Woolcombers of India Ltd. Vs.
Woolcombers Workers Union & ANR  INSC 150 (27 August 1973)
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN
CITATION: 1973 AIR 2758 1974 SCR (1) 504 1974
SCC (3) 318
CITATOR INFO :
RF 1986 SC 125 (14) RF 1990 SC1984 (7,30)
Industrial Dispute Act-What is bare minimum
wage and fair wage-Difference-Industry-cum-region-formula for fixing basic
wages and dearness allowance what principle to be followed.
The West Bengal Government referred an
industrial dispute' between the appellants and their, workmen to the Industrial
tribunal for adjudication. As many as 10 points of dispute were referred. The
Tribunal gave its Award on all the points referred except a part of point No. 1
and point No.
7, which were decided against the workmen.
The workmen were categorised into 4 classes highly skilled, skilled, semiskilled
and unskilled workmen. One part of point No' 1 relating to the fixation of the
basic wage and dearness allowance of the workmen was decided in their favour.
The basic wage etc. of the workmen and other employees was fixed in an
arbitrary manner by the Tribunal.
Before the Award, all the workmen were
getting Dearness Allowances at a flat rate of Rs. 94.10. The Award had varied
the Dearness Allowance also.
The Tribunal only gave its conclusions but it
did not give the supporting reasons. In appeal before this Court. the
Appellant, complained that the Tribunal in coming into its conclusions, did not
give any reason, The respondents, however, sought to explain away the absence
or reasons in the Award by saying that the Tribunal had fixed the bare minimum
wage. So, no reasons were required to be given.
Remanding the case to the Tribunal to record
a fresh finding on the quantum and the basic wages and Dearness Allowance by
applying the region part of the Industry-cum-Region Formula etc.,
HELD : (1) The judicial and quasi-judicial
authorities when exercising initial jurisdiction should give their reasons in
support of their conclusions because of the following reasons :
(a)It is calculated to prevent unconscious
unfairness or arbitrariness in reaching the conclusions.
(b)It is a well known principle that justice
should not only be done but should also appear to have been done. In a sense,
the conclusions may be just, but they may not appear to be just to those who
read them; and (c)That from an appeal to this Court under Art. 136, if the
lower courts do not give reasons for their conclusions, it will be of little
assistance to this Court to come to a correct decision. The Court will have to
wade through the entire record and find for itself whether the decision in
appeal is right or wrong. In many cases, this investment of time and industry
will be saved if reasons are given in support of the conclusions. [507C] (ii)The
Tribunal has not fixed the bare minimum wage of the workmen as emphasised by
the respondent. The bare minimum wage. as pointed out in Kainani Metals &
Alloys v. Their Workmen,  2 L.L.J. 55 must be paid by an employer in
spite of want of financial capacity. The bare minimum wage is "the lowest
little below which wages cannot be allowed to sink in all humanity." In
the written statement, the workers did not ask for the bare minimum wage. They
were claiming a basic fair wage and not bare minimum wage. [508G] (iii)Further,
the referring order of the West Bengal Government did not ask the Tribunal to
fix the bare minimum wage and the Tribunal had admittedly considered the
financial capacity of the Appellants while fixing the bare minimum wage.
Therefore, what the Tribunal was doing was fixing not the bare minimum wage but
a basic fair wage.
[510B-C] 505 (iv)For fixing basic wages and
Dearness Allowance, industrial adjudication. sometimes leans on the industry
part of the industry-cum-region formula and on other times, on the region part
of the formula. The industry part of the formula becomes relevant when the
business carried on by the employers before the industrial adjudication is also
carried on by several other concerns in the region in.. which the employer is
working. In the present, case, the appellants being the only concern in the
region, the industry part of the formula is not applicable. [510G] Greates
Cotton & Co. and Ors. v. Their Workmen,  5.S.C.R. 362, referred to.
Therefore, the present case is governed by
the region part of the industry cum-region formula. This formula requires that
a comparable concern should nearly be similar to the line of business carried
on by the employer before industrial adjudication. The Tribunal has made endeavour
to select for comparison, concerns merely similar to the line of business
carried on by the appellant. It had not compared the appellant with any other
concern. There is, however, oral evidence for or against the appellants, but in
the absence of any documentary evidence, or records, the Tribunal Award on
basic wages and Dearness Allowance cannot be upheld.[1511B, 513D] French Motor,
Co. Ltd. v. Workmen  Supp. 2 S.C.R. 16.
and Workmen of Balmer Lorrie & Co. v.
Balmer Lorrie & Co.,  5 S.C.R. 344, referred to.
The Tribunal should select comparable
concerns in the region for the purpose of determining the basic wages and
Dearness Allowance of the respondents.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 2529 of 1969.
Appeal by special leave from the. award dated
the 26th September, 1969 of the Sixth Industrial Tribunal, West Bengal in Case
No. VIIII198/68 published in the Calcutta/Gazette dated the November 6, 1969.
Sachin Chaudhury O. P. Malhotra, D. N. Gupta
and G., L.
Mukhoty, for the appellant.
D. N. Mukherjee, and N. R. Chaudhury, for
respondent No. 1.
G. L. Sanghi, Rathin Das and S. K. Ganguli,
for respondent No. 2.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
DWIVEDI, J.-M/S. Woolcombers of India Limited have their factory at Jagatdal,
21 miles from Calcutta. They shall hereafter be addressed as Woolcombers. They
are the appellants in this case. The respondents are their workmen employed in
the factory at Jagatdal. They are represented by two Unions : Woolcombers
Workers' Union and the Issac Holdens Mazdoor Union. On June 4, 1969, the West
Bengal Government referred an industrial dispute between the Woolcombers and
their workmen to the 6th Industrial Tribunal, Calcutta for adjudication. As
many as 10 points of dispute were, referred. Parties filed, their written
statements and produced their oral and documentary evidence.
After examining the evidence; the Tribunal
gave its award on September 26, 1969. All the referred points except a part of
point No. 1 and point No. 7 were decided against the workmen. Point No. related
to the categorisation of workmen in the factory. They were catagorised into
four classes :
(1) highly skilled workmen, (2) skilled 506
workmen, (3) semi-skilled workmen, and (4) unskilled workmen. ,'The finding on
point No. 7 is not impugned in this appeal. A part of point No. 1 relating to
the fixation of grades and scales of pay was ,decided agains the, workmen.
'there is no appeal against this, part of the award by the workmen. The
remaining part of point No. 1 relating to the fixation of the basic wage and
dearness allowance was decided in favour of the workmen. The basic wage of the
workmen was fixed in the, Following manner:
(1) highly skilled workmenRs. 32/per week (2)
skilled workmen Rs. 23/per week (3) semiskilled workmen Rs. 25/per week (4)
unskilled workmen Rs. 22 50 p per week.
They were also given an increment of Rs. 10/over
the basic wage. The basic vage of other employees was fixed in the following
(1) Clerk Grade I Rs. 150-5-170-8-250 (2)
Clerk Grade 11 Rs. 130-3-200 (3) S. B. Clerk Rs. 200-10-300 (4) S. A. Clerk Rs.
270-10-370 (5) Driver Rs. 120-5-140 (6) Darwan Rs. 90/(7) Sweeper Rs. 86/7 (8)
Junior Labaratory AssistantRs. 130-10-170-12206-15-25118-305 (9) Senior
Laboratory AssistantRs. 180-15-240-20300-25-400 (10) Overlooker Rs.
180-15-290-20-410 Before the award, all the, workers were getting dearness
allowance at the flate rate of Rs. 94.10 p. The, award has varied the dearness
;allowance in the following manner :
(1) Employees getting Rs. 100 or below per
month dearness allowance, at Rs. 1501per month.
(2) Employees getting between Rs. 1 00 and
200 per month dearness allowance at Rs. 60/per month for the second Rs.
(3) Employees getting between Rs..200 and 300
per month dearness allowance at Rs. 20/for the additional Rs. 100/-.
This rate of dearness allowance will remain
in force so long as the point for the cost of living fluctuates between 650 and
750. If the point goes beyond 750, per 5 points there will be an increase of
Re. 1/Similarly, if the point goes below 650, per 5 points there will be a
decrease of Re.1/-.
The Tribunal has not stated the reasons in
support of its conclusions. This criticism of Shri Chaudhary, counsel for the
Woolcombers, appears to us to be right. As ;regards basic wages, the Tribunal
says only this : "I am inclined to lay down the basic wages of the
workmen...... those who are highly skilled workmen .... will get Rs. 32/per
week as their basic wages. Those who are skilled workmen. . . .
will get Rs. 28/per week as their basic
wages. Those who are semi507 skilled workmen .... will get Rs. 25/Per week as
their basic wages. Those who are unskilled workmen will get Rs.22.50P. per week
as their basic wages." As regards the basic. wages of other employees, the
Tribunal says : "Now in the light of the enhanced pay as revised by me, in
respect of skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled workers, I want
to revise" the existing wages of clerks, drivers, durwan, Sweeper,
laboratory assistants and over lookers.
It may be observed that the first passage,
quoted by us states only the conclusions. It does not give the supporting
reasons. The second passage quoted by us states merely on,-of the, reasons.
The, other relevant reasons are not disclosed. The giving of reasons in support
of their conclusions by judicial and quasi-judicial authorities when exercising
initial jurisdiction is essential for various reasons. First, it is calculated
to prevent unconscious unfairness or arbitrariness in reaching the conclusions.
The very search for reasons will put the authority on the alert and minimise
the chances of unconscious infiltration of personal bias or unfairness in the
conclusion. The authority will adduce reason which will be regarded as fair and
legitimate by a reasonable man and will discard irrelevant or extraneous
Second, it is a well-known principle that
justice should not only be done but should also appear to be done. Unreasoned
conclusions may be just but they may not appear to be just to those who read
them. Reasons conclusions on the other hand, will have also the appearance of
justice. Third, it should be remembered that an appeal generally lies from the
decisions of judicial and quasi-judicial authorities to this Court by special
leave granted under Art. 136. A judgment which does not disclose the reasons,
will be of little assistance to the Court. The Court will have to wade through
the entire record and find for itself whether the decision in appeal is right or
wrong. In many cases this investment of time and industry will be, saved if
reasons are given in support of the conclusions. So it is necessary to
emphasise that judicial and quasijudicial authorities should always give
reasons in support of their conclusions.
Shri Sanghi, counsel for the Wool combers
Workers' Union, seeks. to explain away the absence of reasons in the award by
the argument that the Tribunal has fixed the bare minimum wage. We are unable
to accept this argument. Even the fixation of the bare minimum wage is the
result of a process of reasoning. There must be supporting reasons for the
quantification of the bare minimum wage. But, as already stated, the Tribunal
has not given any reasons at all in support of the basic wages fixed for the
More importantly, the Tribunal does not
appear to have fixed the bare minimum wage. There are several decisions of this
Court on the meaning of tile bare minimum wage. We shall refer only to one of
them: Kamani Metals and Alloys vs.
Their Workmen.(1) Hidayatullah J. there said
"To cope with these differences certain
principles on which wages are fixed have been stated from time to time by this
(1)  2 L. L. J. 55 at p. 58.
508 Court. Broadly speaking, the first
principle is that there is a minimum wage which, in any event must be paid,
irrespective of the extent of profits, the financial condition of the establishment
or the availability of workmen on lower wages. This minimum wage is independent
of the kind of industry and applies to all alike big or small. It sets the
lowest limit below which wages cannot be allowed to sink in all humanity'. The
second principle is that wages must be fair, that is to say, sufficiently high
to provide a standard family with food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and
education of children appropriate to the workmen but not at a rate exceeding
his wage earning capacity in the class of establishment to which he belongs.
A. fair wage is thus related to the earning
capacity and the workload. It must, however, be realised that "fair
wage" is not "living wage" by which is meant a wage which is
sufficient to provide not only the essentials above mentioned but a fair
measure of frugal comfort with an ability to provide for old age and evil days.
Fair wage lies between the minimum wage, which must be paid in any event, and
the living wage, which is the goal." The referring order of the West
Bengal Government does not ask the Tribunal to fix the bare minimum wage as
explained in the aforesaid decision; nor do the pleadings of the two Unions set
out a clear and unambiguous plea for the bare minimum wage. Paragraph 6 of the
written statement filed by the Issac Holdens Mazdoor Union states that
"the conditions of service for the workmen have been kept miserably low on
the lines of the jute workers." Paragraph 8 says that the basic wages of
workmen of all categories "are low." This, in our opinion, is not a
clear and unequivocal plea for the bare minimum wage. Paragraphs 6 and 8 make a
statement of the factual position regarding the condition of service including
the basic wages in the factory at the time of the reference of the, dispute to
the Tribunal. It is no where stated in the aforesaid written statement that the
workers were claiming bare minimum wage. Paragraph 11 of the written statement
seems to suggest to the contrary. It is said in this paragraph that the, claims
made in the written statement "are just and reasonable and the Company has
capacity to meet these claims." The question whether the claim for a
particular basic wage is just and reasonable or whether the employer has the
capacity to pay the claimed basic wage is wholly irrelevant to the demand of
the bare, minimum wage. The bare minimum wage, as pointed out in the Kamani
Metals and Alloys vs. Their Workmen (supra) must be paid by an employer in
spite of want of financial capacity.
The bare minimum wage is the "lowest
limit below which wages cannot be allowed to sink in all humanity."
Paragraph 3 of the written statement filed by the Woolcombers Workmen Union
states that the wages "paid to the workers are not only below the level of
fair wages but far below the need-based minimum even as recommended by the
Fifteenth Indian Labour Conference." Paragraph 8 of the written statement
reiterates that the "existing wages in the factory are much below the
need-based minimum." These two paragraphs do not go 509 beyond stating the
factual position in respect of wages in the factory. They do not say that the
bare minimum wage is not being paid nor do they demand it. Paragraph 7 of the
written statement states that the ,workers have been assured under the
Constitution of India that living wages would be made available to them. The
concept of living wage is dynamic and not static. It varies from time to time
and country to country. Today they need-based minimum wage for the lowest paid
group of the workmen cannot be less than Rs.
240/per month per head. It was in 1961 that
the floor level. of fair wage for the working class had been assessed
approximately at about Rs. 280/and that of the clerical staff at Rs. 380/per
month. The living wages would be much higher still. Since 1961 the cost of
living index has gone very high and as such the amount of need-based minimum
wage is greater still than what it was in 1961." The Union goes on to add
: "The fact remains that the company is a fairly old one and it has
sufficient resources to make available to its workmen at least fair wages with
grades and incremental scale of pay on the basis of skill. It is high time that
some progress should be made towards payment of living wages to the workmen by
introducing grades and scales of pay with annual increments." This would
show that the Woolcombers Workers' Union was claiming a basic fair wage, and
not the bare minimum wage.' Nowhere in this written statement there is a clear
demand for the bare minimum wage.
On the whole the two written statements, in
our view, seek to claim a basic fair wage. The statement of N. H. Khan, P.W. 1
"that the wages are very inadequate for their subsistence" again is a
characterisation of the rates of wages in the factory at the time of the
reference. Those words cannot spell out a demand for bare minimum wage.
Expatiating on the workmen's demand for--the
basic Wages claimed in their statement, N; H. Khan later said that "when
we, say that our demand for wages is need-based, I mean that. my. children will
have adequate food and proper clothing and expens`s for education. I mean by
that we want minimum wages." Our attention was also drawn by Mr. Sanghi to
the statement of G. Ghorai to this effect : "I have 7 dependents. One of
them is of school going age. I cannot send her to school. I have two children,
elder is the daughter. She is 6 years. My brother who is 15 is unemployed. He
cannot be sent to school nor my daughter because of paucity of money. We, seven
live in one room flat at a rent of Rs. 151per month. My expenses only for
marketing for daily needs e.g. vegetables, salt, onion, ginger come to Rs. 40/per
month. I do not buy any milk.
My expenses for fuel and kerosene oil come to
Rs. 16/per month. I cannot make both ends meet by, my. monthly pay. I am in
constant debt." This statement is again factual. It is perhaps a vivid
description of the workers' plight .It the time of the reference of the dispute
to the Tribunal.
It does not, however, state that the basic
wage claimed in the written statement is the bare minimum wage. It is true that
N. H. Khan has said that we want minimum wage," but he has clarified what
he meant by "minimum wag,--." According to him, minimum wage must
include expenses for the education of the workers' children. But a basic wage
which provides for the, education of the workers' children is riot the bare
minimum wage: it-is fair wage. (See Kamani Metals and Alloys Ltd. v.,;. Their
Workmen (supra) at page 58).
7-L382 Sup. c1/74 510 In fixing the basic
wages, the Tribunal states: "In increasing basic wage as I am proposing to
do I am quite alive to the fact that the said wage rate cannot be in any way
fair wage let alone living wage but keeping in view the financial position of
the company as it is now as also the nature of work they do along with their
respective skill, I am increasing the wage-structure at the rates prescribed by
According to Shri Sanghi, this passage clearly
indicates that the Tribunal has fixed the bare minimum wage. We have already
pointed out that the referring order of the West Bengal Government did not ask
the Tribunal to fix the bare minimum wage. It is also necessary to point out at
this stage that apart from the aforesaid passage in the award there is no
reference at any other place therein that the bare minimum wage was being
granted to the workmen. The financial capacity of an employer does not enter
into the scale in the fixation of the bare minimum wage. But in fixing the
basic wages the Tribunal has admittedly considered the financial capacity of
the Woolcombers. It would suggest that the Tribunal has really fixed the basic
fair wage. So when the Tribunal says in the aforesaid passage that the basic
wages fixed by it "cannot be in any way fair wage" it does not really
mean to say that it was fixing the bare minimum wage. It seems to us that the
Tribunal really wanted to emphasise the fact that having regard to the
financial capacity of the woolcombers it was not awarding more than the floor
level of the fair wage to the workmen. So we do not agree with Shri Sanghi that
the Tribunal has fixed the bare minimum wage. Now, the absence of reasons in
support of the conclusions is indeed a serious flaw in the award. However, the
award cannot be set aside simply on that score, if there is evidence on the
record in support of the Tribunal's conclusion. Accordingly we have gone
through the entire evidence on record.
It is now well-settled that basic wage and dearness
allowance should be determined in the light of the industrycum-region formula
and the financial condition of an employer. So the evidence win have to be
examined in the light of these two principles.
Industry-cum-region formula :
For fixing basic wages and dearness allowance
industrial adjudication sometimes leans on the industry part of the
industry-cumregion formula and at other times on the region part of that
formula. The industry part of the formula becomes relevant when the business
carried on by the employer before industrial adjudication is also carried on by
several other concerns in the region in which the employer is working. (See
Greeves Cotton and Co. and others v. Their Workmen(1) The industry part of the
formula is not applicable in this case because admittedly the Woolcombers is
the only concern in the region carrying on the business of woolcombing. Besides
woolcombing, Woolcombers comb also Rayon, Nylon, Terelene, Terine, (1)  5
S. C. R. 362 511 Visocose, Tery-cotton and Posmina. This case is accordingly
governed by the region part of the industry-cum-region formula. (See Greaves
Cotton and Co. and others v. Their Workmen (Supra).
The region part of the industry-cum-region
formula requires that comparable concerns should nearly be similar to the line
of business carried on by the 'employer before industrial adjudication(See
French Motor Car Co. Ltd. v. Workmen(1). The argument of the Woolcombers before
the Tribunal was and still is that there are a large number of jute mills in
the vicinity of their factory and that the line of business carried on by them
is similar to the line of business carried on in the woolcombers factory. The
Tribunal rejected this argument. The Tribunal has pointed out that it is true
that some jobs in the Woolcombers and jute mills are similar. Nevertheless it
has taken the view that the Woolcombers cannot compared with the jute mills.
It has elaborately inted out the material
differences in the jobs in the Woolcombers and jute mills. The workmen of Woolcombers
handle finer and costlier articles. The working operations in the Woolcombers
are more strenuous and perilous. The raw materials require more skilful,
handling and more attention and the products are to be handled much more
carefully than the products of jute mill. Wool has got many more varieties than
jute. The shortest length of jute is 3 feet, while that of wool is two inches.
The Tribunal has concluded:" (From the entire evidence it is clear from
start to finish in case of Woolcombers' work it is not only more exacting in
spite of its apparent similarity but also call for more skill." I has been
urged by Shri Chaudhary that the differences pointed out by the Tribunal in the
performance of jobs in the woolcombers and jute mills are not borne out by the
evidence on record and that they are not material for the purpose of deciding
whether jute mills are comparable concerns. it has come in the evidence of
workmen that many of them work in conditions of "intense heat": and
this is admitted also by the Woolcombers witness, B. B. Roy. One of the
workmen's witness has stated that often workers faint on account of working in
intense heat. Again, the evidence of the workmen also shows that many of them
work in high powered light which causes very great strain on their eyes.
B. B. Roy has also admitted that some of the
workers work in very difficult conditions of dust. In short, the evidence shows
that the work in the Woolcombers requires much more caution, precision and
attention than the work in the jute mills. Naturally, the workers are put to
much' more. mental and physical strain than the workers in the jute mills.
B. B. Roy, Woolcombers, witness, has compared
the job of certain workmen in the Woolcombers with the job of workmen in the
jute mills. For instance, according to him Soap makers' job in the Woolcombers
is similar to Emulsion Tank Attendant of Anglo (1)  Stipp. 2 S. C. R. 16
at page 22.
512 India Jute Mills. Soap makers' job,
according to him, is to make Soap solution in a tank,, while Emulsion Tank
Attendants' job is to make emulsion of soap, oil and water He has made similar
comparisons between other jobs. Sensory similarities in jobs may be taken into
consideration in finding out comparable concerns in the region, but in our
judgment they should not be regarded as decisive.
Industrial adjudication should also give due
weight to the widely disparate skill and mental and physical strain in the
performance of jobs. Greater skill, like greater merit, should ordinarily
receive more material recognition.
Greater mental and physical strain calls for
more expenditure on the workers renewal of himself and should accordingly be
better rewarded. No workman will be willing to entertain an arduous and
perilous task for inadequate remuneration. Inadequate remuneration will not
conduce to industrial peace. Considering all the circumstances of the case, we
think that the Tribunal has not gone wrong in its conclusion that the
Woolcombers cannot be compared with jute mills.
Shri Chaudhary's main grievance is that the
Tribunal has made no endeavour to select for comparison concerns nearly similar
to the line of business carried on by the Woolcombers. We are satisfied that it
is a just grievance.
The Tribunal has given no reasons in support
of its conclusion regarding the fixation of the basic wages and dearness
allowance. Nor has it compared the Woolcombers with any other concern. The
workmen no doubt produced some oral evidence in respect of certain concerns. In
his evidence Nabi Hasan Khan has sought to compare the Wooloombers with the
Hindustan Lever Ltd., Exide Associated Battery, National Insulated Cable Co.,
Titaghar Paper Mill No. 2, Calcutta Electric Supply, Shyamnagar Works and
Incheck Tyre. Those concerns are situated near the Woolombers' factory. The workmen
also examined P.DRai Bhar from Hindustan Lever Ltd., Amrit Lal Karmakar from
Titaghar Paper Mill No. 2 and Binoy Kumar Ganguli from Rolling and Steel Ropes
Ltd. to show that the basic wages and dearness allowance payable to the workers
of those concerns were much higher than the basic wages and dearness allowance
paid to the workmen of the Woolcombers. It does not seem that the Tribunal has
relied on the workmen's oral evidence. it has merely commented that presumably
this evidence had been led for the purpose of "impressing upon me that the
basic wages and dearness allowance of those concerns.... are much higher 'than
those enjoyed by the employees of the Woolcombers." Indeed the Tribunal
could not rely on this oral evidence.
The workmen did not specify in their written
statement the names of the comparable concerns in. the region.
Accordingly the Woolcombers could not have a
reasonable opportunity of effective confrontation of, the workmen's witnesses.
More importantly, it should be remembered that "in dealing with the
comparable character of an industrial undertaking; the industrial adjudication
does not usually rely on oral evidence alone. This question 513 is considered
in the light of material evidence and circumstances which are generally proved
by documentary evidence. What is the, total capital invested by the concern,
what is the extent of its business, what is the order of the profits made by
the concern, what are the dividends paid, how many employees are employed by
the concern what is its standing in the industry to which it belongs, these and
other matters have. to be examined by industrial adjudication in determining
the question as to whether one concern is comparable with another in the matter
of fixing wages. Now, it is obvious that these questions cannot be decided
merely on the interested testimony either of the workmen, or of the employer
and his witnesses." (See Workmen of Balmer Lawrie and Co. v. Balmer Lawrie
and Co.(1) The absence of any documentary evidence is a fatal defect in the
circumstances of this case. Accordingly, we cannot uphold the Tribunal's award
on basic wages and dearness allowance.
The question now is : What course should we
adopt? We can set aside the award and direct the Tribunal to make a fresh award
after allowing the parties to produce evidence in relation to comparable
concerns in the region. The other course is to call for a finding from the
Tribunal in regard to basic wages and dearness allowance in the light of our
judgment. The adoption of the first course may unduly delay the final award,
for it is not improbable that an appeal may be filed in this Court against the
fresh award. The reference was made some time in June, 1968 and five years have
already gone by without the award becoming final. The adoption of the second
course, on tie other hand, is likely to avoid undue delay. It appears to us
that having regard to the circumstances of this case, we should adopt the
second course. We would defer our decision on the question of financial
capacity of the industry to bear the burden of the increased basic wages and
dearness allowance till the finding of the Tribunal is received by this Court.
While selecting comparable concerns in the
region for the purpose of determining basic wages and dearness allowance of the
workmen of the Woolcombers, the Tribunal should bear in mind that the selected
concerns are as nearly similar to the line of business carried on by the
Woolcombers as possible.
The selected concerns should not be
disproportionately larger than the Woolcombers. The concerns should as far as
possible be compared with the Woolcombers (1)  5 S. C. R. 344 at page
514 as to their standing, extent of their
labour force, extent of their customers, their profit and losses and an other
We direct the Tribunal to record a fresh
finding on the quantum of the basic wages and dearness allowance by applying
the region part of the industry-cum-region formula and in the light of our
judgment. Parties are allowed to adduce their evidence on this limited question
only. The Tribunal should send its finding to this Court within four months
from the receipt of the record from this Court.
Costs will abide the event.