which was, being dealt with by the 'Tribunal along with various
other demands such as revision of wage scales, dearness allowance etc. The
Tribunal can certainly be expected to be aware of the fact, when it was fixing
the wage scales and dearness allowance that it has also to adjudicate on a
claim for transport allowance. Having due regard to this claim, it must have
fixed the wage scales and dearness allowance. We have gone through the scale of
dearness allowance fixed under the two awards and it is. to be seen that
complete neutralisation has not been awarded.
The Tribunal has also proceeded on the basis
that the workmen must bear, from and out of the wages earned by them, a part of
transport expenses. It is only when the Tribunal found that the expense
incurred by the workmen for transport was rather, very high and excessive that
it has afforded some relief. If the entire, body of workmen come from distant
places and they all have to incur heavy expenses for using transport, the
question may pertinently arise whether it is not a case for revision of wage
scales or dearness allowance in such a manner as to include\ also this item of
expense. The Companies have provided some accommodation in the village itself
for about 25 % of its workmen on a nominal rent. Some other are living near
about the village itself and they have no necessity to spend any amount for
transport. In respect of these two categories of workmen.
there cannot be. a general rise in the wages
paid to them. 0 , n the other hand, the case of workmen who come from distant
places, due to no fault of theirs, stands on a different footing. It is not
possible for them to cover the entire distance walking and they have
necessarily to use some transport for -L1061Sup CI/72 782 coming to their place
of work. Quite naturally, one can expect the workmen to choose only that type of
transport which will cost them the minimum. Even if they choose the train
service, which will be compartively cheaper, they will have to incur additional
expense for coming to their place of work and return home.
It must be noted that though the claim was for
payment of 80 paise per day per worker to cover the entire cost of transport to
and fro, the Tribunal has awarded only a moderate sum of 15 paise which was the
amount that was being paid by Cynamid India Ltd. originally. In the case of
Atul Products Ltd. as against the claim made for an allowance of Rs. 15/per
month, for every workman, the Tribunal has allowed only 15 paise per day and
that too on the days when the workman comes for duty. Similarly, in the case of
Atic Industries Ltd. the demands were : (a) Rs. 20/per month to be paid to
every workman using State Transport Bus Service;
(b) Rs. 15/per month to be paid to every
workman coming by cycle from places where State Transport Bus Service was not
available; and (c) The workmen who come by train should be paid Rs. 10/per
month as train allowance. As against these varying demands, the Tribunal has
only allowed 15 paise per day and that too on the days'when them workman comes
for work. Thus it will be seen that even on the basis that a workman staying at
a distance of five miles or more comes for work for 30 days in a month, the
allowance he gets is only a sum of Rs. 4.50 p under the Award.
In the circumstances mentioned above, it
cannot be stated that the award of the sum of 15 paise per day is in any manner
unreasonable or arbitrary. The payment has also been hedged in by the condition
that the employer has to be satisfied that the workman is staying at a place
five miles and over from Atul village and that it need not be paid on days when
the workman is either on earned leave or any type of leave authorised or
otherwise. Therefore, we are satisfied that the direction given by the Tribunal
under demand No. 4 in Civil Appeal No, 742 of 1968 and demand No.
6 in Civil Appeal No. 809 of 1968 is justified.
The Union in Civil Appeal No. 2086 of 1968
has asked for enhanced rate of transport allowance being given to the employee
in Atic Industries Ltd. Its claim is that 80 paise has to be paid to every
workman per day or in the alternative the allowance must be, as directed by the
Tribunal in Cynamid India Ltd. All these aspects have been discussed by the
Tribunal when it fixed the quantum in the case of Atic Industries Ltd. Though
the Tribunal cannot impose any new obligation on an employer merely on the
ground that the financial capacity of the employer is sound, nevertheless the
Tribunal when imposing the new obligation has also 783 to consider the capacity
of the employer to bear the burden.
In the case of Atic Industries Ltd. the
Tribunal has held that it does not want to cast additional financial burden and
that is why it has fixed the allowance at a very reduced scale. We see no error
in this reasoning of the Tribunal and as such Civil Appeal No. 2086 will have
to be dismissed.
In the result, the Awards of the Industrial
Tribunal in respect of demand No. 4 in Civil Appeal No. 742 of 1968 and demand
No. 6 in Civil Appeal No. 809 of 1968 are confirmed and both the appeals are
dismissed. Civil Appeal No. 2086 of 1968 is also dismissed. Parties will bear their
own costs in all the appeals.