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Report No. 225

II. Sections 7, 7A and 7B of The Industrial Disputesact 1947

2.1 The Industrial Disputes Act 1947 was enacted by Parliament, as its preamble and the long title show, to provide machinery and forum for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. V. R. Krishna Iyer, J. in Life Insurance Corporation of India v. D. J. Bahadur, AIR 1980 SC 2181 observed:

"The ID Act is a benign measure which seeks to pre-empt industrial tensions, provide the mechanics of dispute resolutions and set up the necessary infrastructure so that the energies of partners in production may not be dissipated in counter-productive battles and assurance of industrial justice may create a climate of goodwill. Industrial peace is a national need and, absent law, order in any field will be absent. Chaos is the enemy of creativity sans which production will suffer. Thus, the great goal to which the ID Act is geared is legal mechanism for canalising conflicts along conciliatory or adjudicatory processes".

2.2 The Industrial Disputes Act 1947 is intended to be selfcontained one and enables the State to compel the parties to resort to dispute resolution mechanisms provided therein, namely, collective bargaining, conciliation, arbitration and failing that, compulsory adjudication.

2.3 Present Sections 7, 7A, 7B and 7C were substituted for the former Section 7 by the Industrial Disputes (Amendment and Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1956 with effect from 10.03.1957.

2.4 Industrial Tribunals were created for the first time by Section 7 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 for the purpose of adjudicating upon industrial disputes referred to them by the appropriate Government, thus introducing compulsory adjudication where voluntary negotiations or mediation through the machinery of conciliation authorities fail. The Industrial Disputes Act 1947, as originally enacted, did not contain provisions regarding creation of Labour Courts.

2.5 The Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act 1950 was enacted as there had been felt a need for a Central Appellate Authority which, by its decisions, would coordinate the activities of the large number of Industrial Tribunals set up by the Central and Provincial Governments. Some Tribunals had been known to take divergent views on important issues. Thus was created a Labour Appellate Tribunal for hearing appeals from the awards or decisions of Industrial Tribunals.

2.6 There was then a large volume of criticism that appeals filed before the Appellate Tribunal took a long time for disposal and involved a great deal of expenditure which the workers could not afford. It was proposed to repeal the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950, and at the same time, to substitute the then system of tribunals by a three-tier system of original tribunals, manned by personnel of appropriate qualifications. Thus came into being the present Sections 7, 7A, 7B and 7C, as pointed out in paragraph 2.3 (supra). The Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act 1950 was also repealed by the Industrial Disputes (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1956.

2.7 Section 7 provides for constitution of Labour Courts by the appropriate Government and reference for adjudication of certain specified industrial disputes. Section 7A provides for constitution of Industrial Tribunals by the appropriate Government for adjudication of wider category of industrial disputes. Section 7B enables the Central Government to constitute National Industrial Tribunals.

References to National Industrial Tribunals are be made by the Central Government and they are to cover disputes which involve questions of national importance or which are of such a nature that industrial establishments situated in more than one State are likely to be interested in, or affected by, the disputes. Section 7C provides for disqualifications for the presiding officers of Labour Courts, Industrial Tribunals and National Industrial Tribunals.

2.8 It would not be inapposite to state here itself that one of the reasons for the huge backlog of cases is that the references are not being decided for long periods as the posts of presiding officers remain vacant too often.

2.9 We may now reproduce the relevant provisions:

Section 7 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, as it was originally enacted -

Amendment of Sections 7, 7a and 7b of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 making advocates eligible to man Labour Court and Industrial Tribunal Back

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