03 February 1955
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 2 of 1955






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/02/1955


CITATION:  1955 AIR  258            1955 SCR  (1)1241

ACT: Industrial  Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950  (XLVIII of  1950),  s.  22-Whether  Labour  Appellate  Tribunal  has Jurisdiction to impose conditions when granting  permission- Industrial  Disputes  Act,  1947 (XIV of 1947),  s.  33  and Industrial  Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act,  1950-S.  23- Jurisdiction  of authority not only to decide whether  there has  been  failure  to obtain permission but  also  to  give decision  on the merits of an industrial  dispute-Industrial Disputes  Act,  1947  (as  amended),  s.  33  and  s.  33-A- Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal) Act-Ss. 22 and  23- Meaning and scope of.

HEADNOTE: Held, (i) that the ordinary and primary jurisdiction of  the Labour  Appellate Tribunal constituted under the  Industrial Disputes  (Appellate Tribunal) Act, 1950 is appellate;  (ii) that  s. 22 of the Act confers on the appellate  tribunal  a special  jurisdiction  which is in the  nature  of  original jurisdiction; (iii) that s. 23 also vests in the tribunal an additional  jurisdiction  to decide the complaint as  if  it were  an  appeal  pending before it; and  (iv)  that  s.  23 confers on the 1242 workmen  an additional remedy which they did not have  under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The two now ss. 33 and 33-A inserted in the Industrial  Di-- putes  Act 1947 (XIV of 1947) by Act XLVIII of  1950  confer distinct  benefits on the workmen and give  some  additional jurisdiction and power to the authorities mentioned therein. Section  33-A enjoins the Tribunal to decide  the  complaint "as  if it were a dispute referred to or pending before  it" and  to submit its award to the appropriate  Government  and provides  that the provisions of the Act shall apply to  the award.   The provisions of these two new ss. 33 and 33-A  of the 1947 Act correspond to and are in pari materia with  the provisions of ss. 22 and 23 of the 1950 Act and are more  or less in similar terms. A  ban  has been put by s. 22 of 1950 Act and s. 33  of  the 1947  Act  upon the ordinary right, which the  employer  has under  the ordinary law governing a contract  of  employment



with a view to protect the workmen against victimisation  by the   employer   and  to  ensure  the   termination.of   the proceedings  in  connection with industrial  disputes  in  a peaceful atmosphere and the only thing that the authority is called  upon  to do is to grant or withhold  the  permission i.e.  to  lift or maintain the ban.  These sections  do  not confer  any power on the authorities to adjudicate upon  any other dispute. Under s. 22 of the Industrial Disputes (Appellate  Tribunal) Act, 1950 (XLVIII of 1950) the Labour Appellate Tribunal has no jurisdiction to impose conditions as a pre-requisite  for granting permission to the employer to retrench its workmen. Under s. 33-A of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 and s.  23 of  the  1950 Act the jurisdiction of the authority  is  not only to decide whether there has been a failure on the  part of  the employer to obtain the permission of  the  authority before  taking  action but also to give a  decision  on  the merits of an industrial dispute and grant appropriate relief which  when  published by the  appropriate  Government  will become enforceable under the respective Acts. Serampore  Belting Mazdoor Union v. Serampore  Belting  Co., Ltd.  ([1951]  1  Lab.  L.J. 341), Batuk K.  Vyas  v.  Surat Borough Municipality ([1952] 54 Bom.  L.R. 922), Raj  Narain v. Employer-s’ Association of Northern India ([1952] 1  Lab. L.J.  381),  The Queen v. County Council of West  Riding  of Yorkshire  ([1896] 1 Q.B. 386), Carlsbad Mineral Works  Co., Ltd.  v.  Their Workmen ([1953] 1 Lab.  L.J.  85),  Atherton West  & Co., Ltd. v. Suti Mill Mazdoor Union ([1953]  S.C.R. 780) and Bhattacharji v. Parry & Co., Ltd., Calcutta ([1954] 2 Lab.  L.J. 635), referred to.

JUDGMENT: CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals Nos. 2 and 4  of 1955. Appeal by Special Leave from the Order dated the 18th day of November 1954 of the Labour Appel-                             1243 late Tribunal of India, Bombay in Application (Misc.) Bombay No. 773 of 1954. H.   M.  Seervai, J. B. Dadachanji and Rajinder Narain,  for the  appellant in Civil Appeal No. 2 of 1955 and  respondent in Civil Appeal No. 4 of 1955. D.   H. Buch and I. N. Shroff, for the respondents in  Civil Appeal No. 2 of 1955 and appellants in Civil Appeal No. 4 of 1955. M.   C.  Setalvad, Attorney-General for India (G.  N.  Joshi and  P. C. Gokhale with him), for the Intervener  (Union  of India). 1955.   February 3. The Judgment of the Court was  delivered by DAS J.-This is an appeal by special leave from the order  of the Labour Appellate Tribunal, Bombay Bench, dated the  18th November  1954 which was made on an application made by  the appellant company on the 6th September 1954 under section 22 of  the Industrial Disputes (Appellate Tribunal)  Act,  1950 (Act XLVIII of 1950) which is hereinafter referred to as the 1950 Act. The  appellant company carries on business as assemblers  of motor  vehicles  from "completely knocked  down"  assemblies imported  into India.  There was some appeal pending  before the  Labour  Appellate  Tribunal  arising  out  of  disputes between  the  appellant  company and  its  workmen.   It  is alleged  that  the name of the appellant  company  had  been



removed by the Government of India from the list of approved manufacturers maintained by them and that, in the result, it had  been unable to secure further import licenses  for  the import  of  completely  knocked  down  assemblies  of  motor vehicles and that consequently on and from the 1st  November 1953 the company had to lay off a number of its workmen, for it had to operate the various departments of its factory  at greatly  reduced strength.  As the appellant company saw  no prospect  of  any  increase  in the  scope  of  its  present operation which would provide employment for the workmen who had been laid off, it had become necess- 1244 sary  to  retrench the workmen named in Annexure  A  to  the application.   As  those  workmen were  concerned  with  the appeal  pending  before the Labour  Appellate  Tribunal  the company  applied to the Appellate Tribunal under section  22 of the 1950 Act for permission to retrench them. The   respondents  through  their  Union,   the   Automobile Manufacturers’  Employees’  Association,  Bombay,  filed   a written  statement on the 1st November 1954  making  diverse allegations  against  the company and  contending  that  the company bad itself to blame for having brought about the lay off.  It was contended that there was no immediate cause for making  the application, that the company was  motivated  by ulterior motives to deprive the workmen of their dues  which even  according to the company would become due and  payable to the workmen on the expiry of the one year of the said lay off  period.  It was further alleged that in or about  April 1954  the company recalled some of the workmen out of  those who  had  been laid off since November  1953  violating  all principles on which a recall should have been made and  that by  such arbitrary and unscientific recall the  company  had imposed disproportionate work loads on the recalled workmen, thereby  altering  their  conditions  of  service  to  their prejudice.  The respondents maintained that the  application was  not  maintainable in law, was mala fide and  should  be dismissed.   In  the penultimate paragraph  of  the  written statement  it was submitted that in the event of the  Labour Appellate  Tribunal granting the permission in whole  or  in part such permission should be granted subject to the following conditions:- (1)  Payment of full wages with dearness allowance for the entire period of lay off; (2)  Payment  of  one month’s notice  pay  and  retrenchment compensation  at  the rate of one  month’s  wages  including dearness  allowance for every completed year of service  and part  thereof in addition to the gratuity as per the  scheme in force in the company; (3)  Alternatively  to  (2)  above and in  cage  the  Labour Appellate Tribunal took the view that the 1245 lay  off  was  governed by section 25-C  of  the  Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, payment of compensation at 50 per  cent. of their wages plus dearness allowance for the entire period of  lay  off  to the date of discharge in  addition  to  the notice pay and gratuity as claimed in (2) above; and (4)Payment of leave wages as per existing rules, taking  the entire period of lay off as service. A  number  of  documents  were  filed  in  support  of   the respective contentions. -The  Labour  Appellate Tribunal at the very outset  of  its judgment  under appeal states its finding on the  merits  of the action proposed to be taken by the company as follows:- "There  can be little doubt that the retrenchment  has  been occasioned   by  the  failure  of  the  concern  to   secure



sufficient work owing to absence of licenses from Government and, therefore, retrenchment must be regarded as  inevitable and  the  application before us bona  fide.   Permission  to retrench cannot be refused but for the reasons that we shall state hereafter we make that permission conditional upon the fulfilment of certain terms by the concern". The  company contended before the Labour Appellate  Tribunal that  its function, while dealing with an application  under section  22  of the 1950 Act, was only to give  or  withhold permission.   This contention was rejected by the  Appellate Tribunal with the following observation:- "That view is quite untenable as has been repeatedly held by this Tribunal.  We are the authority to whom an  application has to be made for permission to retrench, and when such  an application  is  made  we must  of  necessity  exercise  our judgment and discretion and satisfy ourselves that when  the company retrenches it does justice by its employees". The Labour Appellate Tribunal was clearly influenced by  the consideration  which,  stated  in  its  own  words,  was  as follows:- "We  do not think that we will be advancing the interest  of the employees or of the concern by refusing 1246 retrenchment  because  the case for  retrenchment  has  been established, and the sooner the workmen are allowed to leave and  find  for themselves other employment  the  better  for them.  But in order to assure ourselves that on retrenchment the  employees receive what in justice they should have,  we have decided to give permission to retrench subject to  cer- tain  conditions  which in our view are inherent  under  the Act.,  and which apart from the Act we consider to  be  just and equitable in the particular circumstances of this case". In  this  view of the matter the Labour  Appellate  Tribunal definitely   declined  "to  leave  over  the   question   of compensation  for  lay  off  as  a  legacy  of  the  present troubles;  the  employees to be retrenched  have  enough  to worry  them  without  having to make claims  and  have  them decided  after contest before a Tribunal".  In  the  result, the  Labour  Appellate Tribunal gave the  appellant  company permission to retrench "subject to the terms and  conditions of Act XLIII of 1953, provided that each workman is paid  at the rate of half basic wages and dearness allowance for  the whole  period  from the date of lay off up to  the  date  of retrenchment   (less  sums  already  received  as  lay   off compensation)".  Liberty was given to the company to set off the  lay off compensation protanto against the  retrenchment relief given by the Act. Aggrieved by this decision the appellant company applied for and obtained from this Court special leave to appeal against this   order.    The  respondents  subsequently   filed   an application  for  special  leave  to  appeal  against   this decision in so far as the Labour Appellate Tribunal had  not allowed their full claim as surmmarised above and in so  far as  the  names  of 17 persons had been  struck  off  on  the allegation of the company that they were not workmen.   This application  of the respondents was also acceded to and  the two  appeals have been heard together.  The Union  of  India asked  for  leave  to intervene as  important  questions  of construction  of the provisions of the  Industrial  Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as the 1947 Act) and  the 1950 Act were involved.  Such                             1247 leave was granted. and we have heard learned counsel for the Union of India along with learned counsel for the parties. The question as to the propriety of permitting the names  of



17  workmen  to be struck off from the application  has  not been  seriously pressed before us.  Only two questions  have been canvassed at some length before us, namely-.- (1)Whether under section 22 of the 1950 Act the Tribunal has jurisdiction   to  impose  conditions  when   granting   the permission asked for; and (2)Whether  the  conditions  imposed in  this  case  are  in conformity with law. It  is  plain, however, that in case the first  question  is answered in the negative, the second question will not  call for any decision on the present occasion.  In  order  to  correctly answer the questions  it  will  be necessary  to  bear in mind the general scheme  of  the  two Acts.   The purpose of the 1947 Act is, inter alia, to  make provision for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.  In order to achieve this avowed object  different authorities  have  been constituted under  this  Act.   Thus section  3 provides for the constitution of Works  Committee whose   duty  is  to  promote  measures  for  securing   and preserving  amity and good relations between  the  employers and  workmen.  The appropriate Government is  authorised  by section 4 to appoint conciliation officers charged with  the duty  of  mediating  in  and  promoting  the  settlement  of industrial  disputes and by section 5 to constitute a  Board of  Conciliation for promoting the settlement of  industrial disputes.  Section 6 empowers the appropriate Government  to constitute a Court of Inquiry for enquiring into any  matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to an  industrial dispute.   Finally, section 7 provides for the  constitution of  Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of  industrial disputes  in  accordance  with the provisions  of  the  Act. Section 10 of this Act provides for reference of disputes to a  Board, Court or Tribunal.  It will be noticed that  under this section it is the appropriate 160 1248 Government  which alone can make the reference and  set  the authority  in motion.  The procedure, powers and  duties  of conciliation  officers,  Boards, Courts  and  Tribunals  are elaborately  prescribed and defined in sections I 1  to  15. It is to be noted that the conciliation officer, Board,  and Court  are  required  to make a report  to  the  appropriate Government  while  the Tribunal is enjoined  to  submit  its award to the appropriate Government.  The report of a  Board or Court and the award of a Tribunal are under section 17 to be  published by the appropriate Government within  a  month from the date of their receipt.  Section 17-A provides  that the  award  of a Tribunal shall become  enforceable  on  the expiry  of  30 days from the date of  its  publication  and, subject to the provisions of sub-section (1) shall come into operation from such date as may be specified therein and  if no date is so specified from the date when the award becomes enforceable as aforesaid.  Section 19 prescribes the  period of operation of settlements and awards.  Chapter deals  with strikes and lock-outs.  Sections 26 to 31 which are  grouped together    under   the   heading   "Penalties"    prescribe punishments.  Section 31 (I) provides that any employer  who contravenes the provisions of section 33 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months or with  fine  which  may extend to Rs.  1,000  or  with  both. Section  33, a contravention of which is made punishable  by section  31, as it stood before 1950, forbade  an  employer, during  the  pendency  of any  conciliation  proceedings  or proceedings before a Tribunal, to alter, to the prejudice of the  workmen  concerned in the dispute,  the  conditions  of service   applicable   to  them  immediately   before   such



proceedings,  nor, save with the express permission  of  the conciliation officer, Board or Tribunal, as the case may be, to  discharge,  dismiss  or  otherwise  punish  during   the pendency   of  the  proceedings  any  workman,  except   for misconduct not connected with the dispute.  It may be  noted that  under  this section the ban on the alteration  of  the conditions  of service was absolute and that permission  was necessary only in case of discharge or dismissal or 1249 punishment and even in such case no permission was necessary when the workman was guilty of misconduct not concerned with the   pending  dispute.   The  Only  deterrent   against   a contravention by an employer of the provisions of section 33 was the prosecution of the employer under section 31.   This was  hardly  any  consolation for the  workmen,  for  if  an employer took the risk of a prosecution and acted in contra- vention  of  section  33 the workmen  could  only  raise  an industrial  dispute  and ask the appropriate  Government  to refer the same to a Tribunal but if the Government  declined to  accede  to  their prayer the workmen  were  without  any remedy.  This was the position under the 1947 Act before  it was amended in 1950. The  1950  Act  was enacted for  establishing  an  Appellate Tribunal in relation to industrial disputes.  Chapter II  of the  Act  deals  with  the  constitution,  composition   and functions  of the appellate tribunal.  Section 7  formulates the  jurisdiction  of  the appellate  tribunal.   Section  9 confers  on the appellate tribunal all the powers which  are vested  in  a Civil Court when hearing an appeal  under  the Code  of Civil Procedure, 1908.  Section 10  prescribes  the period of limitation within which appeals are to be  brought before  the  appellate  tribunal.   Under  section  15   the decision  of the appellate tribunal becomes  enforceable  on the  expiry of 30 days from the date of  its  pronouncement, provided that where the appropriate Government is of opinion that  it  would be inexpedient, on public grounds,  to  give effect  to  the  whole  or any  part  of  the  decision  the appropriate  Government may, before the expiry of  the  said period  of 30 days, by order in the Official Gazette  either reject  the decision or modify it.  Section 22 of  this  Act provides: "22.   During  the  period of thirty days  allowed  for  the filing of an appeal under section 10 or during the  pendency of any appeal under this Act, no employer sball- (a)  alter,  to  the prejudice of the workmen  concerned  in such  appeal, the conditions of service applicable  to  them immediately before the filing of such appeal, or 1250 (b)discharge  or punish, whether by dismissal or  otherwise, any workmen concerned in such appeal, save with the  express permission in writing of the Appellate Tribunal". Section  23 on which reliance is placed by  learned  counsel for the respondents and for the intervener, reads as follows:- "23.   Where  an  employer  contravenes  the  provisions  of section  22  during the pendency of proceedings  before  the Appellate   Tribunal,   any  employee  aggrieved   by   such contravention,  may  make  a complaint in  writing,  in  the prescribed manner to such Appellate Tribunal and on  receipt of  such complaint, the Appellate Tribunal shall decide  the complaint  as  if it were an appeal pending  before  it,  in accordance  with  the  provisions  of  this  Act  and  shall pronounce  its decision thereon and the provisions  of  this Act shall apply accordingly".’ Section  29  of  this  Act provides  for  penalty  for  con-



travention   of  the  provisions  of  section  22,   namely, imprisonment  for a term which may extend to six months,  or with  fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or  with both.   From what has been stated so far four things are  to be  noted,  namely,  (i)  that  the  ordinary  and   primary jurisdiction  of the appellate tribunal is  appellate,  (ii) that  section  22  of  this Act  confers  on  the  appellate tribunal  a special jurisdiction which is in the  nature  of original  jurisdiction, (iii) that section 23 also vests  in the  tribunal  an  additional  jurisdiction  to  decide  the complaint  as  if it were an appeal pending before  it;  and (iv)  that section 23 confers on the workmen  an  additional remedy which they did not have under the 1947 Act. To fill up the lacuna in the 1947 Act section 34 of the 1950 Act  provided  for  certain  amendments  of  the  1947  Act. Amongst  other things, it substituted a new section for  the old section 33 of the 1947 Act.  The new section 33 runs  as follows-- "33.  During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings or proceedings  before a Tribunal in respect of any  industrial dispute, no employer- shall- 1251 (a)alter, to the prejudice of the workmen concerned in  such dispute,  the  conditions  of  service  applicable  to  them immediately before the commencement of such proceedings; or (b)discharge  or punish, whether by dismissal or  otherwise, any workman concerned in such dispute, save with the express permission in writing of the conciliation officer, Board  or Tribunal, as the case may be". It  will  be  noticed that this  section  has  made  several changes.   Thus  under this section provision  is  made  for obtaining  permission  as  a condition  precedent  both  for altering  the conditions of service and for  discharging  or punishing the workmen and no exception is made for a case of misconduct  unconnected with the pending  dispute.   Besides this, the following new section was added to the 1947 Act as section 33-A: "33-A.   Where  an employer contravenes  the  provisions  of section  33  during  the pendency of  proceedings  before  a Tribunal, any employee aggrieved by such contravention,  may make  a  complaint in writing, in the prescribed  manner  to such Tribunal and on receipt of such complaint that Tribunal shall adjudicate upon the complaint as if it were a  dispute referred  to  or pending before it, in accordance  with  the provisions  of  this Act and shall submit its award  to  the appropriate Government and the provisions of this Act  shall apply accordingly". It may be pointed out that the new sections 33 and 33-A thus inserted  into the 1947 Act confer distinct benefits on  the workmen  and give some additional jurisdiction and power  to the authorities mentioned therein.  Section 33-A enjoins the Tribunal  to decide the complaint "as if it were  a  dispute referred to or pending before it" and to submit its award to the appropriate Government and provides that the  provisions of the Act shall apply to the award.  It is quite clear that the provisions of these two new sections 33 and 33-A of  the 1947  Act  correspond to and are in pari  materia  with  the provisions  of  sections 22 and 23 of the 1950 Act  and  are more  or  less  in  similar terms.   The  question  for  our conside- 1252 ration  is: What are the meaning, scope and effect of  these sections. A cursory perusal of section 33-A of the 1947 Act as well as section 23 of the 1950 Act will at once show that it is  the



contravention  by the employer of the provisions of  section 33  in the first case and of section 22 in the  second  case that  gives  rise  to a cause of action  in  favour  of  the workmen to approach and move the respective authority  named in  the  section  and this contravention  is  the  condition precedent to the exercise by the authority concerned of  the additional  jurisdiction and powers conferred on it  by  the sections.  The authority referred to in the sections is,  as we  have  seen,  a Court of limited  jurisdiction  and  must accordingly  be  strictly confined to the  exercise  of  the functions  and  powers actually conferred on it by  the  Act which  constituted it.  What, then, are the scope and  ambit of the functions and powers with which it has been vested by these sections? When an employer contravenes the provisions of section 33 of the  1947 Act or of section 22 of the 1950 Act  the  workmen affected thereby obviously have a grievance.  That grievance is two-fold.  In the first place it is that the employer has taken a prejudicial action against them without the  express permission in writing of the authority concerned and thereby deprived   them   of  the  salutary  safeguard   which   the legislature  has  provided  for  their  protection   against victimisation.   In  the second place, and  apart  from  the first grievance which may be called the statutory grievance, the workmen may also have a grievance on merits which may be of much more seriousness and gravity for them, namely,  that in point of fact they have been unfairly dealt with in  that their  interest has actually been prejudicially affected  by the highhanded act of the employer.  These sections give the workmen  the  right  to  move the  authority  by  lodging  a complaint  before it.  This is a distinct benefit  given  to them,  for, as we have seen, apart from these sections,  the workmen have no right to refer any dispute for adjudication. This  complaint  is required to be made  in  the  prescribed manner.  Form DD prescribed by rule 51-A of the Industrial 1253 Disputes  (Central) Rules, 1947, framed under section 38  of the 1947 Act, like Form E prescribed under section 35 of the 1950 Act, requires the complaining workmen to show in  their petition  of  complaint  not only the manner  in  which  the alleged  contravention has taken place but also the  grounds on  which  the  order  or  the  act  of  the  management  is challenged.   This clearly indicates that the  authority  to whom  the  complaint is made is to decide both  the  issues, namely  (1) the fact of contravention and (2) the merits  of the  act  or order of the employer.  It is also  clear  that under  section  33-A  of the 1947 Act the  authority  is  to adjudicate  upon  the  complaint "as if it  were  a  dispute referred  to or pending before it" and under section  23  of the 1950 Act the authority is to decide the complaint "as if it  were  an appeal pending before  it".   These  provisions quite   clearly  indicate  that  the  jurisdiction  of   the authority  is  not only to decide whether there has  been  a failure on the part of the employer to obtain the permission of  the authority before taking action but also to  go  into the  merits of the complaint and grant appropriate  reliefs. The  extreme contention that under section 33-A of the  1947 Act, on a finding that there has been a contravention of the provisions  of  section 33, the Tribunal’s duty is  only  to make  a declaration to that effect, leaving the  workmen  to take such steps under the Act as they may be advised to  do, has  been  negatived  by the Labour  Appellate  Tribunal  in Serampore  Belting Mazdoor Union v. Serampore  Belting  Co., Ltd.(1)  and  by the Bombay High Court in Batuk K.  Vyas  v. Surat Borough Municipality(1).  The same principle has  been



accepted and applied by a Full Bench of the Labour Appellate Tribunal  to a case under section 23 of the 1950 Act in  Raj Narain  v. Employers’ Association of Northern India(1).   We find  ourselves  in agreement with the  construction  placed upon section 33-A of the 1947 Act and section 23 of the 1950 Act by these decisions.  In our view the scope and ambit  of the jurisdiction conferred on the authority named in those (1)  (1951) 2 Lab.  L.J. 341. (2)  [1952] 54 Bom.  L.R. 922. (3)  [1962] 1 Lab.  L.J. 381, 1254 sections is wider than that conferred on the Criminal  Court by  section  31 of the 1947 Act and section 29 of  the  1950 Act.   The  Criminal  Court under  the  two  last  mentioned sections  is  only  concerned with the  first  issue  herein before mentioned, namely, yea or nay whether there has  been a contravention of the respective provisions of the sections mentioned therein, but the authority exercising jurisdiction under  section  33-A of the 1947 Act and section 23  of  the 1950  Act is to adjudicate upon or decide the complaint  "as if  it were a dispute referred to or pending before  it"  in the  first case or "as if it were an appeal  pending  before it"  in  the  second case.   The  authority  is,  therefore, enjoined  to  go into the merits of the  act  complained  of under  section  33-A of the 1947 Act and section 23  of  the 1950  Act.  In this sense the jurisdiction of the  authority named in these two sections is certainly wider than that  of the  Criminal Court exercising jurisdiction under the  penal sections  referred to above.  Having regard to the scope  of the  enquiry under section 33-A of the 1947 Act and  section 23  of  the 1950 Act it must follow that the  power  of  the authority  to  grant relief must be  co-extensive  with  its power  to  grant relief on a reference made to it or  on  an appeal brought before it, as the case may be.  The provision that  the authority concerned must submit its award  to  the appropriate  Government  and  that  the  provisions  of  the respective Acts would be applicable thereto also support the view that the decision of the authority is to partake of the nature of a decision on the merits of an industrial  dispute which  when  published by the  appropriate  Government  will become enforceable under the- respective Acts.  It  follows, therefore, that the authority referred to in these  sections must  have jurisdiction to do complete justice  between  the parties  relating  to the matters in dispute and  must  have power  to  give such relief as the nature of  the  case  may require  and  as  is also indicated  by  the  prayer  clause mentioned  in the two Forms DD and E referred to above.   In short, these two sections give to the workmen a direct right to approach the Tribunal or Appellate Tribunal for the                             1255 redress  of their grievance without the intervention of  the appropriate  Government  which they did not  possess  before 1950  and they provide for speedy determination of  disputes and  avoid  multiplicity of proceedings by  giving  complete relief  to  the  workmen in  relation  to  their  grievances arising  out  of  the  action  taken  by  the  employer   in contravention  of the provisions of the  relevant  sections. It  is significant that this jurisdiction or power has  been vested  in the Tribunal or Appellate Tribunal  whose  normal duty is to decide or adjudicate upon industrial disputes and not  on any conciliation officer or Board who  are  normally charged with the duty of bringing about settlement of dis- putes. it  is submitted by learned counsel for the Respondents  and of  the intervener that the scope of section 33 of the  1947



Act and of section 22 of the 1950 Act is precisely the  same as  that of section 33-A of the 1947 Act and section  23  of the  1950 Act.  The argument is that the two last  mentioned sections were enacted only in order to afford an opportunity to the workmen to do what they had been prevented from doing at  the earlier stage by reason of the employer  taking  the law  into  his  own hands and  taking  action  against  them without previously obtaining the sanction of the appropriate authority  to  do  so.  If the law permits  the  workmen  to ventilate  their grievances at a later stage  under  section 33-A  of the 1947 Act and section 23 of the 1950  Act  there can be no logical reason why the law should not permit  them to  do so at the earlier stage under section 33 of the  1947 Act  and section 22 of the 1950 Act.  It is  submitted  that the   purpose  of  labour  legislation  being  to   maintain industrial peace and restore amity and goodwill between  the employer  and his workmen, it should be the attempt  of  the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal at every stage to try  to resolve  all  disputes which are connected with  the  matter which  is  brought  before it.  Finally, it  is  urged  that whenever an authority is vested with the power to do or  not to do an act it must be regarded as having a discretion and 161 1256 that  in exercise of such discretion the authority  must  be presumed  to  be  vested  with  power  to  impose   suitable conditions.  Reliance is placed on the decision in The Queen v.  County  Council  of West Riding  of  Yorkshire(1).   The argument  is that the authority concerned may under  section 33  of the 1947 Act and section 22 of the 1950 Act grant  by way  of  imposing conditions the same relief  which  it  can grant to the workmen under section 33-A of the 1947 Act  and section  23 of the 1950 Act.  We are unable to  accept  this contention  as correct for reasons which we now  proceed  to state. The  object  of  section 22 of the 1950  Act  like  that  of section  33  of the 1947 Act as amended is  to  protect  the workmen concerned in disputes which form the  subject-matter of pending proceedings against victimisation by the employer on  account  of their having raised industrial  disputes  or their continuing the pending proceedings.  It is further the object  of  the two sections to ensure that  proceedings  in connection  with industrial disputes already pending  should be  brought  to a termination in a peaceful  atmosphere  and that  no employer should during the pendency of  those  pro- ceedings  take  any  action of the  kind  mentioned  in  the sections  which  may give rise to fresh disputes  likely  to further exacerbate the already strained relation between the employer and the workmen.  To achieve this object a ban  has been imposed upon the ordinary right which the employer  has under  the ordinary law governing a contract of  employment. Section  22 of the 1950 Act and section 33 of the  1947  Act which  impose the ban also provide for the removal  of  that ban  by  the granting of express permission  in  writing  in appropriate  cases by the authority mentioned therein.   The purpose of these two sections being to determine whether the ban  should be removed or not, all that is required  of  the authority exercising jurisdiction under these sections is to accord  or withhold permission.  And so it has been  held-we think  rightly-by the Labour Appellate Tribunal in  Carlsbad Mineral Works Co. Ltd. v. Their (1)  [1S96] 2, Q.B. 386.                             1257 Workmen(1)  which  was a case under section 33 of  the  1947 Act.   Even a cursory persual of section 33 of the 1947  Act



will make it clear that the purpose of that section was  not to confer any general power of adjudication of disputes.  It will  be noticed that under section 33 of the 1947  Act  the authority invested with the power of granting or withholding permission  is the conciliation officer, Board or  Tribunal. The conciliation officer or the Board normally has no power, under the 1947 Act, to decide any industrial dispute but  is only charged with the duty of bringing about a settlement of dispute.   It  is only the Tribunal which can by  its  award decide  a dispute referred to it.  ’Section 33 by  the  same language  confers  jurisdiction and power on all  the  three authorities.  Power being thus conferred by one and the same section,  it  cannot  mean  one thing  in  relation  to  the conciliation officer or the Board and a different and larger thing  in relation to the Tribunal.  There is no  reason  to think  that  the  legislature, by a side wind  as  it  were, vested  in  the  conciliation  officer  and  the  Board  the jurisdiction  and power of adjudicating upon disputes  which they  normally  do  not possess and which they  may  not  be competent or qualified to exercise.  Further, if the purpose of  the  section  was to invest all  the  authorities  named therein  with power to decide industrial disputes one  would have  expected  some  provision enabling them  to  make  and submit  an  award to which the provisions of the  Act  would apply such as is provided in section 33-A of the 1947 Act or section 23 of the 1950 Act.  There is no machinery  provided in section 33 of the 1947 Act or section 23 of the 1950  Act for  enforcing the decision of the authority named in  those sections.   This  also indicates that  those  sections  only impose a ban on the right of the employer and the only thing that  the  authority  is called upon to do is  to  grant  or withhold  the permission, i.e. to lift or maintain the  ban. And  so  it has been held by this Court in Atherton  West  & Co.,  Ltd.  v. Suti Mill Mazdoor Union(1) which was  a  case under clause 23 of the U. P. Government Notification  quoted on p. 785. (1) [1953] 1 Lab.  L.J. 85. (2) [1953] S.C.R, 780, 786-7, 1258 Section  22 of the 1950 Act is in pari materia with  section 33  of  the 1947 Act and the above clause 23 of  the  U.  P. Government Notification and most of the considerations noted above  in  connection with these  provisions  apply  mutatis mutandis  to  section  22 of the 1950  Act.   Imposition  of conditions  is  wholly collateral to this  purpose  and  the authority  cannot impose any condition.  And it has been  so held-we  think  correctly-in G. C. Bhattacharji v.  Parry  & Co., Ltd., Calcutta(1).  In view of the scheme of these  Act summarised  above  and the language of  these  sections  the general  principle laid down in the case of The Queen  v.The County Council of West Riding supra can have no   application to a case governed by these sections. In     our    judgment the Labour Appellate Tribunal was in    error   in   holding that   it  had  jurisdiction  to  impose  conditions  as   a prerequisite  for  granting  permission to  the  company  to retrench its workmen and the first question must be answered in the negative. In  the view we have taken on the first question we  do  not consider  it  necessary  on this  occasion  to  express  any opinion on the other question canvassed before us. The  result, therefore, is that this appeal is  allowed  and the  decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal is set  aside and the matter is remanded to the Labour Appellate  Tribunal to  deal  with the application of the company and  make  the appropriate order according to law.  In the circumstances of



this  case  we make no order as to costs.  Appeal No.  4  of 1955 is dismissed also without costs. (1) [1954] 2 Lab.  L.J. 635. 1259