State of Maharashtra Vs. Kamani
Employees' Union & Ors  INSC 101 (27 April 1973)
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN
CITATION: 1975 AIR 635 1974 SCR (1) 108 1975
SCC (4) 841
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, S.
10(1)(d)-Dispute relating to revision of Production bonus referred to Tribunal-
Subsequently another reference made as to question whether a scheme of
Production bonus adopted by another company should be adopted or not-Second
reference is connected with first dispute and is competent.
On December 19. 1962 the Government of
Maharashtra referred certain ,disputes between the respondent workmen and their
employers, to the Industrial Tribunal. Dispute no. 3 related to Production
bonus payable to the workmen under the existing scheme. When the adjudication
of the above reference was pending, the State Government on January 18, 1964
made another reference to the Tribunal of the question : "Should the
existing Incentive Scheme of Production bonus be replaced by the new scheme
evolved by Messrs. Ibcon Private Limited in their report dated October 1963 as
desired by the Management ?" The respondent union filed an application
before the Tribunal that the second reference dated January 18, 1964 should not
be adjudicated upon as it really amounted to withdrawal of the previous
reference made on December 19, 1962, and interfered with the powers of the
Tribunal in dealing with dispute no. 3 in the first reference. The Tribunal
overruled the objection but the High Court in a writ petition under Art. 226
accepted the contention of the union.
In appeal by the State on certificate,
HELD : Even without the second reference, the
Tribunal, when dealing with demand no. 3 of the first reference. could have
also considered the question of adopting the scheme evolved by Ibcon Private
Limited because it was a relevant matter, and also connected with the
Production Bonus Scheme. When it was so open to the Tribunal to consider the
Scheme of Ibcon the fact that the Government specifically referred for
consideration the said Scheme, makes no difference. At any rate the question
covered by the second reference was a matter 'connected with or relevant' to
dispute no. 3 of the first reference and hence the State was well within its
jurisdiction under section 10(1)(d) of the Industrial Disputes Act in passing
the order dated January 18, 1964.
Accordingly, the appeal must be allowed and
the judgment and order of the High Court must be set aside. [111G]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 1098 of 1969.
Appeal by certificate from the judgment and
order dated March 15, 1966 of the Bombay High Court in Special Civil
Application No. 1067 of 1964.
M. C. Bhandare, and S. P. Nayar, for the
R. P. Kapur, for respondent No. 2-1 The
Judgment of the Court was delivered by VAIDIALINGAM, J.-This appeal, on
certificate, by the State of Maharashtra is directed against the judgment and
order of the Bombay High Court dated March 15, 1967, Special Civil Application
No. 1067 of 1964, quashing the order of the State Government dated January 18,
1964, making a reference to the industrial Tribunal.
At the outset, it must be stated that the
workmen who filed the 'Writ Petition in the High Court and got an order in
their faVour, have 109 not appeared before us to support the order of the, High
Court. On behalf of the management, which was a party before the Tribunal and
before the High Court it has been represented that 'it is no longer. interested
in these proceedings.
It is necessary to state a few facts leading
upto the filing of the writ petition in the High Court. On December 19, 1962
the State. Government referred certain disputes for adjudication to the
Industrial Tribunal The matters in disputes included various items; but it is
only necessary to refer to dispute No. 3 which related to the Production,,
bonus. That dispute relating to Production Bonus in Part I for Daily Rated
workmen was as follows "3. Production Bonus.
The, present incentive scheme should be
revised as under (a) The scheme should be made applicable to all the
departments of the company.
(b) When the production in the establishment
reaches, 500 tons in a month all the daily rated workers should get 10 per cent
of their total earnings as production bonus. The number of workmen being the
average number employed in the year 1960.
(c) For every 10 tons increase in a month's
production above 500 tons a 2% increase in the percentage should be given over
and. above that in clause (b) above.
(d) The existing by laws and clauses
regarding the absenteeism etc. should be abolished.
(e) Bonus should be determined by the ratio
of days filled in by a worker to the number of working days in a month.
(f) The above benefits should be paid with
retrospective effect from 1st July 1961." In part 11. for Monthly Rated
employees, the dispute regarding Production Bonus was as follows "3.
(i) Monthly rated employees connected
directly with production should be paid production bonus at the same rate paid
to daily rated workmen.
(ii) 50% of the average production bonus paid
to the employees directly connected with production, should be paid as
productions bonus to all other monthly rated employees.
Production bonus for all monthly rated
employees should be paid with retrospective effect from 1st July, 1961."
When the adjudication on that reference was pending, the State Government on
January 18, 1964. made another reference to the same Tribunal as follows
"Should the existing Incentive Scheme of Production Bonus be replaced by
the new Incentive Scheme evolved 110 by Messrs. Ibcon Private Limited in their
report dated October 1963 as desired by the Management ?" In this order of
reference, it was stated that a previous reference had already been made on
December 10, 1962, regarding the revision of production bonus scheme for the
workmen of the company. It is further stated that the company made a
representation Co the State Government that the terms of reference already made
should be supplemented so as to include the above question also. The State.
Government has also stated in the said order
that it is of the opinion that the matter on which a further reference is asked
for by the employer is "connected with or relevant to the said
dispute". The reference to the "said dispute" is regarding the
revision of production bonus which was already the subject of the reference
dated December 19, 1962.
The Tribunal appears to have passed an award
on February 27, 1964, on all the disputes comprised in the 1st Reference
excepting demand No. 3, which, as we have already stated, relates to the
revision of the existing production bonus scheme. The union filed an
application before the Tribunal, stating that the second reference dated
January 18, 1964, should not be adjudicated upon. This objection was raised on
the ground that the order dated January 18, 1964, really amounts to the
withdrawal of the previous reference made on December 19 1962 and that it
interferes with the exercise of the powers of the Tribunal in the matter of
adjudicating dispute No. 3 already referred to it' The management opposed this
application on the ground that the order dated January 18, 1964, does not have
the effect of withdrawing the previous reference and that on the other hand,
the dispute that was referred by order of 1964 was really one "connected
with or relevant to the dispute" which was already pending adjudication
before the Tribunal.
The Tribunal overruled the preliminary
objection of the workmen about the competency of the Reference made on January
18, 1964; and it resulted in the latter approaching the High Court under
Article 226. The High Court, in its present order,. accepting the contentions of
the union, has held that the second order. dated January 18, 1964, had really
the effect of superseding- the previous reference made on December 19, 1962 and
also of interfering with the powers exercised by the Tribunal in respect of the
Mr. Bhandare, learned counsel, for the
appellant-State, has contended that the reasoning of the High Court that the
second order of reference amounts to a withdrawal of the Previous order dated
December 19, 1962, is fallacious. He has further pointed out that the subject
matter of the reference dated January 18, 1964, could have been included in the
order of December 19, 1962 and then it would have been perfectly competent for
the Tribunal to consider the nature of the modification that is to be effected
in respect of the production scheme then existing in the company. For that
purpose, the Tribunal could have considered the nature of the modifications
required by the workmen as well as the further question whether the Incentive
me evolved by the Ibcon Private Limited could be adopted. Mr. Bhandare 111 also
pointed out that the question covered by the second reference is really a
matter which "connected with or relevant to the dispute" already
pending before the Tribunal.
We are of the opinion that the contentions of
Mr. Bhandare have to be accepted. We are not able to appreciate the reasoning
of the learned Judges that the order dated January- 18, 1964, has the effect of
withdrawing or superseding the reference already made on December 19, 1962.
There Will be Withdrawal of a reference, when
the dispute referred is taken out of the purview of the Tribunal. There will be
supersession of a previous Reference, when the second Reference comprises
matters or disputes totally unconnected with or different from the disputes
originally referred. Neither is the case here. On the other hand, in our
opinion the question regarding the nature of the modification to be effected to
the production bonus scheme has to be considered by the Tribunal having due
regard to the scheme as it exists as well as to the various suggestions that
may be made by the parties, namely, the employer and the employee. If the
employer had relied on the scheme evolved by M/s Ibcon Private Ltd., it was
certainly competent for the tribunal to consider how far that scheme could be
adopted in this particular case. This aspect could have been considered by the
Tribunal, because it is "connected with or relevant to the dispute No.
3" relating to Production Bonus.
We are not inclined to accept the view of the
High Court that the reference dated January 18, 1964, in any manner interferes
with the powers of the Tribunal in adjudicating upon the demand No. 3 covered
by-the reference dated December 19, 1962. In fact, in our view, the question
that has been further referred by order dated January 18, 1964, is really a
matter connected with or relevant to dispute No.3 already pending adjudication
before the Tribunal. The Tribunal had full jurisdiction when dealing with
demand No.3 covered by the order dated December 19, 1962, to consider the
report mentioned in the subsequent reference dated January 18, 1964. It had
full power to consider as to in what manner and to what extent the modification
is to be effected in the Incentive Scheme obtaining in the company.
In fact. even without the second Reference,
the Tribunal, when dealing with demand No. 3 of the 1st Reference, could have,
also considered the question of adopting the Scheme evolved by Ibcon Private
Limited, because it was a relevant matter; and also connected with the
Production Bonus Scheme.
When lit was so open to the Tribunal to
consider the Scheme of Ibcon, the fact that the Government specifically
referred for consideration the said Scheme, makes no difference. At any rate
the question covered by the 2nd Reference was a matter' "connected with or
relevant' to dispute No. 3 of the 1st Reference and hence the State was well
within its jurisdiction under section 10(1) (d) of the Industrial Disputes Act
in passing the order dated January 18, 1964.
The High Court has referred to various
decisions regarding the powers of the Government, when making a reference,
which, in our opinion, it is not necessary to consider, in the view that we
take regarding the nature of the reference dated January 18, 1964.
112 In the result, the judgment and order of
the High Court are set aside. The Tribunal will proceed to adjudicate on the
question pending before it regarding the revision of the existing production
bonus scheme. As the original reference itself is of the year 1962, the
Tribunal will give a very expeditious disposal to this matter. The appeal is
accordingly allowed. There will be no order as to costs.
G. C. Appeal allowed.