Managing Director, A.P. State Road Transport Corporation Vs. The Presiding
Officer Industrial Tribunal, Ramkote, Hyderab  Insc 52 (1 February 2001)
Babu & S.N. Variava Rajendra Babu, J. :
Appeal (civil) 3748 of 1998
J U D
G M E N T
transport wing of Tirupathi Tirumala Devasthanam (for short T.T.D.] was
transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (for short
the Corporation] under an agreement dated 8.8.1975. It was provided in the
agreement that 850 workmen to be transferred to the Corporation. The transfer
of the workmen to the Corporation was challenged in a writ petition No. 1361 of
1976 but it was dismissed on 13.7.1977 and a writ appeal filed against the said
judgment was also confirmed. While some of the transferred T.T.D. transport
workers who opted to come under the Corporation Rules and Regulations were not
before the court, the other workers wanted to maintain their separate identity
in spite of their transfer to the Corporation and so they did not opt to come
under the Corporation Rules and Regulations. Subsequent to the transfer certain
settlements had been entered into with the Corporation by the Union of the workmen from time to time.
members of the Union made a demand that under clause 13 of the transfer
agreement dated 8.8.1975 they were entitled to the benefits which accrued to
the present T.T.D. workers after 8.8.1975 but the Corporation did not agree for
such demand, an industrial dispute was raised which was referred to the
Industrial Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal] under Section
10(1)(d) of the Industrial Disputes Act (for short the Act]. The question
referred to the Tribunal reads as follows :- Whether the former transferred
T.T.D. workers (presently the APSRTC workers) are entitled to the benefits
accrued to the present T.T.D. workers after 8.8.75 in terms of the agreement
dated 8.8.75. If so, to what extent? After notice the representatives of the Union, the Corporation and the T.T.D. filed their
statements. The Union raised several questions although the question referred
to the Tribunal was with reference to the benefits that have accrued to the
present T.T.D. workers would be applicable to the erstwhile T.T.D. workers or
not. In view of the several claims made before the Tribunal the scope of the
reference was to be considered. The Tribunal examined various contentions and
raised certain issues which are :
Whether the second respondent TTD represented by its Executive Officer is a
proper and necessary party in this industrial dispute?
Whether the members of the petitioner Union
are entitled to the benefits conferred on the TTD employees subsequent to
any relief is to be granted in this industrial dispute against whom should the
award be passed?
what relief? The Tribunal noticed that clause 11 of the agreement indicated
that the T.T.D. reserved its right to retain vehicles, equipment and other
assets as required by them along with the required number of workers to operate
13 stipulated that all the remaining workmen working in the transport
undertaking of the T.T.D. without interruption in their service are taken by
the Corporation and protection is given in pay and allowance, provident fund
contributions and gratuity in terms of Section 25FF of the Act and T.T.D.
agreed to pay such compensation if any as is liable to be paid to workmen who
do not opt to serve under the Corporation. Under clause 14 arrangement is made
for retirement benefits, provident fund and gratuity. Under clause 15 T.T.D.
agreed to continue to permit the employees to continue to reside in their
quarters subject to certain conditions. Pursuant to the take over there was
complete cessation of legal relationship between the members of the Union and
the T.T.D. and after 10.8.1975 these employees have entered into various
agreements and settlements with the Corporation and the T.T.D. was not a party
to those agreements and none of these workers opted to be retrenched and
claimed compensation from the T.T.D., the Tribunal confined the dispute only as
against the Corporation. The entire transport wing had been handed over to the
Corporation and, therefore, Section 25FF of the Act would be applicable. But
the workmen also exercised their option in the form indicated in Ex.M9 in which
they have to give an undertaking that they shall abide by the rules of RTC in
force from time to time subject to the workmen rights under Section 25FF of the
Act. This option form was provided pursuant to a writ petition No. 4456 of
1975. In the circumstances, the Tribunal found that having given categorical
undertaking that they would abide by the rules and regulations of the
Corporation in force, it is not open to the members of the claimant Union to
now contend that they continued to be governed by the T.T.D. rules and
regulations and they continue to be employees of the T.T.D..
the Tribunal held that they are not entitled to claim benefits which conferred
by the T.T.D. Management on its employees subsequent to 10.8.1975. However,
after rejecting several other reliefs claimed, the Tribunal granted the
following four reliefs :-
Pay in the selection grade will have to be fixed taking 1.1.1975 as the crucial
Regarding promotions, it held as under :
when the workers opt to be governed by A.P.S.R.T.C. Regulations then they may
be given promotions taking into account their total service and the seniority
including the TTD services.
The facility for bus tour on concessional hire, and
gratia bonus should be paid to the members of the claimant Union on the same basis on which ex gratia bonus is paid
to other employees of the RTC.
matter was carried in writ petition to the High Court and the High Court by its
order made on 3.12.1996 did not interfere with the award made by the Tribunal.
It is only in regard to these four reliefs that arguments are addressed before
this Court the contentions urged before the Tribunal and the High Court are
reiterated that the question referred to the Tribunal being of a limited
character as to whether the benefits accruing to the present T.T.D. workers
could be extended to the employees of the transport wing or not and having
answered that the said employees have all opted for being governed by the
Corporation rules and regulations and other service conditions, it is not open
to them to claim those benefits.
as the first question raised before us regarding selection grade is concerned,
it is noticed by the Tribunal that selection grade has been given with effect
from 1.1.1974 restricting the monetary benefits to be given only from 1.1.1978;
that the orders were actually issued in the year 1976, and that the Corporation
had agreed to safeguard the conditions of service of the workers. The Tribunal
further noticed that the claim in that regard was pending consideration before
the take over and, therefore, restricting the monetary benefits to be given
only from 1.1.1978 was not justified and the monetary benefits will have to be
given with effect from 1.1.1975. This claim appears to us has been rightly
allowed by the Tribunal and thus calls for no interference.
as ex gratia bonus is concerned, on an earlier occasion this question has been raised
and the matter had reached this Court in Civil Appeal No. 4693 of 1984 and this
Court disposed of the matter on 23.11.1984 stating that the parties had agreed
that on payment of Rs. 7,50,000 by the respondents to the petitioners within
six weeks from that day as ex gratia payment the disputes raised by the workmen
of the transport wing which was the subject matter of that appeal should be
treated as settled and resolved completely. The direction of the Tribunal in
this regard is that ex gratia shall be paid to the members of the claimant
Union on the same basis on which ex gratia is paid to other employees of the
RTC. Inasmuch as the employees working in the transport wing have now opted to
be governed by the RTC regulations and other service conditions, the Tribunal
held that they should be treated at par from the year 1986 onwards and they
should be given similar benefits that have been given to the other RTC workers
earlier. Therefore, we find, this finding recorded by the Tribunal also to be
as the claim for bus tour on concessional rate is concerned, although original concessional
rate was @ Rs. 1 per kilometer , the Tribunal fixed at Rs. 2.50 per kilometer
for the years 1985 onwards till the Corporation changes the rate of hire under
Section 9A of the Act and the Tribunal adopted as a rule of thumb and with a
view to find out an equitable solution for the dispute between the parties.
Inasmuch as the Tribunal had found that unilateral alteration of hire rate to Rs.
4 per kilometer was not justified adopted the rule of thumb, we do not think
that the discretion exercised by the Tribunal in this regard is improper.
the only question for consideration before us is with regard to the direction
given by the Tribunal regarding promotion of the employees. The Tribunal
noticed that the difficulty in regard to promotion had arisen on account of the
fact that employees in the transport wing of the Corporation who were erstwhile
employees of the T.T.D. were retrenched to go out of station and, in fact,
those who were promoted and posted out of station came back to Tirupathi by
giving up benefit of promotion. In these circumstances, the Tribunal felt that
if and when the workers opt to be governed by the RTC regulations then they may
be given promotions taking into account their total service and the seniority
including the T.T.D. services. This direction would give rise to a lot of
difficulties in the services inasmuch as several others have already been
promoted and given that benefit and now to consider the cases of the members of
the Union for promotion would lead to
anomalous results that apart from financial burden that will arise in the case.
Therefore, all that could be done now is to consider the cases of these
employees for promotion as and when vacancies arise bearing in mind whether
their juniors have been promoted earlier or not. In such cases, since the
workmen in the transport wing have also opted to be governed by the RTC
regulations, their cases will have to be examined for promotion but where
promotions had already been given to others the same cannot be disturbed.
Notional promotion may be given to them without any monetary benefits and
suitable adjustments in seniority be made. Direction of this sort given in
modification of the award of the Tribunal would meet the requirements of
justice. We order accordingly.
Rao pointedly addressed that direction given by the Tribunal is far beyond the
scope of the reference.
question referred to the Tribunal though worded as to the cover applicability
of conditions of service in T.T.D.
members of the respondent Union, what was
really in issue is as to what conditions of service are applicable to them
after they exercised their option to abide by the Corporation regulations, and
thereafter both parties have raised pleadings and adduced evidence. Hence, we
cannot say that the Tribunal travelled beyond the scope of reference.
to the modification of the award as stated above, the award made by the
Tribunal is upheld as confirmed by the High Court. In the circumstances, the
appeals are, therefore, partly allowed. The parties are left to bear their
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL
APPEAL NO. 3748 OF 1999 M/s L & T Mc Neil Limited Appellant Versus
Government of Tamil Nadu Respondent WITH CIVIL APPEALS NOS. 3808/2000,
1043/2000, 3727/2000 AND 5307/2000 J U D G M E N T RAJENDRA BABU, J. :
Government of Tamil Nadu issued a notification under Section 10(1) of the
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 [hereinafter referred to
as the Act] prohibiting the employment of contract labour in the process of
sweeping and scavenging in the establishments/factories which are employing 50
or more workmen.
prohibition is without reference to class of establishment which is involved or
the conditions of work in a particular establishment. Under Section 10 of the
Act the Government is obliged to consult the Tamil Nadu State Contract Labour
Advisory Board [for short the Board] before issuing a notification in question.
The appellants contended that there has been no effective consultation with the
Board inasmuch as the only occasion when this aspect was considered was in the
Sub-Committee meeting of the Board. The Minutes of the meeting made available
to the Court disclosed that it recorded the views of the All India
Manufacturers Organisation to the effect that the sweepers and scavengers work
not for more than 2 to 3 hours daily and the view of the employees
representatives was that sweepers and scavengers are working for more than 120
days in a year. No decision as such was made but it was noted that the
Government should take a decision in the matter. The said notification was
challenged before the High Court in a writ petition. The High Court, following
its earlier decision in Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited v. Government of Tamil
Nadu and Ors., 1997 (3) LLN 495, dismissed the writ petition holding that the
notification had been issued after fully complying with the prescribed
procedure under Section 10 of the Act to prohibit employment of contract labour
after proper consultation with all relevant parties and evaluation of all
relevant factors and materials by the State Government. Following this
aforesaid decision, the writ petition filed by the petitioner also stood
dismissed. Hence these appeals.
Division Bench of the High Court in the course of its order noticed that apart
from Sub-Committee report, to which reference has been made, the Minutes of the
17th Meeting of the Board also disclosed that the Board had elaborately
considered the matter with reference to the question of issuing a draft
notification abolishing contract labour system in sweeping and scavenging among
other nature of work and though it appeared that a further consideration by the
Government was suggested during the course of deliberations, the Board did not
appear to have thought any need for further consideration. On that basis the
Division Bench took the view that since the matter had been left for
consideration of the Government by the Board with its report and Government had
also considered the need and necessity in the light of the requirements of the
law as enumerated under Section 10(2) of the Act to issue the notification in
question, there is no justification to interfere with the notification in
question. Whereas at the time when the learned single Judge considered the
matter the report of the Sub- Committee was not available at all.
us in these appeals against the order of the High Court what is principally
contended is that
is no effective consultation with the Board by the Government before issuing
the notification in question, and
Government did not have any relevant material otherwise and, therefore, in the
absence of relevant material the Government could not have issued any
notification and thus calls for interference at our hands.
does not mean concurrence and the views of the Board are ascertained for the
purpose of assisting the Government in reaching its conclusion on the matter
one way or the other. The Government reached the conclusion on the basis of notings
made on various aspects and the aspects taken note of by the Government are as
Whether the process, operation or other work is incidental to, or necessary for
the industry trade, business manufacture or occupation that is carried on in
the establishment. Yes
Whether it is of perennial nature, that is to say, it is of sufficient duration
having regard to the nature of industry, trade business manufacture or
occupation carried on in that establishment. Yes
Whether it is done ordinarily through Can be done regular workman in that
through establishment or an establishment regular similar thereon. Workmen
Whether it is sufficient to employ considerable number of whole time workmen.
Yes What is set out in this format is what is contained in Section 10 of the
Act and is a mere repetition of the expression used therein.
questions posed indicate the provisions contained in the Section, while answers
given thereto are by monosyllables and it is not clear from the record
available as to whether the same were based on any material. In the 16th
Meeting of the Board, it is noted that the members were also informed that as
far as sweepers and scavengers were concerned the matter would be examined and
necessary proposals sent to Government. In the 17th Meeting of the Board, it
was noted that various Sub-Committees have been formed in different industries
Electricity Board and thereafter the draft notification abolishing contract labour
system in sweeping and scavenging was taken up for consideration.
the view expressed on behalf of the Management is that the sweepers and
scavengers are not having 8 hours of work but they work not more than 2 or 3
hours a day and since employing permanent workmen is not economically viable,
they are employing contract labour in this type of work and, therefore, the
Government needed to examine whether the requirements of Section 10(2)(a) to
(d) of the Act have been fulfilled before finalising the notification. While
the representatives of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) took the
stand that if the work is done for more than 120 days it has to be considered
as being of intermittent nature and also stated that because of the contractual
nature of the work they cannot fully get benefits of employment. The Chief
Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board pointed out that regular workmen
are not willing to do this type of work and requested the Government not to
proceed with the notification. The representative of AITUC stated that no
further examination is necessary by the Board and notification could be issued.
view was supported by another member representing Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS).
Chairman stated that the Government should take a decision in the matter.
it is clear that no definite view was expressed by the Board in this regard.
fact that the Board had been consulted in the matter is indisputable. So also
the fact that no decision was taken by it. Therefore, we asked the learned
counsel for the State of Tamil
Nadu to make
available the necessary files leading to the draft notification and final
notification and other materials that were relied upon in issuing the
notification in question. Even after careful perusal of these files, we found
that there is no further or fresh material available in these files. In the
circumstances, it is not very clear as to how the Government could have reached
the conclusion one way or the other in the absence of any advice by the Board
and in the absence of any other material. The decision of the Government in
issuing the notification under Section 10(1) of the Act is thus vitiated
because of non-consideration of relevant materials. The mere fact that several
notifications have been issued in relation to contract labour or that system in
sweeping and scavenging has been abolished in some other industries may not, by
itself, be sufficient to hold that a common notification applicable to all
industries and establishments abolishing contract labour in sweeping and
scavenging could have been issued by the Government without necessary material.
The Government ought to take into consideration the relevant factors contained
in Section 10(2)(a) to (d) of the Act and thereafter decide the matter. These
aspects were, however, lost sight of by the High Court in the decisions
rendered by it earlier.
circumstances, we have no hesitation in quashing the notification issued by the
Government of Tamil Nadu. However, it is made clear that it is open to the
Government to issue a fresh notification after due consideration of the matter
in accordance with law.
appeals stand allowed accordingly.
RAJENDRA BABU ] ..J.
VARIAVA ] NEW DELHI JANUARY 30, 2001.