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Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bombay vs Indian Hume Pipe Co. Ltd. And Anr on 12 February, 1993

Supreme Court of India
Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bombay vs Indian Hume Pipe Co. Ltd. And Anr on 12 February, 1993
Equivalent citations: 1993 SCR (1)1050, 1993 SCC (2) 386
Author: B Jeevan Reddy
Bench: Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J)
           PETITIONER:
SARVA SHRAMIK SANGH, BOMBAY

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
INDIAN HUME PIPE CO.  LTD.  AND ANR.

DATE OF JUDGMENT12/02/1993

BENCH:
JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J)
BENCH:
JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J)
KULDIP SINGH (J)

CITATION:
 1993 SCR  (1)1050	  1993 SCC  (2) 386
 JT 1993 (4)	40	  1993 SCALE  (1)596


ACT:
Labour Law.
Industrial  Disputes  Act, 1947 : Sections 11  and  17-A(4)-
Industrial Courts/Tribunals-Not bound by technical rules  of
procedure-Award granting relief from a date anterior to date
of   raising  dispute-Power  of-Exercise  of   such   power-
correctness of-To be decided in the facts and  circumstances
of each case.



HEADNOTE:
The  appellant Union demanded payment of dearness  allowance
to  the daily-rated workmen employed in the factory  of	 the
respondent  at	the  same  rate as was	being  paid  to	 the
monthly-rated  employees  with	effect	from  1.1.1964.	 Ile
matter	was  placed  before  the  Conciliation	Officer	  on
15.11.1965 and thereafter before the Conciliation Board.  On
15.3.1967  the	Conciliation  Board  submitted	its  failure
report	 On  26.4.1968	the  appellant-Union   submitted   a
Memorandum to the Government reiterating the said demand and
claiming   the	benefit	 from  15.11.1965.  The	  Government
referred the dispute to the Industrial Tribunal.
The  Respondent-employer filed a Writ  Petition	 challenging
the  validity of the order of reference and the	 High  Court
set  aside  the	 order	of  reference  by  consent   without
prejudice to the rights of the Government for making a fresh
reference.
On  March  19,1973 the appellant-Union	submitted  a  demand
claiming  the same relief with effect from  15.11.1965.	 The
Government  made a reference accordingly to  the  Industrial
Tribunal  on  26.3.1973.  By its Award	dated  3.1.1977	 the
Tribunal directed the Respondent-employer to make payment of
D.A.  at  the rate of 15% of the revised textile  rate	with
effect from 1.1.1968.
The  Respondent filed a Writ Petition before the High  Court
challenging the Tribunal's Award.  Unable to succeed  before
a Single Judge,
1051
Respondent-preferred  an appeal and the Division Bench	held
that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award relief to the
workmen	 with effect from a date prior to the date on  which
the  dispute  was  raised.   Being  aggrieved  by  the	said
judgment, the appellant-union preferred the present appeal.
On behalf of the appellant-Union it was contended that since
it  has	 been  agitating for grant of  D.A.  of	 daily-rated
workmen right from Nov. 1965, the Tribunal was justified  in
awarding the same with effect from 1.4.1968.
The Respondent contended that the demand dated 26.4 1968 was
never  submitted to the Management, but was made  direct  to
the  Government which made a reference and the same was	 set
aside by the High Court; and that a fresh dispute was raised
on  193.73 and so the relief was rightly restricted  by	 the
High Court to be effective only from that date viz. 193.73.
Allowing the appeal, this Court,
HELD  : 1. The Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court is  supposed
to  be	a  substitute forum to	the  Civil  Court.   Broadly
speaking, the relief which the Civil Court could grant in an
industrial   dispute  can  be  granted	by  the	  Industrial
Tribunal/Labour	    Court.     Indeed	  the	  Industrial
Tribunal/Labour Court is not bound by the Technical rules of
procedure  which bind the Civil Court.	Therefore it  cannot
be  said that the Industrial Tribunal  or for that matter  a
Labour	Court	has no jurisdiction to grant relief  from  a
date  anterior to the date on which the dispute	 is  raised.
It  is	one thing to say that the Tribunal has no  power  to
grant such relief and it is an altogether different thing to
say that in a given case it ought not to grant such  relief.
Whether in a given case relief should be granted with effect
from a date anterior to the date of raising the dispute is a
matter	for  the  Tribunal  to	decide	in  the	 facts	 and
circumstances of that case.
[1055H; 1056A-D] G
JK.   Cotton  Spining and Weaving Mills	 v.  L.A.  Tribunal,
(1963) 2 L.L.J. 436  AIR 1964 SC 737, relied on.
2.   The demand raised on 193.73 was not a fresh demand.  It
was  reiteration  of  the  demand raised  its  far  back  as
November 1965.	It is lot
1052
suggested  that the demand raised in November 1965  was	 not
raised	before,	 or  submitted	to  the	 Management.	Even
otherwise, the demand raised on 193.73	-  assuming that  it
was a fresh demand  was for extending the said benefit with
effect from an anterior date namely, 15.11.1965. It was	 the
said demand    which  was referred by the Government to	 the
Tribunal.   There  is no reason why the Tribunal  could	 not
have  awarded relief from the date earlier than 1973  if  it
found that such a demand was justified and warranted in	 the
facts  of  that	 case.	Actually the  Tribunal	granted	 the
benefit ,Kith effect from 1.1.1968 only and not with  effect
from 15.11.1965 as demanded by the workmen. [1059H; 1060A-C]
Jhagrakhand Collieries (Private) Ltd. and another v. Central
Government Industrial Tribunal, Dhanbad and others, 1960 (2)
Labour Law Journal 71; Workmen New Egerton Woollen Mills  v.
New  Egerton Woollen Mills and others, 1969 (2) LIJ 782	 and
Workmen	 of  National Tobacco Co, of India Ltd.	 v.  Messers
National Tobacco Co. of India Ltd. (Civil Appeal) No. 852 of
1966 disposed of on 18.10.1968 by S.C., distinguished.
3.   The  High	Court's	 order	setting	 aside	the  earlier
reference  does not say that the fresh dispute that  may  be
raised	should	claim  the benefit only	 from  the  date  of
raising, the fresh dispute.  The order indeed says that	 the
fresh dispute to be raised was to be "in respect of the same
demand-"  Now  the words "same demands" mean the  very	same
being  raised  by the workmen from  November  1965  onwards.
Tile said order of the High Court cannot be read as imposing
or  implying any restriction upon the workmen to  limit	 the
benefit claimed by them only from the date of raising of the
fresh  demand.	 It was perfectly open to them	to  raise  a
demand,	 subsequent to the said order, claiming the  benefit
with effect from a date anterior to the date of raising	 the
demand. [1060F-G]
The  Sindhu Resettlement Corporation Ltd. v. The  Industrial
Tribunal of Gujarat & Ors., [1968] 1 SCR 515, distinguished.



JUDGMENT:

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 3715 (NL) of
1-984.

From the judgment and Order dated 1.9.1982 of the Bombay
High Court in Appeal No. 247 of 1977 in Misc. Petition No.
627 of 1977.

V.J. Francis, V. Subramanian and P. Padma Kumar for the
Appel-

1053

lant.

G.B. Pai, P. Ramaswami and H.S. Parihar for the Respondents.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
B.P. JEEVAN REDDY, J. This appeal is preferred by the Labour
Union, Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bombay against the judgment of
the Division Bench of Bombay High Court allowing Writ Appeal
No. 247 of 1977. The appeal was preferred by the
respondent-employer. The Indian Hume Pipe Company Limited,
against the Judgment of a learned Single Judge dismissing
the Writ Petition preferred by it (Management) against the
Award of the Industrial Tribunal, Bombay. The main question
arising for decision in this appeal pertains to the power of
the Industrial Tribunal to award relief with effect from a
date anterior to the date of raising the dispute by the
Labour Union.

On 2.11.65 the appellant-Union submitted a demand for
payment of dearness allowance to the daily-rated workmen
employed at the respondents Wadala Factory at the same rate
as is paid to the monthly-rated employees, with effect from
1.1.1964. On 15.11.1965 these demands were placed before the
Conciliation Officer and thereafter before the Conciliation
Board. On 15.3.1967 the Conciliation Board submitted its
failure report. It appears that the recommendations of the
Central Wage Board were awaited at that time and the company
agreed to implement the final recommendations of the said
Board as accepted by the Central Government. On 26.4.1968
the appellant-Union submitted a memorandum before the
Government reiterating the said demand. They claimed the
said benefit with effect from 15.11.1965. On 5.7.1968 the
Government referred the said dispute to the Industrial
Tribunal. In November, 1968 the respondent-company filed a
Writ Petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the
validity of the order of reference. On 27.2.1973 the High
Court disposed of the Writ Petition in the following terms:
“By consent the order Exhibit-C dated 5.7.1968 is set aside
without prejudice to the rights of the respondents to refer
fresh dispute in respect of the same demands according to
law.”

On 19.3.1973 the appellant submitted a demand to the
management claiming the very same relief with effect from
15.11.1965. On the basis of the said demand, the Government
made a reference to the Industrial
1054
Tribunal, Bombay, on 26.3.1973. The dispute referred reads
as follows:

“All the daily rated workman from Wadala factory of the
company should be paid dearness allowance at the same scale
that is given to monthly rated staff of the factory with
retrospective effect from 15th November 1965 i.e. at the
rate given below.

Slab Salary    D.A. index 311		Variation for
	       to 320			 10 points
Up to Rs. 100  65% of basic salary or
	  revised textile scalefor--	     5%
	  all days of month whi-
	  chever is higher.
Rs. 101 to 200	    30%			      2%
Rs. 201 to 300	    15%			      1%
Rs. 310 and above   10%			      1%"

On 3.1.1977 the Tribunal made its award. It directed that
“all the daily-rated workmen from Wadala Factory of the
Company should be paid dearness allowance at the rate of 15%
of the revised textile rate with effect from 1st January,
1968. The Company is further directed to pay all the
arrears to these workmen within two months from the date of
the publication of the award. Award accordingly. No order
as to costs.”

The Management questioned the validity of the said award by
way of a writ petition in the Bombay High Court
(Miscellaneous Petition No. 627 of 1977). On 15.6.1977 a
learned Single Judge dismissed the Writ Petition holding
that the error if any, in the award of the Tribunal is not
an error of jurisdiction calling for interference under
Article 226 of the Constitution. The respondent company
preferred an appeal which was disposed of by the Division
Beneh under its Judgment and Order dated 1.9.1992, impugned
herein. The Division Bench affirmed the award except with
respect to the date from which the relief was granted by the
Tribunal. The Division Bench was of the opinion that the
Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award relief to the workmen
with effect from a date prior to the date on which the
dispute was raised. Inasmuch as the dispute which was
referred by the Government to the Industrial Tribunal and
which resulted in the award in question was raised on
19.3.1973, the Division Bench held that the relief can be
granted only from 19.3.73 but not from an anterior
1055
date. The Division Bench was of the opinion that this
restriction on the power of the Industrial Tribunal flows
from the decisions of this Court, to which we shall refer
presently. The correctness of the said view is questioned
in this appeal.

Mr. V.J. Francis, the learned counsel for the appellant-
Union submitted that inasmuch as the appellant-Union had
been agitating for grant of D.A. to the daily-rated workmen
at Wadala Factory at the same rate at which it is paid to
monthly-rated workmen, right from November, 1965, the
Tribunal was justified in awarding the relief from 1.4.1968.
The restriction perceived by the Division Bench is neither
sanctioned by law nor does it flow from the decisions
referred to by the Division Bench. On the other hand, Shri
G.B.Pai, the learned counsel for the respondent-company sup-
ported the reasoning and conclusion of the Division Bench.
Learned counsel submitted that an industrial dispute arises
only when the workmen raise a particular dispute before the
Management. No Industrial dispute can be said to arise when
a dispute is raised by workmen not before the Management but
before the. Government. The learned counsel contended on
the above basis that the so-called dispute which was
referred by the Government on the earlier occasion (on
15.7.1968) was not an industrial dispute, inasmuch as the
basis of the said reference, namely the demand of workmen
dated 26.4.1968, was never submitted before the Management,
it was submitted directly to the Government and Government
alone. The said reference was, therefore, questioned by the
Management in the Bombay High Court and it was agreed by
both the parties before the High Court that the order of
reference be set aside and the Union be left free to raise a
fresh dispute. Accordingly the Union raised a fresh dispute
on 19.3.1973. No doubt this demand was for payment of the
said D.A. with effect from 15.11.1965, even so the
Tribunal’s power is limited to grant of relief only from the
date of raising of industrial dispute. The learned counsel
submitted that more than one decision of this Court has
affirmed the said view.

We find it difficult to agree with Shri Pai. In principle
we find no basis for the said contention. The Industrial
Disputes Act does not provide for any such limitation. The
definition of the expression “industrial dispute” in Clause
(K) of Section-2 of the Act does not contain any such
limitation. We are unable to see on what basis can such
restriction be inferred or implied. It must be remembered
that the Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court
1056
is supposed to be a substitute forum to the Civil Court.
Broadly speaking, the relief which the Civil Court could
grant in an industrial dispute can be granted by the
Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court. Indeed the Industrial
Tribunal/Labour Court is not bound by technical rules of
procedure which bind the Civil Court. (See J.K Cotton
Spinning and Weaving Mills v. L.A. Tribunal, 1963 (2) L.L.J.
436/444 AIR 1964 SC 737) In such circumstances we see no
justification for holding that the Industrial Tribunal or
for that matter a Labour Court has no jurisdiction to grant
relief from a date anterior to the date on which the dispute
is raised. Take a case where the Labour Union raises a
dispute on a particular date but says that the said relief
should be granted from an anterior date. We see no reason
why the Industrial Tribunal should be held to have no power
to grant relief with effect from such anterior date if it is
found to be warranted by the facts and circumstances of the
case. Here it is necessary to emphasize the distinction
between the existence of power and its exercise. It is one
thing to say that the Tribunal has no power to grant such
relief and it is an altogether different thing to say that
in a given case it ought not to grant such relief. We are
only emphasizing the aspect of power. Whether in a given
case relief should be granted with effect from a date
anterior to the date of raising the dispute is a matter for
the Tribunal to decide in the facts and circumstances of
that case.

Now let us examine whether any decision of this Court
supports Mr. Pai’s contention. The first decision relied
upon by him is in Jhagrakhand Collieries (Private) Ltd. and
another v. Central Government Industrial Tribunal. Dhanbad
and others, 1960 (2) Labour Law Journal 71. The
observations relied upon are at page 77 of the Report which
read thus:

“Besides, the Appellate Tribunal has failed to
consider the fact that the present demand was
made for the first time in September 1952.
The industrial tribunal had considered this
question and had definitely found that
notwithstanding the suggestion by the
respondents to the contrary there was no
reliable evidence to show that this demand
had-been specifically and clearly made prior
to 27 September 1952. Now, if the respondents
did not make a specific claim until September
1952 it would not be fair or just to allow
them the benefit of the present increase
directed by the award even prior to the date
of the demand.”

1057

We do not think that the above observations can be read as
imposing a limitation, of the nature contended for Mr. Pai,
upon the power of the tribunal. All that is said by this
Court in the said case is that inasmuch as the demand itself
was raised in September 1952 and no such demand was ever
made prior to September 1952, it was not “fair or just” to
grant relief with effect from a date anterior to September
1952.

The next decision relied upon is in Workmen of New Eqerton
Woollen Mills v. New Eqerton Woollen Mills and others
, 1969
2 LLJ 782. The passage relied upon from this decision is at
page 791. It reads:

“As regards the date on which the award should
come into force, industrial tribunals have
treated the date of demand and the date of the
award as two extreme points. The tribunals,
however, have discretion to fix any
intermediate date depending upon the
circumstances of each case. As has been said
more than once, this Court would be reluctant
to interfere with the date fixed by the
tribunal if it has been done in the proper
exercise of its discretion. In the present
case the tribunal felt that in fairness to
both the parties the intermediate date, namely
1 November 1963, When it passed its interim
award was the proper date from which the award
should come into operation. The ground for
selecting this date was that according to the
tribunal the prices of commodities began to
rise steeply in this region from that date.
That ground has not been controverted by any
material to the contrary. There can, there-
fore, barely be any ground for our
interference.”

The said passage can not be understood as imposing a
limitation upon the power and jurisdiction of the Tribunal
nor can it be understood as holding that the Tribunal has no
power to grant relief with effect from the date earlier than
the date of demand. The observations aforesaid must be
understood in the facts and circumstances of that case. The
question raised now was not raised or considered by this
Court in the said decision. It does not appear that the
workmen had claimed a particular benefit with effect from a
date earlier to the date of raising the dispute nor does it
appear that the Government had referred any such claim for
adjudication by the Tribunal. In this case, it may be
remembered, not only the demand
1058
raised on 19.3.73 was for extending the said benefit with
effect from 15.11.1965, the reference by government was also
in the same terms. In the circumstances, the reference to
the practice of Industrial Tribunals can not be understood
as a legal proposition that the Tribunal has no power or
jurisdiction to grant relief with effect from a date earlier
to the date of demand even where such demand is raised and
referred to it by government. It needs no emphasis that a
Judgment should be understood in the light of the facts of
that case and no more should be read into it than what it
actually says.

The third decision relied upon is an unreported decision of
this Court in Workmen of National Tobacco Co. of India Ltd.
v. Messrs National Tobacco Co. of India Ltd. (Civil Appeal
No. 852 of 1966 disposed of on 18.10.1968). The Judgment was
delivered by Bhargava, J. on behalf of J.M. Shelat, J.
himself and C.A. Vaidialingam. J. The observations relied
upon occur towards the end of the judgment and read thus:

“Apart from these points forming the subject-
matter of various issues, a general point
argued on behalf of the Union was that the
Tribunal should have made the award
enforceable retrospectively at least with
effect from the date of the reference of the
dispute by the Government to the Tribunal.
This Court has, in a number of cases, consis-
tently held that the question of making an
award retrospective is in the discretion of a
Tribunal, with the limitation that a Tribunal
will be committing an error if it makes the
award effective from a date earlier than the
date of demand on the basis of which the
industrial dispute is referred to the
Tribunal. This Court does not interfere with
the discretion exercised unreasonably or
arbitrarily. In the present case, considering
the circumstance that there will be a
considerable increase in the burden of
expenditure on the Company as a result of the
revision of wage scales and the rates of
dearness allowance, the Tribunal has decided
that the award should be effective with effect
from the usual date when it comes into force,
i.e., one month after the date of its
publication by the Government. As we have
just indicated, the Tribunal gave this
direction because of the increased burden on
the Company which would become
1059
unbearably heavy if the Company is directed to
make payments for a number of past years for
which accounts have already been closed by
making the award retrospective from the date
of reference. The discretion exercised by the
Tribunal cannot be said to be arbitrary or un-
reasonable, so that we find no ground for
interfering with the award on this point.”

The learned judge says in the first instance that “the
question of making an award retrospective is in the
discretion of the Tribunal” but then qualifies it by saying
that “the Tribunal will be committing an error if it makes
the award effective from a date earlier than the date of
demand on the basis of which the Industrial dispute is
referred to the Tribunal”. No provision of law or any
principle is cited in support of the said observation. Be
that as it may, it is significant to notice that the
question which arises in the case before us did not arise
consideration before the said Bench. The argument for the
Labour Union in that case was that “the Tribunal should have
made the award enforceable retrospectively at least with
effect from the date of the reference of the dispute by the
Government to the Tribunal”. No contention was urged that
the award should be made effective from a date anterior to
the date of raising the dispute nor does it appear that that
was a case where the demand raised by the workmen was for
extending the benefit with effect from an anterior date.
Therefore, there was no occasion for this Court to consider
the question now raised. When the issue relating to the
power of the Tribunal to grant a relief or benefit with
effect from a date anterior to the date of raising the
dispute was not at all raised or considered by the Court, it
would not be proper to read the said observations as
negativing the said contention. We are, therefore, of the
considered opinion that the observations aforesaid do not
support the contention urged by Shri Pai.

So far as the facts of the present case are concerned, it
must be remembered that the Labour Union had raised this
dispute with the Management as far back as 2.11.1965.
Conciliation was taken up by Conciliation Officer and the
Conciliation Board. The Board had reported failure as far
back as 15.3.1967. It is the said demand which was raised by
the Union in its Memorandum dated 26.4.1968 on the basis of
which a reference was made by the Government to the
Industrial Tribunal on 5.7.1968. Even when a fresh demand
was raised on 19.3.1973 the demand was that the daily-rated
workmen should be given the benefit claimed by
1060
them with effect from 15.11.1965. Thus the demand raised on
19.3.73 was not a fresh demand. It was reiteration of the
demand raised as far back as November 1965. It is not
suggested that the demand raised in November 1965 was not
raised before or submitted to the Management. Even other-
wise, the demand raised on 19.3.73 assuming that it was a
fresh demand was for extending the said benefit with effect
from an anterior date namely, 15.11.1965. It was the said
demand which was referred by the Government to the Tribunal.
We see no reason why the Tribunal could not have awarded
relief from the date earlier than 1973 if it found that such
a demand was justified and warranted in the facts of the
case Actually the Tribunal granted the benefit with effect
from 1.1.1968 only and not with effect from 15.11.1965 as
demanded by the Workmen.

Mr. Pai then contended that the order of reference to
Industrial Tribunal made on 5.7.1968 was questioned by the
Management by way of a Writ Petition in the Bombay High
Court and that the said Writ Petition was allowed under a
consent order, whereunder the workmen agreed to raise a
fresh dispute. He submits that a fresh dispute means a
dispute claiming benefit only from the date on which the
dispute is raised. We see no basis for such restricted
understanding. The order of the Court in Writ Petition 708
of 1968 reads as follows:

“Order dated 5.7.1968 is set aside without
prejudice to the rights of the respondents to
refer fresh dispute in respect of the same
demands according to Law.”

Firstly, it may be noticed that the order does not say that
the fresh dispute that may be raised should claim the
benefit only from the date of raising the fresh dispute.
Secondly, and more importantly, the order says that the
fresh dispute to be raised was to be “in respect of the same
demands”. Now the words “same demands” mean the very same
demand which was being raised by the workmen from November
1965 onwards. We are, therefore, unable to read the said
order of the High Court as imposing or implying any
restriction upon the workmen to limit the benefit claimed by
them only from the date of the raising of the fresh demand.
It was perfectly open to them to raise a demand, subsequent
to the said order, claiming the benefit with effect from a
date anterior to the date of raising the demand.
Mr. Pai then submitted that the demand raised by the workmen
on 26.4.1968 cannot be said to raise an industrial dispute
inasmuch as an in-

1061

dustrial dispute arises only when the demand is submitted to
the Management. A demand by workmen addressed to the
Government can never constitute, an industrial dispute, he
submits. He, therefore, says that the Tribunal had no
jurisdiction to award the benefit with effect from 1.4.1968.
Reliance is placed upon the decision of this Court in The
Sindhu Resettlement Corporation Lid v., The Industrial
Tribunal of Gujarat & Ors., [1968] 1 SCR 515. In that case
the contention urged by the Management was that inasmuch as
the workmen did not raise any dispute with respect to
reinstatement and because the dispute raised by them related
only to payment of retrenchment compensation, the Government
had no power or justification for making a reference
relating to reinstatement. It is in that connection that
the following observations, relied upon by Shri Pai, were
made.

“If no dispute at all was raised by the
respondents with the management, any request
sent by them to the Government would only be a
demand by them and not an industrial dispute
between them and their employer, Ai,
industrial dispute, as defined, must be a
dispute between employers and employers,
employers and workmen, and workmen and
workmen. A mere demand to a Government,
without a dispute being raised by the workmen
with their employer, cannot become an
industrial dispute. Consequently the material
before the Tribunal, clearly showed that no
such industrial dispute, as was purported to
be referred by the State Government to the
Tribunal, had ever existed between the
appellant Corpn. and the respondents and the
State Government in making a reference,
obviously committed an error in basing its
opinion on material which was not relevant to
the formation of opinion. The Government had
to come an opinion that an industrial dispute
did exist and that opinion could only be
formed on the basis that there was a dispute
between the appellant and the respondents
relating to reinstatement. Such material
could not possibly exist when, as early as
March and July, 1958, respondent No. 3 and
respondent No. 2 respectively had confined
their demands to the management to retrench-
ment compensation only and did not make any
demand for reinstatement, On these facts, it
is clear that the reference made by the
Government was not competent. The only
1062
reference that the Government could have made
had to be related to payment of retrenchment
compensation which was the only subject matter
of dispute between the appellant and the
respondents.”

It is evident from a reading of the above para that the only
dispute raised by the workmen before the Management related
to retrenchment compensation, which means that the
industrial dispute thus arising was confined only to the
payment of retrenchment compensation. The Workmen had never
demanded reinstatement before the Management. They,
however, made a demand for reinstatement in their
representation/demand made before the Government and the
Government referred the dispute relating to reinstatement to
the Tribunal. It is in the above circumstances that the
said observations were made. In this case, however, the
demand in question was raised by the workmen before the
Management as far back as November 1965. Conciliation was
attempted but failed. It is then that the workmen submitted
a demand before the Government and the Government made a
reference on 5.7.1968. That reference was no doubt set aside
by the High Court but we do not know the basis of the said
decision. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the
workmen were left free to raise a fresh dispute with
reference to the “same demands”, which they actually did on
19.3.1973. They expressly claimed the benefit
retrospectively from 15.11.1965. We are, therefore, unable
to see how the Observations in Sindhu help the Management in
this case.

For the above reasons, we are of the opinion that the
Division Bench was not right in holding that the Industrial
Tribunal had no power to grant the relief claimed by the
Workmen with effect from a date anterior to 19.3.1973 (the
date on which the fresh demand was raised) notwithstanding
the fact that the said demand specifically claimed the
benefit from an anterior date i.e. 15.11.1965, and. which
demand was referred to it by the Government.
For the above reasons, the appeal is allowed and the
Judgment and Order of the Division Bench of the Bombay High
Court in appeal No. 247 of 1977 dated 1.9.1992 is set aside.
The Writ Petition filed by the Management in the Bombay High
Court questioning the award dated 3.1..1977 is dismissed.
There shall be no orders as to costs.

G.N.

Appeal allowed.

1063

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