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Report No. 225

Section 7B - National Tribunals.

"(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more National Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involve questions of national importance or are of such a nature that industrial establishments situated in more than one State are likely to be interested in, or affected by, such disputes.

(2) A National Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the Central Government.

(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the presiding officer of a National Tribunal, unless he is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court.

(4) The Central Government may, if it so thinks fit, appoint two persons as assessors to advise the National Tribunal in the proceeding before it."

2.10 It may be seen that original Section 7 of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 as well as Section 5 of the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act 1950, while laying down qualifications for appointment as a member of the Industrial Tribunal and as a member of the Labour Appellate Tribunal, respectively, included, inter alia, persons "qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court".

According to article 217 of the Constitution, a person who has for at least ten years been an advocate of a High Court is eligible for appointment as a Judge of a High Court, amongst others. Thus, advocates with 10 years' practice at the Bar were eligible for appointment as a member of the Industrial Tribunal or the Labour Appellate Tribunal under the then provisions.

2.11 It is not discernible as to why the present provisions of Sections 7, 7A and 7B of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 omitted the above category of persons from the qualifications for appointment of presiding officers of Labour Courts, Industrial Tribunals and National Industrial Tribunals.

2.12 "Industrial and labour disputes" is a subject covered under the Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution (vide Entry 22). Some State Legislatures have amended the provisions of Sections 7 and 7A of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 in their application to the respective States Concerned.

For example, the States of Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra have amended Section 7 expressly making advocates with 7 years' practice at the Bar eligible for appointment as a presiding officer of a Labour Court, amongst others; the State of Haryana has amended Section 7 stating that a person qualified for appointment as a District Judge will be eligible, which read with article 233 of the Constitution also means that an advocate with 7 years' practice at the Bar will be eligible for appointment as a presiding officer of a Labour Court.

The States of Assam, Goa, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have amended Section 7A stating that a person qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court will be eligible for appointment as a presiding officer of an Industrial Tribunal, which read with article 217 of the Constitution means that an advocate with 10 years' practice at the Bar will be eligible for the said appointment, amongst others, while the State of Haryana has amended Section 7A making a person qualified for appointment as a District Judge eligible, that is, an advocate with only 7 years' practice at the Bar.



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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