w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Akhil Dadra & Nagar Haveli Kamgar Sangh & Others v/s Krantikari Kamgar Union & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- HAVELI INDIA LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909PB1998PLC021874

Company & Directors' Information:- AKHIL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109JK2000PTC002046

Company & Directors' Information:- AKHIL CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U74900TG2015PTC098902

    LETTERS PATENT APPEAL NO. 197 OF 2008, 156 OF 2011 IN WRIT PETITION NO. 3197 OF 2008, 6184 OF 2008, 5911 OF 2010

    Decided On, 29 June 2011

    At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.B. MAJMUDAR & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.A. SAYED

    For the Appellants: J.P. Cama, Senior Advocate, with K.S. Bapat, instructed by A.H. Fatangare, Milind Sathe, Senior Advocate, with N.G. Helekar & Mahesh Londhe, instructed by M/s. Sanjay Udeshi & Co., Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, S.K. Singhvi with Bennet D Costa, instructed Ms. Jane Cox, R2, G.S. Kulkarni, instructed by S.S. Deshmukh, R3, S.K. Talsania, Senior Advocate, instructed by R.V. Paranjpe, R4, N.R. Prajapati, Advocates, R5, R.M. Patne, Assistant Government Pleader.



Judgment Text

Oral Judgment: (P.B. Majmudar, J.)

Since this Court is assigned with the hearing of Letters Patent Appeals, by order of the Hon’ble the Chief Justice, Writ Petition Nos. 6184 of 2008 and 5911 of 2010 are also ordered to be placed before this Court and to be heard along with the aforesaid Letters Patent Appeals. Since common point is involved in all these matters, they are taken together and decided by this common judgment.

2. So far as Letters Patent Appeal No. 197 of 2008 is concerned, the same is filed by Akhil Dadra and Nagar Haveli Kamgar Sangh (hereinafter referred to as 'the appellant union') against the order of the learned single Judge in Writ Petition No. 3197 of 2008 by which the learned single Judge allowed the writ petition filed by Krantikari Kamgar Union (hereinafter referred to as 'the respondent union') and set aide the oder passed by the Labour and Enforcement Officer, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Silvassa by which the said respondent declined to allow the respondent union to participate in the conciliation proceedings by the order dated 22nd April, 2008.

3. The dispute is in connection with the demand of the trade union on behalf of the employees serving in M/s. IPCA Laboratories Ltd. situate at the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The respondent union is a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926, vide Registration Certificate dated 17th November, 2007 issued by the Registrar of Trade Unions in the State of Maharashtra. So far as appellant union is concerned, the said union is also a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and its activities are only restricted to the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. According to the respondent union, they are entitled to participate in the proceedings before the Conciliation Officer in connection with the demand of workmen of M/s. IPCA Laboratories Ltd. as, according to the said Union, the employees of the said company were initially enrolled as members of the appellant union and subsequently they were enrolled with the respondent union. The Conciliation Officer, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, declined the respondent union to participate in the conciliation proceedings on behalf of the workmen on the ground that it has no locus standi to represent the workmen outside the State of Maharashtra. The said conciliation proceedings were in respect of a charter of demands raised by the appellant union.

4. Letters Patent Appeal No. 156 of 2011 is filed by one M/s. Alok Industries Limited. The said industry is also functioning in the same area and, according to the appellant therein, the respondent union by virtue of the impugned order of the learned single Judge can take part in conciliation proceedings and other proceedings on behalf of the workmen of the appellant. It is submitted that since the said order affects the present appellant, the appellant be granted leave to file appeal against the said order. The leave to file appeal is also granted to the appellant because they were not parties before the learned single Judge. After granting leave, the appeal is admitted and the same is heard with Letters Patent Appeal No. 197 of 2008 and Writ Petition Nos. 6184 of 2008 and 5911 of 2010. According to the appellant, the respondent union has no right to represent the employees of their company as the said union is registered in the State of Maharashtra and it cannot carry out its activities beyond the State of Maharashtra and that it is not a multi-State trade union who can represent the cause of the workmen outside the State of Maharashtra.

5. At the time when conciliation proceedings were pending on the basis of the charter of demands submitted by the appellant union before the Conciliation Officer, respondent union tried to participate in the said proceedings. The Conciliation Officer, after adjourning the proceedings to a particular date, preponed the date and ultimately accepted the settlement behind the back of the respondent union. The said settlement is accordingly challenged by the respondent Union by way of writ petition being Writ Petition No. 6184 of 2008. At the time of admitting these matters, the Division Bench of this Court has stayed the order recording the settlement.

6. Thereafter the Conciliation Officer submitted his Failure Report and the State Government referred the matter to the Appropriate Court for adjudication. The Company i.e. M/s. IPCA Laboratories Limited has challenged the said reference by way of writ petition being Writ Petition No. 5911 of 2010.

7. That is how all these matters are placed before us for final hearing.

8. Mr. Cama, learned Senior Advocate, appearing for the appellant union, submitted that the writ petition in which the subject matter in issue was raised was required to be placed before the Division Bench and the Division Bench was required to decide the matter and the learned single Judge could not have decided the writ petition. It is submitted that the order of the learned single Judge is, therefore, a nullity and on that ground, Letters Patent Appeal filed by the appellant union is required to be allowed by setting aside the order of the learned single Judge. This preliminary point raised by Mr. Came, in our view, is required to be decided first and to find out whether the order of the learned single Judge is a nullity. In this connection, it is required to be noted that initially writ petition was placed before the Division Bench by the Registry of this Court. The Division Bench of this Court, after hearing both the sides passed the following order:

'Petition pertains to single Judge. Place before the Appropriate Court.'

On the basis of the aforesaid order, the matter was heard by the learned single Judge and the impugned order is passed by the learned single Judge after hearing both the sides on merits.

9. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that if the matter pertains to the Division Bench and if the learned single Judge has decided the matter, it is a nullity. To substantiate his say, Mr. Cama has relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Pandurang and others vs. State of Maharashtra (1986) 4 SCC 436 wherein the Supreme Court has observed thus:

'4. When a matter required to be decided by a Division Bench of the High Court is decided by a learned single Judge, the judgment would be a nullity, the matter having been heard by a Court which had no competence to hear the matter, it being a matter of total lack of jurisdiction. The accused was entitled to be heard by at least two learned Judges constituting a Division Bench and had a right to claim a verdict as regards his guilt or innocence at the hands of the two learned Judges. This right cannot be taken away except by amending the rules. So long as the rules are in operation, it would be arbitrary and discriminator to deny him this right regardless of whether it is done by reason of negligence or otherwise. Deliberately, it cannot be done. Negligence can neither be invoked as an alibi, nor can cure the infirmity or illegality, so as to rob the accused of his right under the rules. What can be done only by at least two learned Judges cannot be done by one learned Judge. Even if the decision is right on merits, it is by a forum which is lacking in competence with regard to the subject matter. Even a ‘right’ decision by a ‘wrong’ forum is no decision. It is nonexistent in the eye of law. And hence a nullity. The judgment under appeal is therefore no judgment in the eye of law. This Court in State of M.P. v. Dewadas (1982) 1 SCC 552has taken a view which reinforces our view. We, therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the order passed by the learned single Judge, and send the matter back to the High Court for being placed before a Division Bench of the High Court, which will afford reasonable opportunity of hearing to both the sides and dispose it of in accordance with law, expeditiously. We wish to add that the Registry of the High Court was expected to have realized the true position and ought not to have created a situation which resulted in waste of court time, once for hearing the appeal, and next time, to consider the effect of the rules. No court can afford this luxury with the mountain of arrears which every court is carrying these days.'

It is submitted by Mr. Cama that the order of nullity can be challenged at any point of time. Mr. Cama submitted that the order passed by the Conciliation Officer and which was impugned before the learned single Judge cannot be said to be a quasi judicial order. It was in the nature of an administrative order and, therefore, the matter was required to be placed before the Division Bench and the learned single Judge could not have decided the said matter. Mr. Cama relied upon the Bombay High Court (Appellate Side) Rules, 1960, in support of this contention.

29th June, 2011

10. Mr. Singhvi, learned counsel appearing for the respondent union, on the other hand, submitted that in a given case the Conciliation Officer is discharging both administrative as well as quasi judicial powers. If the order is a quasi judicial order, as per the High Court Appellate Side Rules, the single Judge is having jurisdiction to decide the said matter and if it is purely an administrative order, the matter is required to be heard by the Division Bench.

11. At this stage, reference is required to be made to Chapter XVII Rule 18 of the Bombay High Court Appellate Side Rules, 1960. As per Rule 18, there are certain matters which can be decided by the single Judge. As per the said Rule, all applications under Article 226 or under Article 227 of the Constitution of India arising out of the orders passed under various Acts enumerated therein are required to be decided by the single Judge. Subrule 9 of Rule 18 provides that the order passed under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 can be decided by the single Judge. Explanation to Rule 18 provides that the expression 'order' appearing in clauses (1) to (41) means any order passed by any judicial or quasi judicial authority empowered to adjudicate under the above mentioned statutes.

12. Considering the aforesaid aspect of the matter, if any order, which is in the nature of quasi judicial order, passed by an authority exercising quasi judicial powers, the said order can be challenged by way of a petition before the single Judge. If any order is passed which is in the nature of administrative order, the petition challenging the said order under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is required to be placed before the Division Bench. Mr. Singhvi, in support of his contention, has relied upon the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in the case of Subhas Anna Kool vs. Daund Tal.Sahakari Dudh Uttapadak Sangh Maryadit and another 2006 (4) Bom. C.R. 607wherein it is held that in a given case the concerned authority may exercise both judicial or quasi judicial powers. The relevant observations of the Division Bench are as under:

'25. As regards the second point for consideration, referring to the explanation clause of Rule 18 of Chapter 17 of the Bombay High Court (Appellate Side) Rules, 1960, hereinafter called as 'the Appellate Side Rules', it was argued that the jurisdiction of the learned single Judge is restricted to the orders passed by judicial or quasi judicial authorities and not by administrative or executive authorities. The order of 18-10-2005 having been passed by the administrative authority, the respondent No.2, the learned single Judge could not have entertained the petition.

26. In terms of Rule 18 of Chapter XVII of the Appellate Side Rules, the petitions under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution against orders passed under the various statutes enumerated under the said Rule may be heard and finally disposed of by a single Judge, provided that when the matter in dispute is in relation to the challenge to the validity of a statute or any rule or regulation made thereunder, such petition shall be heard and decided by a Division Bench. The said Rule has an explanation clause which reads thus:

'Explanation:- The expression 'order' appearing on Clauses 1 to 41 means any order passed by any judicial or quasi judicial authority empowered to adjudicate under the above mentioned statute.'

What is the meaning of 'quasi judicial authority' is the short point for consideration in the matter. According to the Black’s Law Dictionary the term 'quasi judicial' is applied to the action, decision etc. of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action, and to exercise discretion of judicial nature. The term 'quasi' is said to be used to make a resemblance and supposes a difference between two objects. It implies that conception to which it serves as index is connected with conception with which comparison is instituted by strong superficial analogy or resemblance. Moreover, it negates the idea of identity, but points out that the conceptions are sufficiently similar for one to be classed as the equal to the other. The expression 'quasi judicial' has been defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary to mean a judicial act performed by one not a Judge.

30. In short, it is not a mere obligation to act judicially that will make an ‘authority’ to be 'judicial' but its functioning in ‘judicial capacity’ would only clothe it with ‘judicial’ character, and the duty to act judicially would make its decision quasi judicial and therefore its function being of quasi judicial nature, consequently it would be a quasi judicial authority, irrespective of the fact that otherwise, it is an administrative or executive authority.

31. Since the order dated 18-10-2005 was a quasi judicial order passed by a quasi judicial authority, therefore, it was the order which could have been subjected to judicial review before learned single Judge in terms of the explanation clause to Rule 18 of Chapter XVII of the Appellate Side Rules and therefore no fault can be found with the exercise of writ jurisdiction by the learned single Judge in relation to the order dated 18-10-2005.'

Relying upon the aforesaid, it is argued by Mr. Singhvi that the order passed by the Conciliation Officer is a quasi judicial order and, therefore, the said matter falls within the jurisdiction of the single Judge as per Rules. Mr. Cama accepted the said proposition, however he argued that in the instant case, it cannot be said that the Conciliation Officer has exercised quasi judicial powers and, therefore, the order of the learned single Judge is a nullity and, therefore, the Letters Patent Appeals are required to be allowed and the order of the learned single Judge is required to be set aside.

13. To reiterate, when the Writ Petition was initially placed before the Division, the Division Bench came to the conclusion that the subject matter pertains to the single Judge and, therefore, the matter is required to be placed before the single Judge. At that time, no objection was taken on behalf of the appellant union in any manner as the order was passed after hearing the counsel for the appellant union and the respondent union. The said order was not even challenged further and, therefore, it has reached finality so far as the said issue is concerned.

14. Even before the learned single Judge, matter was argued by both the sides on merits and no objection was taken that the matter is required to be referred to the Division Bench. The appellant union having lost before the learned single Judge has taken this point for the first time in this appeal by way of an amendment. In our view, once the Division Bench has come to the conclusion that the subject matter pertains to the single Judge and thereafter the matter proceeded on that basis, this Court cannot sit in appeal over the decision of another Division Bench.

15. Apart from the aforesaid aspect, it is required to be noted that a Conciliation Officer has given various powers under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act of 1947'). For example under Section 33 of the Act of 1947, the conditions of service, etc. to remain unchanged under certain circumstances which includes pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a Conciliation Officer. In a given case, a complaint can also be filed under Section 33A of the Act of 1947 to such a Conciliation Officer or Board or an arbitrator or to the Court, as the case may be. By no stretch of imagination it can be said that the powers exercised by the Conciliation Officer in such a case is purely an administrative power. It is also required to be noted that on the earlier occasion when the respondent union was not permitted to participate in the conciliation proceedings, it approached this Court by way of writ petition being Writ Petition No. 1331 of 2008 and a Division Bench of this Court by an order dated 9th April, 2008 recorded the statement made on behalf of the Labour and Enforcement Officer that the question whether the respondent union can represent the workmen in the matter of conciliation in relation to charter of demands submitted by the respondent union and the same will be decided by the Labour and Enforcement Officer after granting an opportunity of being heard to all parties involved as expeditiously as possible. The Conciliation officer was, therefore, required to give hearing to the concerned parties. That itself indicates that the Conciliation Officer was discharging quasi judicial function as he was required to give hearing and apply his mind and pass orders. It is required to be noted that the appellant union never objected before the learned single Judge that the learned single Judge has no jurisdiction to decide the matter and having lost before the learned single Judge has taken this point in these proceedings. In our view, since the order can be said to be in the nature of quasi judicial and not purely an administrative order, the petition before the learned single Judge was maintainable. The preliminary point raised by Mr.Cama on behalf of the appellant union that the matter is required to be allowed only on the aforesaid point by setting aside the order of the learned single Judge is, therefore, not sustainable in view of the decision of this Court in the case of Subhas Anna Kool (supra). The said contention is rejected and it is held that the subject matter falls within the jurisdiction of the learned single Judge and, therefore, the learned single Judge has rightly exercised his jurisdiction.

16. On merits of the matter, it is submitted by Mr.Cama that the appellant union raised charter of demands as the said union is the only union who was entitled to raise the grievance of the employees of the concerned Company. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that so far as respondent union is concerned, it is not a multi-State Union but the same is registered in the State of Maharashtra and its activities are confined only to the State of Maharashtra and, therefore, the said Union could not have participated or represented the union which is located outside the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that since the aforesaid Union is registered in the State of Maharashtra as per the State Regulations and it is not registered under the Central Regulations, it was not open for the respondent union to agitate any demand on behalf of the workmen of a company which is not located in the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that it is no doubt true that the registering authority is common for both the State and multi-State union, yet the officer is exercising different powers under two different statutes and, therefore, unless the union is registered under the Central Regulation, it cannot operate its activities beyond the State. It is further submitted that as per clause 24 of the Constitution and Rules of the respondent union, its activities are restricted only to the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that the Central Regulations of 1938 which were prevailing at the relevant time were subsequently cancelled by notification dated 4th July, 1941. Since then, there was no Central Trade Union Regulations which are in force and in the absence of such Regulations, the respondent union could not have been registered as a multi-State union and in that view of the matter, it has no locus standi to represent the workmen and to participate before the Conciliation Officer outside the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Came that since the respondent union is registered in the State of Maharashtra and since now the said union is also appearing in the State Register, the learned single Judge has committed an error in coming to the conclusion that the said union is entitled to participate in the conciliation proceedings even beyond the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that it is true that in the year 1952, by way of notification, the powers under the Central Regulation are delegated to the State Registrar. That ipso facto would not mean that even Central Regulations are also delegated to the State Registrar. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that even if one person is exercising powers under the Central Act as well as the State Act, still he is exercising powers under two different statutes and, therefore, the registration of the respondent union can be said to be at the State level alone. It is submitted that the respondent union is, therefore, entitled to espouse the cause of the workmen only in respect of the employees serving in various industries in the State of Maharashtra. It is further submitted by Mr. Cama that under the Act two different forms are provided, one under the State Regulation and another under the Central Regulation. On the basis of the said argument, it is submitted by Mr. Cama that since the registration of the respondent union is in the State of Maharashtra, they cannot carry out any trade union activity beyond the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Cama that subsequently respondent union amended their constitution but such amendment cannot have any retrospective effect. At the time when the conciliation proceedings were pending, the amended constitution was not in force and, therefore, the Conciliation officer was perfectly justified in refusing audience to the respondent Union. It is further submitted that in any case even for amendment, respondent union was required to approach the Central Registrar and not the State Registrar. It is further submitted that in the State Register, a union operating at a multi-state level cannot be registered at all but such a union is required to be enrolled in the Central Register. It is further submitted by Mr. Cama that the learned single Judge could not have interfered with the finding of fact recorded by the Conciliation Officer. It is further submitted that in any case since the respondent union was not in existence at the relevant time when the charter of demands raised by the appellant union in the conciliation proceedings, the said union had no locus standi to say anything in the matter. Mr. Cama has relied upon various judgments to substantiate his say.

17. Mr. Singhvi, learned counsel appearing for the respondent union, on the other hand, submitted that looking to the object of the respondent union, it is clear that it is an All India Union. It is submitted that subsequently amendment is carried out in the Constitution wherein in clause 24 the word 'state' has been amended as ‘states/districts/regions’ and in view thereof the area of operation of the respondent union is for the entire country. It is further submitted that the amendment was also later on carried out by the union which, according to him, was only for abundant caution, though no such amendment was required as from inception it was operating at an All India level. It is alternatively submitted that in a given case even if no Central Regulations are in force, it cannot be said that no union having multi-state activity can ever be registered at all. It is submitted by Mr. Singhvi that it is not in dispute that the concerned officer was exercising his powers both under the Central Regulation and State Regulation. Mr. Singhvi submitted that the specific reference to the Berar area in the notification dated 4th July, 1941, is due to the fact that since it was not a province of British India and per General Clauses Act since Berar area was not within the British India, a specific reference of Berar area is made in the notification dated 4th July, 1941.

18. Mr. Talsania, learned Senior Advocate, appearing for the company, M/s. IPCA Laboratories Ltd., (respondent No.3 in LPA No. 197 of 2008) submits that in the notification of 1952, it is not stated that the State Regulation is applicable to multi-state union. It is submitted that even if the amendment is carried out, it cannot retrospectively apply and it will be applicable only from the date of order. It is further submitted by Mr. Talsania that the respondent union has no right to raise any demand on behalf of the employees of Company as the said union is not entitled to represent such workmen in connection with the industry which is operating in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which is not within the State of Maharashtra. It is submitted by Mr. Talsania that the learned single Judge has committed an error in coming to the conclusion that the respondent union was entitled to represent the cause of the workmen of respondent No.3 Company.

19. Mr. Sathe, learned Senior Advocate, appearing for the appellant in LPA No. 156 of 2011, which appeal is filed by granting leave, submits that the Central Regulations can be said to be still in force and the subsequent deletion would be applicable to Berar area and not rest of the area.

20. We have heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties at length and have gone through the various documents forming part of these proceedings.

21. The learned single Judge, upon considering the constitution of the respondent union, has found that the said union is carrying on its activity throughout India and held that the respondent union is entitled to participate in the conciliation proceedings and accordingly set aside the order passed by the Conciliation Officer dated 22nd April, 2008.

23. In the notification dated 4th July, 1941, which is issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 29 of the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926, it is directed that the Central Trade Union Regulations, 1938 shall be cancelled with effect from 31st March, 1941. Subsequently a notification was issued on 26th February, 1952 by the President of India in exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 258 of the Constitution of India entrusted with effect from 1st March, 1952 to the Government of each Part-A, State functions of the Central Government under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 in relation to trade unions whose objects are not confined to and whose head office is situated in that State. By another notification dated 26th May, 1952, the Government of Bombay appointed the Registrar of Trade Unions for the State of Bombay to be the Registrar of Trade Unions. In view of the same, the trade unions whose objects are not confined to a particular State but if its head office is situated in the State of Bombay, such union can apply for registration to the Registrar of Trade Unions at Bombay. It is not in dispute that the Central Government has already delegated powers in this behalf and in connection with registration of a trade union to the State. The respondent union was required to apply at Bombay because its head office is located at Bombay. It is required to be noted that after the 1952 notification referred to above, the same Registrar is exercising the powers for registration of a particular trade union within the State and the same officer is authorised to register a union, whose activities are not only confined to the State but it is a multi-state Union. If the respondent union wanted to get itself registered as a multi-state union, it was required to approach only the State Registrar at Bombay. In view of the same, simply because respondent union had given an application at Bombay and the Registrar at Bombay has registered the said union itself is not an indicative fact that the said union has got registered itself in the State of Maharashtra and it can function at the State level. As pointed out earlier, since the respondent union was having its head office at Bombay, it had no other alternative but to apply for registration at Bombay.

24. It is, however, required to be noted that there is nothing on record to suggest as to whether the Registrar was maintaining two separate registers, one under the State Register and the other under the Central Register. In view of the same, it is not possible for us to accept the submission of Mr. Cama that unless the registration is in the Central Register, it should be presumed that the respondent union is registered only in the State of Maharashtra whose activities are confined only to the State of Maharashtra. At this stage, reference is required to be made to the Constitution of the respondent union wherein certain industries are set out in Annexure-A to the Constitution. If the activities of the union are restricted to one State, then naturally such union cannot represent itself beyond the State and the appropriate Government in such case would be the State Government. In other cases where the union is operating beyond the State, then in such an eventuality, the appropriate Government would be the Central Government. As pointed out earlier, the registration is only one. The Registrar is only one and the same officer is exercising powers of entertaining the application for registration. There is nothing on record to suggest that there were two separate registers maintained or not. It is true that as on today, after the deletion of 1938 Central Regulations, the only Regulation which can be said to be existence is State Regulations. Simply because the Central Regulations are not in existence should not mean that no union, whose activities are at the multi-state level, can ever apply for registration at all. In the absence of Central Regulations, it is for the State Registrar to adopt his own procedure. It is true, as argued by Mr. Cama and Talsania, that by delegation of powers to the State Registrar, the Regulations of the Central Government are not delegated. However, in a given case, the Registrar may apply appropriate procedure as he deems fit at the time of registering a particular union for the purpose of giving registration. It is required to be noted that as per the Regulation, the union is required to apply for registration whose activities are beyond the particular State and is all India level. It is not possible for us to agree with the submission of Mr. Cama that in such an eventuality if the respondent union wanted to have its operations beyond particular state, it is required to apply for registration in every State. The said submission is required to be rejected as the Union is required to apply only where its head office is located.

25. At this stage reference is required to be made to various provisions of the Trade Unions Act, 1926. The definition 'appropriate Government' appearing in Section 2 of the Trade Unions Act, 1926 reads as under.

'2. Definitions.- In this Act the appropriate Government means, in relation to Trade Unions whose objects are not confined to one State the Central Government, and in relation to other Trade Unions the State Government, and, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.'

25.1 The 'Registrar' is defined in Section 2 (f) which reads as under.

'(f) 'Registrar' means:

(i) a Registrar of Trade Unions appointed by the appropriate Government under Section 3, and includes any Additional or Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions; and

(ii) in relation to any Trade Union, the Registrar appointed for the State in which the head or registered office, as the case may be, of the Trade Union is situated.' Section 3 provides appointment of Registrars and the same reads as under:

25.2 Section 3 deals with appointment of Registrars and the same reads thus:

'3. Appointment of Registrars. (1) The appropriate Government shall appoint a person to be the Registrar of Trade Unions for each State.

(2) The appropriate Government may appoint as many Additional and Deputy Registrars of Trade Unions as it thinks fit for the purpose of exercising and discharging, under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar, such powers and functions of the Registrar under this Act, as it may, by order, specify and define the local limits within which any such Additional or Deputy Registrar shall exercise and discharge the powers and functions so specified.

(3) Subject to the provisions of any order under subsection (2), where an Additional or Deputy Registrar exercises and discharges the powers and functions of a Registrar in an area within which the registered office of a Trade Union is situated, the Additional or Deputy Registrar shall be deemed to be the Registrar in relation to the Trade Union for the purposes of this Act.'

25.3 Section 4 defines mode of registration and the same reads thus:

'4. Mode of registration (1) Any seven or more members of a Trade Union may, by subscribing their names to the rules of the Trade Union and by otherwise complying with the provisions of this Act, with respect to registration, apply for registration of the Trade Union under this Act:

Provided that no Trade Union of workmen shall be registered at least ten per cent or one hundred of the workmen, whichever is less, engaged or employed in the establishment or industry with which it is connected are the members of such Trade Union on the date of making of application for registration:

Provided further that no Trade Union of workmen shall be registered unless it has on the date of making application not less than seven persons as its members, who are workmen engaged or employed in the establishment or industry with which it is connected.

(2) Where an application has been made under subsection (1) for the registration of a Trade Union, such application shall not be deemed to have become invalid merely by reason of the fact that, at any time after the date of application, but before the registration of the Trade Union, some of the applicants, but not exceeding half of the total number of persons who made the application have ceased to be members of the Trade Union or have given notice in writing to the Registrar dissociating themselves from the application.

25.4 Section 5 deals with application for registration which reads as under:

'5. Application for Registration.

(1) Every application for registration of a Trade Union shall be made to the Registrar, and shall be accompanied by a copy of the rules of the Trade Unions and a statement of the following particulars, namely

(a) the names, occupations and addresses of the members making the applications;

(aa) in the case of a Trade Union of Workmen, the names, occupations and addresses of the place of work of the members of the Trade Union making the application.

(b) the name of the Trade Union and the address of its head office; and

(c) the titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the office bearers of the Trade Union.

(2) Where a Trade Union has been in existence for more than one year before the making of an application for its registration, there shall be delivered to the Registrar, together with the application, a general statement f the assets and liabilities of the Trade Union prepared in such form and containing such particulars as may be prescribed.

25.5 Section 8 of the Act deals with Registration and the same reads thus:

'8. Registration.- The Registrar, on being satisfied that the Trade Union has complied with all the requirements of this Act, in regard to registration, shall register the Trade Union by entering in a register, to be maintained in such form as may be prescribed, the particulars relating to the Trade Union contained in the statement accompanying the application for registration'

25.6 Section 29 provides that the appropriate Government may make regulations for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of the Act and as per the same, the Regulations can be made in the manner in which the Trade Unions and the Rules of Trade Unions shall be registered and the fees payable on registration.

26. Section 3 of the Bombay Trade Unions Regulations, 1927 prescribes the form of application for registration. The said Regulations are applicable to Trade Unions whose objects are confined to the province of Bombay.

27. When the Central Regulations are no longer in force, the only alternative available to the Registrar to entertain the application for registering the trade union, whose activity is only confined to a particular state, is to follow the State Regulation by way of procedural aspect. However, it is not possible for us to accept the say of the learned counsel Mr. Cama and Mr. Talsania that unless the Central Regulations are in force, no trade union being multi-state can ever be registered at all and it can register only for a particular State and not beyond that.

28. In the original constitution of the respondent Union, the object mentioned therein is to organise and unite the workers employed in the list of industries and sectors set out in Annexure-A and as decided upon from time to time by the Executive Committee and the District Committee of the Union. Sub-Clause (s) of clause (2) states that the object of the union is to cooperate with other working class organisations in India and abroad having similar objectives to bring about greater working class solidarity. The Constitution of the Union also provides for Executive Committee which shall supervise and direct the functioning of the Union and guide its operations in all respects. There is also provision for District/Regional Committee in the Constitution. Clause 24 of the Constitution states that the President, General Secretary, Vice Presidents and Joint Secretaries shall have the power to represent the union throughout the State, including filing of cases. Relying upon the same, it is argued by Mr. Cama that the State means only State of Maharashtra and it should not be construed beyond the State of Maharashtra. Looking to the aforesaid object, which we have incorporated above, it is not possible for us to accept the say of Mr. Cama that simply because the description 'State' is in a singular manner and not in plural manner. The list of industries annexed to the Constitution of the Union includes plantations, tea, coffee, rubber, other including cinchona, cardamom, cashew and pepper, gins and presses, forestry, fishing, other metal mining including gold, manganese. It cannot be disputed that certain industries are not operating in the State of Maharashtra such as plantation activities, tea, coffee and rubber. Similar position is in respect of metal mining industry such as manganese and gold. It is, however, argued by Mr. Cama that simply by mentioning the said industries it should not mean that the Union is operating at a multi-state level especially when the names of such industries are not mentioned. In our view, considering the object of the Union, it can never be disputed that its activities are confined only to the State of Maharashtra. In our view, therefore, the object of the union is multi-state union and its activities cannot be said to be confined only to the State of Maharashtra. As pointed out earlier, since the head office of the respondent union is located at Mumbai, the application was made at Mumbai and since there is only one Registrar functioning for registering the trade union, the said Registrar has rightly registered the respondent union. It cannot, therefore, be said that the respondent union had no right to represent the case of the workmen outside the State of Maharashtra. As pointed out earlier, since the Registrar is only one who has been delegated powers, the said Officer is empowered to act for registering any union whose head office is located at Mumbai. Therefore, the Registrar at Mumbai is empowered to give registration to the respondent union as a multi-state union.

29. On behalf of the respondent union, an application was made to the Registrar of Trade Unions on 10th April, 2008, along with a copy of the resolution of the Executive Committee, pointing out that the Union has members in other States and Union Territory including Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The respondent union requested the Trade Union Registrar to make necessary changes in the record treating the registration of the said union as a multi-state union. This letter was written in view of the information obtained by the said Union under the Right to Information Act to the effect that all unions in Maharashtra are registered under the provisions of the Bombay Trade Union Regulations, 1927. The Union also wrote another letter on 14th April, 2008 to the Registrar pointing out that the Union was registered in October, 2007. It was further stated that the constitution and the objects of the union stated therein were clearly not restricted to any one state. By way of abundant caution, without prejudice to their contention, it was stated that the respondent union was already registered to organise workers into their union in all parts of India. The respondent union received a letter from the Deputy Registrar dated 13th May, 2008 to show clearly the geographical field of activity of the union so as to facilitate the union to function in the geographical field of activity mentioned. The last paragraph of the said letter reads thus:

'Similarly concerning subject No. 2you are informed to kindly note notification No. 1781/48 dated 26.5.1952 of the Government of India . As per the said notification, the Deputy Registrar, Mumbai has been given the authority to register unions having their field of activity all over India but whose registered office in Mumbai. Accordingly, since the Krantikari Kamgar Union has already been registered in this office, there is no need to obtain registration again.'

30. In view of the above, it is clear that the Registrar found that it is not necessary for the respondent union to get fresh registration as it is already registered by the office and the Registrar. The respondent union thereafter, as per the suggestion of the Registrar, submitted an amendment to the Constitution by letter dated 26th May, 2008 wherein all necessary particulars have been given. In view of the same, it is not in dispute that now the Union is operating at all India level. The Union was required to enter into correspondence with the Registrar as well as required to give an application for amendment of its constitution in view of the fact that on behalf of the member of the appellant union, an application was submitted by one Indrajit Parmar asking the particulars of registration of respondent union under the Right to Information Act wherein it is stated that trade Unions in the Maharashtra State are registered only under the State Regulations and, therefore, the registration of the concerned union was made under the Bombay Trade Union Regulations, 1927. Considering the said aspect and considering the object of the respondent union, as pointed out earlier, it cannot be said that the respondent union is functioning only at the State level and is not entitled to represent the case of the workmen outside the State. As pointed out earlier, simply because the Registrar is following the Regulation of the State, as Central Regulations are no longer in existence, ipso facto is not a ground for coming to the conclusion that the respondent union could never have been enrolled as a multi-state union and that the said union has to apply in every state in the absence of Central Regulations. The said argument is not even otherwise possible to accept in view of the fact that the Central Government has also delegated powers long back under Article 258 of the Constitution of India. Article 258 of the Constitution of India reads thus:

'258. Power of the Union to confer powers, etc. on States incertain cases. (1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the President may, with the consent of the Governor of a State, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that Government or to its officers functions in relation to any manner to which the executive power of the Union extends.

(2) A law made by Parliament which applies in any State may, notwithstanding that it relates to a matter with respect to which the Legislature of the State has no power to make laws, confer powers and impose duties, or authorise the conferring of powers and the imposition of duties, upon the State or officers and authorities thereof.

(3) Where by virtue of this article powers and duties have been conferred or imposed upon a State or officers or authorities thereof, there shall be paid by the Government of India to the State such sum as may be agreed, or, in default of agreement, as may be determined by an Arbitrator appointed by the Chief Justice of India, in respect of any extra costs of administration incurred by the State in connection with the exercise of those powers and duties.

258A. Power of the States to entrust functions to the Union.

Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the Governor of a State may, with the consent of the Government of India, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that Government or to its officers functions in relation to any matter to which the executive power of the State extends.'

31. As pointed out earlier, even otherwise as per the stand taken by the Registrar, it is amply clear that the procedure under the State Regulation is followed for such registration and in view of the clear cut stand taken by the Registrar, it is not necessary for the respondent union to take separate registration. The submission made by Mr. Cama, Mr. Talsania and Mr. Sathe therefore cannot be accepted.

32. At this stage reference is required to be made to various judgments cited at the Bar by the learned counsel appearing for the parties. Mr. Cama has relied upon the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Mazgaon Dock Limited vs. Shivbrat Jagroop Mishra and another 2008 III CLR 755. Relying upon the said judgment, it is submitted by Mr. Cama that even if the same Officer who is discharging powers under two different statutes, he is required to exercise the powers conferred upon him by a particular statute. The Division Bench has held that when the powers of appropriate Government in relation to an industry, where the Central Government is the appropriate Government, are delegated by the Central Government to the State Government, though the State Government becomes competent to exercise powers, it does not become appropriate Government and in relation to that industry the Central Government continues to be the appropriate Government. It is, however, nobody's case that in the instant case the State Government has become the appropriate Government even in connection with the registration of a trade union viz. whose activities are confined to multistate and not within the Sate. The Central Government still remains the appropriate Government but the procedural aspect about registration, etc. is delegated to the State Registrar by such delegation by the Central Government.

33. Mr. Talsania has relied upon the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Force Motors Limited (formerly known as Bajaj Tempo Ltd.) vs. Poona Employees Union and ors. 2009 I CLR 855. In the aforesaid case, the Court was concerned with the decision taken by the Industrial Court in the matter of granting status of recognised union. The Court was dealing under the MRTU & PULP Act, 1971 wherein the question about representative character of the Union was under consideration. It has been observed by the Division Bench in the said matter that since no schedule was annexed to the Constitution regarding object of the Union to organise and unite the persons employed in the industry, it was a purposeless union. The said observation was made entirely in different context while considering the question about recognition to a particular union under the MRTU & PULP Act.

34. The submission of Mr. Sathe that the amendment in 1941 was restricted only to the Berar area is also not acceptable. At this stage the definition 'British India' appearing in Section 5 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 is required to be mentioned. The same reads thus:

'5. 'British India' shall mean, as respects the period before the commencement of Part III of the Government of India Act, 1935, all territories and places within His Majesty’s dominions which were for the time being governed by His Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any Governor or Officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India, and as respects any period after that date and before the date of establishment of the Dominion of India means all territories for the time being comprised within the Governors’ Provinces and the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces, except that a reference to British India in an Indian law passed or made before the commencement of Part III of the Government of India Act, 1935, shall not include a reference to Berar.'

In any case, if the Central Regulation of 1938 is still in force, there is no question of issuing notification in the year 1952 by which the powers are delegated to the State. Even assuming that Central Regulations are still in existence, then also the power for registration is already delegated to the State Government.

35. At this stage, reference to certain decisions cited by Mr. Singhvi is also required to be made. Mr. Singhvi has relied upon the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Jagdish Bharti vs. Union of India and others 1969 LAB IC 205. The single Judge of the Allahabad High Court has considered the provision for registration of a trade union. It has been held in paras 12 and 13 as under.

'12. Under Section 8 the Registrar has to register the trade union by entering the particulars in a register to be maintained in such form as may be prescribed. The form can be prescribed by regulations. If there are no regulations the position will be that the form has not been prescribed. It will hence be impossible for the Registrar to comply with this part of Section 8.

13. Section 8 confers jurisdiction on the Registrar to register a trade union. The form in which the register is to be maintained relates to the procedure for registering the trade union. The jurisdiction to register is not dependent upon the prescription of the form of the register. The requirement of maintaining the register in the prescribed form is merely directory. Even if it was mandatory, it is clear that it is not a condition precedent for the exercise of the jurisdiction by the Registrar. If it is impossible to comply with this part of the procedure, its compliance can in law be dispensed with, see Pramesh Chandra Gupta vs. Registrar, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, 1955 ALL LJ 105 = AIR 1955 All 269 (FB). The Registrar can in that situation maintain the register in any suitable form including at his choice, the form prescribed by the regulations framed by the State Government. Action under Section 8 will not merely on that account be invalid.'

The learned single Judge has clearly held that the jurisdiction of a Registrar is not dependent upon the prescription of the form of the register and the requirement is merely a directory.

35.1 Mr. Singhvi has relied upon another decision of the Allahabad High Court in the case of NorthEastern Railway Mazdoor Union, Rail Mazdoor Bhawan, Alinagar, Gorakhpur vs. Registrar of Trade Unions, Kanpur and others1969 LAB IC 209 . In this case the learned single Judge has held that duty of Registrar in recording changes in the office-bearers of the trade union is only an administrative duty and the Registrar has no power to hold any quasi judicial enquiry.

35.2 Mr. Singhvi has relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of U.P. State Electricity Board, Lucknow vs. City Board, Mussoorie and others (1985) 2 SCC 16 wherein the Supreme Court has considered the aspect about framing of Regulation and it has been held that fixation of tariff without framing Regulations is not arbitrary as the Act itself provides sufficient guidelines. Relying upon the said observation, the learned counsel argued that the Act itself provides for registration in the absence of Regulation.

35.3 Mr. Singhvi has also relied upon the decision of the single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in the case of B.P.L. Group of Companies Karmikara Sangha (Retd.) vs. Commissioner of Labour and others 2001 (1) LLN 599wherein it is held that in respect of trade unions whose objects are not confined to one State, the appropriate Government would be the State Government. In paragraph 11, it has been held as under:

'11. In the case of Jagdish Bharti v. Union of India (1969 L & IC 205), the Allahabad High Court has observed in paragraph 2 of the judgment as follows:

'By notification, dated 16th January, 1941 (published in the Gazette of India, dated January 18, 1941, Part I, P. 108 Second Volume) the Central Government made the following orders:

' No. L3006In exercise of the powers conferred by subsec. (1) of S 124 of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Governor General in Council is pleased with effect from the 1st April, 1941, to entrust to the Government of each province, with its consent, the functions of the Central Government under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (XVI of 1926) in relation to trade unions whose objects are not confined to, and whose head office is situated in that province.'

Thereafter, by a notification No. L3006 (1) and (2) dated 4th July, 1941, the Central Government cancelled the Central Trade Unions Regulations, 1938 with effect from 31st March, 1941. The post of the Registrar of Central Trade Unions was also abolished. Thereafter, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh, by 1 a notification No. 1894 (L) (4)/XVIII42/ 38 dated 13th July, 1944 directed that:

'In exercise of the powers conferred by S. 29 of the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (16 of 1926), the Governor is pleased to order that the regulations published under Government Notification No. 1659/18681 dated September 15, 1927 shall apply also to trade unions whose head offices are situated within the United Provinces but whose objects are not confined to the United Provinces'.

After the coming into force of the Constitution of India, the Central Government, on 26th February, 1952 by a notification passed the following order:

'In exercise of the powers conferred by Cl. (1) of Art. 258 of the Constitution and in suppression of the notification of the Government of India in the late Department of Labour No. L3006, dated 16th January, 1941, the President hereby entrusts with effect from 1st March 1952 to the Government of each Part A State except the Government of Orissa and the Government of each Part B State, except the Government of Jammu and Kashmir with their consent, the functions of the Central Government under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (16 of 1926) in relation to trade Unions whose objects are not confined to and whose head office is situated in that State.'

It is thus clear that the President has entrusted the functions of the Central Government under the Act to the States in relation to the trade unions whose objects are not confined to and whose office is situated in the concerned State. Sri Anantharam, learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Samsher Singh vs. State of Punjab [1975 (1) L.L.N. 4]. In that case the Supreme Court considered the law laid down in the case of Jayantilal Amritlal Shodhan vs. F.N. Rana (AIR 1964 SC 648), and in para 43, at page 14, it is held as under.

'The ratio in Jayantilal Amritlal Shodhan case is confined to the powers of the President which can be conferred on States under Art. 258. The effect of Art. 258 is to make a blanket provision enabling the President to exercise the power which the Legislature could exercise by legislation, to entrust functions to the Officers to be specified in that behalf by the President and subject to the conditions prescribed thereby. The result of the notification by the President under Art. 258 is that wherever the expression ‘ appropriate Government’ occurs in the Act in relation to the provisions for acquisition of land for the purpose of the Union the words ‘ appropriate Government or the Commissioner of the Division having territorial jurisdiction over the area in which the and is situated' were deemed to be substituted.'

The law laid down in the above case squarely applies to the instant case. In the light of the ratio laid down as above, for the expression ‘appropriate Government’ it has to be read that 'Karnataka Government or the Registrar, Additional Registrar or Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions of the Division having territorial jurisdiction over the area in which the petitioner-union is registered.'

36. Considering the aforesaid aspect, it is not possible for us to accept the say of the learned Counsel Mr. Cama, Mr. Talsania and Mr. Sathe that the respondent union cannot be said to be a union operating at a multi-state level or that since it is not registered specifically in the separate register meant for trade unions register under the Central Regulation, the said union is not entitled to represent the case of the workmen beyond the State of Maharashtra.

37. In view of what is stated above, we are of the opinion that the learned single Judge has rightly held that the said respondent union whose object is not confined to only one particular State and who is having head office at Mumbai has rightly been registered at Mumbai for the purpose of its activities. In any event, since the amendment has already been carried out which has been done by way of abundant caution, as argued by Mr. Singhvi, it cannot be disputed that the said Union is not registered as a multi-State union. In view of the above, both the Letters Patent Appeals are required to be dismissed and the order of the learned single Judge is required to be confirmed. We therefore confirm the order of the learned single Judge as the learned single Judge has rightly held that the respondent union is entitled to participate in the conciliation proceedings undertaken by the Conciliation Officer.

38. It is required to be noted that after the order of the learned single Judge, the Conciliation Officer, at the instance of the respondent union conciliated the charter of demand. In compliance with the order of the learned single Judge, the Conciliation officer allowed the respondent Union to participate in the conciliation proceedings and submitted a Failure Report. The dispute is already referred to by the appropriate Government to the appropriate Court. The order of reference, however, is challenged by the Company by way of Writ Petition being Writ Petition No. 5911 of 2010. The respondent Union has also filed a writ petition being Writ Petition No. 6184 of 2008, which we have indicated in the earlier part of this judgment, in which settlement recorded by the Conciliation Officer between the Company and its employees represented by the appellant union is under challenge. The respondent union has challenged the said settlement by way of the aforesaid writ petition on the ground that the Conciliation officer has adjourned the matter on a later date and in the absence of respondent union, the settlement is arrived at behind the back of the respondent Union. The Division Bench while admitting the said writ petition had stayed the said settlement.

39. It is required to be noted that when the proceedings were pending before the Conciliation officer, the respondent union intervened in the matter and at that stage the Conciliation Officer adjourned the proceedings but before the adjourned date, a settlement was signed by the Conciliation Officer behind the back of the respondent union. Under the provisions of the Act, in a given case, if there is no trade union, five workmen can put their demand before the Conciliation Officer. It is pointed out by Mr. Singhvi that the respondent union gave a written application which is signed by 5 employees wherein by way of annexure names of 136 employees whom they were represented was given. The Division Bench while admitting the matter observed that the Conciliation proceedings were scheduled on 22nd May, 2008. However, on that day the conciliation was adjourned in the presence of all the parties to 12th June, 2008.In the meanwhile, the office-bearers of the appellant union approached the Conciliation Officer and in fact they had given threat of strike. In view of the same the hearing was preponed to 26th May, 2008 and a settlement was arrived at. Under the circumstances, the Division Bench stayed the order recording settlement. So far as settlement is concerned, the same is binding to all employees as the said settlement has been arrived at during the conciliation proceedings as per the provisions of Section 18 (3) of the Act. The Conciliation Officer recorded the settlement in view of the threat of strike given by the union. It is required to be noted that when conciliation proceedings were pending, resorting to a strike would be an illegal strike as per the provisions of the Act. In any case, when a particular date was given by the Conciliation Officer, it was not proper on his part to prepone the matter and to record the settlement, though learned counsel appearing for the Conciliation Officer has stated that since an industrial unrest was likely to arise in the area and in order to maintain peace that date was preponed and there was no mens rea on his part. Even if that be true, in our view, recording of settlement was not proper and, therefore, the Division Bench has rightly stayed the said settlement. Mr. Talsania, learned counsel, however, argued that individual notice was given to all the five employees and the same was also put on the notice board. However, there is a dispute in this behalf.

40. It is argued by Mr. Singhvi that on 29th May, 2008, when the employees went to the factory premises they came to know about the settlement as a notice was placed on the notice board regarding such settlement. They also further came to know that the Conciliation Officer has already put his signature on such settlement on 26th May, 2008. It is submitted that the Conciliation Officer entered into settlement with minority union by advancing the date and the same is a procedural illegality. It is further submitted that even otherwise before recording the settlement, the Conciliation Officer is required to be satisfied that it is in the interest of all employees no such subjective satisfaction is placed on record. It is further submitted that when there are numerous persons as parties to any proceedings before a Board, Court, Labour Court, Tribunal or National Tribunal or an Arbitrator, and such persons are not members of any trade union or association, the Board, Court, Labour Court, Tribunal, National Tribunal or Arbitrator, as the case may be, shall where personal service is not practicable, cause the service of any notice to be made by affixing the same at or near the main entrance of the establishment concerned.

It is submitted that there are only 5 employees who were parties before the Conciliation Officer. At least those 5 employees could have been given personal intimation and it cannot be said that the personal service was not practicable in the present case. Mr. Singhvi also pointed out that the concerned employees were required to give declaration to the effect that they belong to a particular union. The format of the declaration, inter alia, reads as under:

'I, _____, the undersigned Emp. No. ___ of Department ___ hereby informs you that I am not a member of any Union except Akhil Dadra Nagar Haveli Kamgar Sangh, who has negotiated and signed the Settlement on our behalf dated May, 2008.

The terms and contents of the Settlement dated May, 2008 have been fully explained to me/read by me. I have completely understood the terms mentioned therein and their implications. I hereby unequivocally say and accept that the terms of the settlement are not severable from each other and I accept the same in to.....'

Mr. Singhvi submitted that the above declaration as also other clauses in the declaration are not in the interest of the employees and the Conciliation Officer is not concerned with this aspect.

41. Mr. Talsania, on the other hand, submitted that a notice was already placed on the notice board and since the Conciliation Officer was apprehendi

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ng industrial unrest that he advanced the date of hearing and recorded the settlement. It is submitted by Mr. Talsania that at the time when the charter of demand was submitted, the respondent union was not in existence as it is formed later on. It is submitted that the date on which the settlement is arrived at, no industrial dispute was pending and that the Conciliation Officer could not have submitted failure report and appropriate Government should not have referred the matter for adjudication especially in view of the pendency of the writ petition. It is submitted by Mr. Talsania that recording the settlement cannot be challenged in any writ petition and the remedy available to the appellant union was to raise an appropriate industrial dispute. It is submitted that the reference made by the appropriate Government is even otherwise bad as there was no referable dispute. During the course of hearing, Mr. Talsania also submitted that subsequently individual agreements were also entered into and in that view of the matter, if the dispute is to be referred to the appropriate Court, the individual workmen who have signed the settlement may suffer. 42. Mr. Talsania has relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of National Engineering Industries Ltd. vs. State of Rajasthan and others (2000) 1 SCC 371 wherein the Supreme Court has held that before making a reference, there must be existence or apprehension of an industrial dispute which is a condition precedent for making reference. It is submitted that in view of the existence of the settlement, there was no question of referring any dispute. However, so far as the aforesaid point is concerned, it is required to be noted that settlement recorded is already stayed by this Court and, therefore, with a view to see that there may not be any further delay in connection with the charter of demands submitted by the Union, the Conciliation Officer started fresh conciliation proceedings which resulted into failure report and, therefore, in our view, it cannot be said that there was no industrial dispute which can be said to be pending. It is required to be noted that in the instant case the procedure adopted by the Conciliation Officer regarding entering into settlement is illegal as after adjourning the proceedings, the Conciliation Officer preponed the matter and recorded the settlement. Though the Conciliation Officer might have acted bona fide and there may not be any mens rea on his part, but in any case the said settlement, in our view, cannot be said to be valid settlement as it is de hors the procedure and has been arrived at in an unjust and unfair manner. It is true that in normal circumstances settlement is required to be challenged before the appropriate forum but in the instant case the challenge to the settlement has been entertained by this Court and stayed the same. When the settlement is already stayed by this Court and subsequently the reference now is already made, the question raised in this petition has become more or less academic as now substantive dispute is already referred to the appropriate Court. 43. Mr. Singhvi has relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Bata Shoe Co. (P) Ltd. vs. D.N. Ganguly and others AIR 1961 SC 1158 wherein it is held that as per Sections 12 and 18 of the Act, the settlement should be arrived at during the conciliation proceedings with the assistance and concurrence of the Conciliation Officer and it is the duty of the Conciliation Officer to promote a right settlement and to do everything he can to induce the parties to come to a fair and amicable settlement of the dispute. It is only such a settlement which is arrived at while conciliation proceedings are pending that can be binding under Section 18 of the Act. It is further held in the aforesaid case that the agreement in question was not arrived at with the assistance and concurrence of the Conciliation Officer and, therefore, it was not a settlement which was binding under Section 18 of the Act and under such circumstances Government was justified in making a reference to the competent Court in connection with the workmen not covered by the settlement. 44. Mr. Bapat, learned counsel appearing for the respondent union, has relied upon the decision of this Court in the case of S.C. Adhikari (Capt.) and others vs. Air India, through its Managing Director and ors. 2001 I CLR 121 wherein it is held that the High Court should not interfere with the settlement arrived at in the course of conciliation proceedings nor exercise its writ jurisdiction. However, as pointed out earlier, it cannot be said to be a settlement in the eye of law at all in view of what is stated above. The ratio of the said judgment is, therefore, not applicable to the facts of the present case. 45. It is further submitted by Mr. Bapat that the settlement arrived at is in the interest of the employees of the Company. It is submitted that the respondent union has no locus standi to challenge the settlement as at the most it could have been challenged by the concerned employees. It is further submitted that the Conciliation Officer cannot be said to be a Board of Conciliation. It is not necessary to examine this question as it has no relevance so far as the point in issue before us is concerned. It is submitted that since some of the employees have entered into 2 (p) settlement and if the reference is allowed to go on, such employees may suffer. The award which the Tribunal may give is binding upon all the parties. It is pointed out that the demand raised by the respondent union covers all the demands raised by the appellant union and the said Union can also appear before the appropriate Court where the dispute is pending and also submit its say before the concerned Court. 46. Considering the aforesaid aspect of the matter, in our view, the writ petition filed by respondent union is required to be allowed on the aforesaid grounds as well as on the ground that since the dispute is already referred to the appropriate Court wherein the concerned union can also intervene and the concerned Court to whom the dispute is referred shall take into consideration their say before finally adjudicating the matter. As pointed out earlier, in the instant case since the procedure adopted by the Conciliation Officer is under challenge and settlement is arrived at not in accordance with law, it cannot be said to be a settlement in the eye of law. 47. In view of the above, Writ Petition No. 6184 of 2008 is allowed and Writ Petition filed by M/s. IPCA Laboratories Ltd. viz. Writ Petition No. 5911 of 2010 is dismissed. Considering the fact that the demand of the workmen is pending since long , the concerned court before whom the dispute is pending, shall expedite the hearing of the reference and true to complete the same at the earliest and preferably within a period of one year from today. 48. Consequently, the following order is passed. (i) Letters Patent Appeal Nos. 197 of 2008 and 156 of 2011 are dismissed. (ii) Rule made absolute in Writ Petition No. 6184 of 2008. (iii) Rule is discharged in Writ Petition No. 5911 of 2010. Ad-interim order dated 13th October, 2010, stands vacated. There shall be no order as to costs.
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