Authorities under Industrial Dispute Act , 1947 Introduction The whole object of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 is to assure peace and harmony in the Functioning of the Industry with a view to achieve maximum industrial Productivity. It has provided the following authorities for the prevention and settlement of Industrial Disputes are as follows - 1. The Works Committee Section 3 of the Industrial Dispute Act,1947 provides for the constitution of Works Committees. The expression 'Works Committee' denotes "A committee comprising of representatives from both the parties (for example employer and their employees) to the Dispute. The appropriate government is empowered to prescribe that works committee should be constituted in every industrial establishment employing 100 or more workers. • The Purpose of Creating Works Committee The main purpose of creating the Works committee is to develop a sense of partnership between the employee and his workmen • Constitution of Works Committee (1) In the case of any industrial establishment in which one hundred or more workmen are employed or have been employed on any day in the preceding twelve months, the appropriate Government may by general or special order require the employer to constitute in the prescribed manner a Works Committee consisting of representatives of employers and workmen engaged in the establishment so however that the number of representatives of workmen on the Committee shall not be less than the number of representatives of the employer. The representatives of the workmen shall be chosen in the prescribed manner from among the workmen engaged in the establishment and in consultation with their trade union, if any, registered under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (16 of 1926). • Duties and Functions of the Works Committee It shall be the duty of the Works Committee to promote measures for securing and preserving amity and good relations between the employer and workmen and, to that end, to comment upon matters of their common interest or concern and endeavor to compose any material difference of opinion in respect of such matters. Dealing with the scope of functioning of the Works committees, it was held in Kemp and Co. Ltd Vs. Their workmen ( 1955) L.L.J. 48 (L.A.T) that the Institution of works committee has been provided in the rules passed under the Industrial Dispute Act in order to look after the interest of the workmen. They are normally concerned with the problems arising in the day to day working of the grievance of the employees and to arrive at some agreement also. But the functions and the responsibility of the Works Committee as their very nomenclature indicates cannot go beyond the recommendations and as such, they are no more or less bodies who in the first instance endeavor to compose the differences and the final decisions rests with the union as the whole. • Dissolution of the Works Committee The Central Government or any officer authority to whom the power under Section 39 has been delegated, may, after making necessary enquiry, dissolve any works committee at any time, by an order in writing provided it or he is a satisfied the committee has not been constituted in the accordance with the rules or that not less than 2/3rd of the number of representatives of workmen have without any reasonable justification, failed to attend three consecutive meetings of the committee or that the committee has ceased to function for any other reason, thus defeating the very purpose for which this institution exists in the Industrial law. 2. Conciliation Officer Conciliation is a process by which discussion between the employers and the employees is kept going through the participation of a conciliator. Conciliator plays a pivotal role in bringing round the parties involved in the disputes and held in resolving difference by making the parties understand and appreciate the difficulties of each party involved in the dispute in the Industrial field. As a mediator, his tactful handling of the situation sometimes saves the situation from taking a serious turn. Section 3 of the Industrial Dispute Act,1947 provides for the constitution of Works Committees. The expression 'Works Committee' denotes "A committee comprising of representatives from both the parties (for example employer and their employees) to the Dispute. The appropriate government is empowered to prescribe that works committee should be constituted in every industrial establishment employing 100 or more workers. • Board of Conciliation According to Section 5 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 the appropriate Government may as occasion arises by notification in the Official Gazette constitute a Board of Conciliation for promoting the settlement of an industrial dispute. According to Section 4 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 the appropriate Government may appoint one or more conciliation officers. A conciliation officer may be appointed for a specified area or for specified industries in a specified area or for one or more specified industries and either permanently or for a limited period. Under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) a Conciliation officer shall be deemed to be a public servant. The Conciliation officer is empowered to exercise all quasi-judicial powers of a Civil Court under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. (CPC) He is or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department, having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labor department including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer. • Powers of Conciliation Officer The Powers and Procedure is laid down in Section 11 of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. (i) Conciliation Officer for the purpose of inquiring into an exiting apprehended Industrial Dispute is empowered, after giving the notice to enter the premises occupied by the Industrial establishment. (ii) Conciliation Officer is also empowered to call for and inspect any document which he may consider relevant to the dispute. (iii) Conciliation Officer enjoys the same powers as are available to the civil Courts in respect of compelling the parties, to appear and produce all the relevant documents. (iv) All Conciliation Officers are Public Servants within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code. • Duties of Conciliation officer The duties of the Conciliation Officers are prescribed under Section 12 of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947 which are as follows - (1) Where any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended, the conciliation officer may, or where the dispute relates to a public utility service and a notice under section 22 has been given, shall, hold conciliation proceedings in the prescribed manner. (2) The conciliation officer shall, for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the dispute without delay investigate the dispute and all matters affecting the merits and right settlement thereof and may do all such things as he thinks fit for the purpose of inducing the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of the dispute. (3) If a settlement of the dispute or of any of the matters in dispute is arrived at in the course of the conciliation proceedings the conciliation officer shall send a report thereof to the appropriate Government or an officer authorised in this behalf by the appropriate Government together with a memorandum of the settlement signed by the parties to the dispute. (4) If no such settlement is arrived at, the conciliation officer shall, as soon as practicable after the close of the investigation, send to the appropriate Government a full report setting forth the steps taken by him for ascertaining the facts and circumstances relating to the dispute and for bringing about a settlement thereof, together with a full statement of such facts and circumstances, and the reasons on account of which, in his opinion, a settlement could not be arrived at. (5) If, on a consideration of the report referred to in sub-section (4), the appropriate Government is satisfied that there is a case for reference to a Board, Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal], it may make such reference. Where the appropriate Government does not make such a reference it shall record and communicate to the parties concerned its reasons therefor. (6) A report under this section shall be submitted within fourteen days of the commencement of the conciliation proceedings or within such shorter period as may be fixed by the appropriate Government. Provided that, subject to the approval of the conciliation officer, the time for the submission of the report may be extended by such period as may be agreed upon in writing by all the parties to the dispute. 4. Court of Inquiry According to Section 6(1) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, the appropriate Government may as occasion arises by notification in the Official Gazette constitute a Court of Inquiry for inquiring into any matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to an industrial dispute. • Constitution of Court of Inquiry A Court of Inquiry may consist of one independent person or of such number of independent persons as the appropriate Government may think fit and where a Court consists of two or more members, one of them shall be appointed as the chairman. • Quorum A Court, having the prescribed quorum, the quorum is one if the number of members is not more than two. The quorum is two if the number of members is two, but less than five. The quorum is three if the number of members is more than five. • Duties of the Court of Inquiry Section 14 of the Industrial Act 1947 prescribes duties of the Court of inquiry are as follows - (i) The court of inquiry is to inquire into the matters referred to it under section 10(1) of the said Act by the appropriate government. It is only those matters which are appearing to be or connected with the industrial dispute that can be referred to it under section 10(1) or under Section 12(5) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. (ii) The court of inquiry is to make a report to the appropriate government on the basis of an inquiry held by it on the matters referred to it, ordinary leave within 6 months from the date of commencement of the inquiry. The inquiry made beyond the period of 6 months will not be illegal as the provision is directory in nature. 5. Labour Court According to Section 7 of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 The appropriate Government has been empowered to constitute Labour Court. The appropriate government, by notification, in the official gazette, may constitute one or more labor Courts for adjudication of industrial dispute specified in the second schedule.It consisted of one person, appointed by the government. He is called the presiding officer. (A) Qualification for the appointment of a Presiding Officer of the Court : (i) He is or has been a judge of high court (ii) He has for a period of not less than 3 years, been a district judge or an additional judge (iii) He has held any judicial office in India for not less than 7 years (iv) He has been the presiding officer of labor Court constituted under any Provision Act for not less than 5 years (B) Disqualifications : Section 7-C of the Industrial Dispute Act,1947 prescribes Disqualifications for the presiding officer to be appointed to the Labor Court. It provides that no person shall be appointed to or continue in office if: (a) He is not an independent person; or (b) he has attained the age of 65 years Under Section 8 of the industrial dispute Act,1947 the appropriate government is vested with the powers to fill up the vacancy in the Labor Court caused for any reason. • Jurisdiction of the Labour Court: A limited jurisdiction has been made available to the Labor Court which is circumscribed by the Section itself and the matter enumerated in the second scheduled (E.g., Dismissal, Retrenchment, Strike, Lockout etc) Labour court is not a Tribunal within the meaning of section 7A(3)(b) read with Section 2(R) and hence not bound by the rules of evidence and natural justice as is the case with Industrial Tribunal.. • Duties of Labour Court : Labour Court shall hold its proceedings within the specified period and shall submit its award to the Government. Such award must be in writing and signed by the presiding officer. The Labour Court has the same power of a Civil Court. The proceeding of the Labour Court shall not be questioned on the ground that it is not properly constituted • Functions of the Labour Court : The functions of the Labor Court are laid down in Section 7 of the said Act. (I) Adjudicating upon industrial dispute specified in the second schedule of the said Act; are as follows (1) The propriety or legality of any order passed by an employer under the standing orders; (2) The application and interpretation of the Standing Orders (3) Discharge or dismissal of the workman including reinstatement of, or grant of relief to, the workman wrongfully dismissed; (4) Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege (5) Illegality or otherwise of a strike or Lockout; and (6) All matters other than those specified in the Third Schedule which fall within the jurisdiction of Industrial Tribunal. (II) Performing such other functions as may be assigned to it under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 The Other matters assignable on the Labor Court are: (1) Voluntarily reference of dispute by written agreements between the parties under Section 10A; (2) Arbitration reference under Section 10A; (3) Permission to or approval of the action of discharge under Section 33; (4) Complaint by the aggrieved employees under Section 33A; (5) Application under Section 33(c)2 for the computation of any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in the terms of money. (6) Reference of awards or settlement for the interpretation in case of difficulty or doubt under Section 36A 6. Industrial Tribunal According to Section 7(A) of the Act, by 1956 Amendment Act, the appropriate Government by notification in the Official Gazette may constitute one or more Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes relating to any matter specified in the Second Schedule or the Third Schedule and for performing such other functions as assigned. A Tribunal once appointed cannot be abolished by an executive act. • Constitution of the Industrial Tribunal A Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the appropriate Government. It may be constituted for a limited time or for any particular Case. It is headed by one person known as Presiding Officer. • Qualification of Preceding officer A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the presiding officer of a Tribunal unless - (a) He is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (b) He has, for a period of not less than three-years, been a District Judge or an Additional District Judge; (c) He is or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department, having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labor department including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer: (c) He is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade III with three years' experience in the grade. (d) The presiding officer shall be an independent person. (e) He must not have attained the age of 65 years. • Jurisdictions of the Industrial Tribunals The Industrial Tribunal are assigned the jurisdiction to adjudicate upon industrial disputes specified in the second and third schedule of the Act or any matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to such disputes, referred to it under Section 10(1)(d) of the Act. It is immaterial whether any such matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to the basic dispute relates to any matter specified in Second and third schedule or not. The first proviso to Section 10 Lays down that way in the dispute relates to matter specified in the third schedule and it is not likely to affect more than a hundred workmen, the appropriate government has the discretion to make a reference to the Labor Court. The following matters are specified in the third schedule of the Act - (1) Wages including the period and mode of payment; (2) Hours of work and rest intervals; (3) Leave with wages and holidays (4) Compensatory and other allowances (5) Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity ; (6) Shift working otherwise than in accordance with standing orders; (7) Classification by grades (8) Rates of discipline (9) Rationalization (10) Retrenchment of workmen and closure of establishment; (11) Any other matter that may be prescribed. Thus, whereas questions arising under the second schedule can be adjudicated both by Industrial Court and tribunal, questions arising from matters included in the third schedule can be referred for adjudication to a Tribunal alone unless the case falls under the provision to Section 10 (1) (d). Lays down that the appropriate government may refer the dispute or any matter appearing to be connected with or relevant to, the dispute, whether it relates to any matter specified in the Section or third schedule to a Tribunal for adjudication. 7. National Tribunal According to Section 7B of the said Act, 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. • Constitution A National Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the Central Government called Presiding officer. The Central Government may if it so thinks fit appoint two persons as assessors to advise the National Tribunal in the proceeding before it. • Qualification of Presiding office The person to be appointed as the Presiding Officer of a National Tribunal must be a Judge of High Court. • Disqualification According to Section 7(C), no person shall be appointed or continue in the office of the presiding officer of a National Tribunal, if- (a) He is not an independent person; or (b) He has attained the age of sixty-five years. • Duties of National Tribunals The Duties of Tribunals under Section 15 of the said Act are as under To hold adjudication proceedings expeditiously. The whole object of the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 is to assure peace and harmony in the functioning of the industry with a view to achieve maximum industrial productivity. With this object in view the Legislature has enjoined upon the Tribunals to hold the adjudicatory proceedings expeditiously.
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