Report No. 122
5.11. Industrial Relations Commission herein envisaged can also come under the generic term 'Tribunal for Adjudication of Industrial Disputes' and these recommendations can be effectively implemented by law passed for this purpose in exercise of power conferred by Article 323B of the Constitution.
5.12. It needs to be re-emphasised, that the Industrial Relations Commission, both at the Central and State level, would be providing a model of participatory justice.
5.13. The additional advantage would be the consequent reduction in the workload in the High Court and the Supreme Court because the jurisdiction of the High Court to deal with matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission should be excluded.
5.14. The Industrial Relations Commission at the Central and State level would be composed of a President drawn from the rank of a retired Judge of the Supreme Court for the Central Commission and a retired Judge of the High Court for the State Commission. There will be an equal number of members drawn from the rank of union leaders and employees organisation constituting the Commission.
It must be made specifically clear that these members need not have a degree in law or a background of legal training as essential qualifications. They must, however, have adequate knowledge in the field of industrial relations, management of industries, economic planning and industrial, fiscal and monetary policies of the Government of India.
5.15. The Industrial Relations Commission at the State and at the Centre will have both original and appellate jurisdiction. Appeal against the decision of the Labour Court purely on an important question of law will lie to the State Industrial Relations Commission. The appeal shall be heard by a Bench of three Judges; one of them must be a judicial member, the other two non-judicial members.
All industrial disputes at present falling within the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunals shall fall within the jurisdiction of State Industrial Relations Commission and the reference should be made to it by the State Government as appropriate Government under section 10 of the I.D. Act. All matters which could have been referred to the National Industrial Tribunal shall fall within the jurisdiction of I.R.C. at Centre. It shall be heard by such number of persons as may be decided by the President of the Commission.
The I.R.C. at the Centre will also have appellate jurisdiction over the awards and decisions of the I.R.C. at the State level but the appeal will be limited purely to the important questions of law to be stated specifically at the time of admission of the appeal.
5.16. The members of the I.R.C., both at the Central and State level, will be appointed by the Central and State Governments respectively in consultation with National Judicial Service Commission to be set up as recommended by the Law Coinmission in its 121st Report. The Act setting up such Commission may as well consider conferring power of conciliation on I.R.C.
5.17. The terms and conditions of service of the President and numbers of I.R.C. at Central and State level shall be determined by the Central Government in consultation with the National Judicial Service Commission.
5.18. Arrangement for effective training of the members to be appointed to the Commission shall be made by the Government, in tune with the scheme of training recommended by the Law Commission in its 117th report.
5.19. The law setting up I.R.C. shall provide, amongst others, for exclusion of the jurisdiction of the High Court in each State from dealing with matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the I.R.C. at the State and Central Level. The Labour Court shall be outside the superintendence of the High Court and shall be brought within the Superintendence of the State I.R.C.
5.20. In the event of a dispute amongst the members constituting the Commission dealing with a particular matter, the decision of the majority will prevail. In the event of conflict between decisions of State level Commissions, the matter can be withdrawn by the I.R.C. at the Centre to be decided by it. The decision of the I.R.C. at the Centre will be binding on all State I.R.Cs. and Labour Courts.
5.21. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 136 over decisions of the I.R.C. at the Centre will remain intact.
5.22. Today there are roughly around 51 statutes passed by Parliament dealing with industrial labour (Appendix II). Some statutes have provided for setting up its own machinery, original and appellate, for resolution of disputes arising under the statutes. An attempt is made to tabulate various authorities functioning under these statutes. The Table at Appendix VI also shows the appellate body to which an appeal can be preferred against the decision of authority having original jurisdiction.
To illustrate, under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, the dispute can originally be brought before the controlling authority and the appeal would lie to the appropriate Government. This is a quasi-judicial adjudication. To avoid the charge of bias and administration taking over quasi-judicial function, the appellate jurisdiction under each statute must be conferred on I.R.C. at State level.
The Table at Appendix VI also sets out the authorities competent to take cognizance of offences under these statutes. In order to simplify and specialise, it is necessary to confer jurisdiction to try offences under these statutes on the Labour Courts. Similarly, the appellate authority must be the State I.R.C. That would provide for all labour laws being dealt with by specialist jurisdiction courts.
It would be a step for rationalising the laws, the procedure and the forum. When it is recommended that a law will have to be enacted to set up I.R.C. at the State and Central level, that very opportunity should be seized to provide for what is herein indicated about the forum for taking cognizance of offences under the labour laws as well as one State appellate forum under all those laws.
We recommend accordingly,
V.S. Rama Devi,
Dated: 9th December, 1987.