At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R.M.S. KHANDEPARKAR
Mr. Shailesh Phatak for the Petitioner. Mr. R.S. Pai i/by Sanjay Udeshi & Co. for the Respondents.
Heard the learned Advocates for the parties.
Perused the records.
The petitioner challenges the order dated 25.1.2000 passed by the Industrial Court on an application filed by the respondent-company. The challenge to the impugned order is mainly on the ground that neither the Industrial Court had jurisdiction to grant the relief asked for and granted under the impugned order nor the provisions of law contained in Section 30(2) of M.R.T.U. & P.U.L.P. Act (hereinafter called as "the said Act") empowers to grant any interim relief in the nature it has been granted in favour of the respondent.
2.The Industrial Court by the impugned order has passed the following order:
"(I) The Interim Orders dated 6.8.99 in Complaint (ULP) No.1714/98, dated 15.11.99 in Complaint (ULP) No. 727/99 are kept in abeyance for a period of 1 year from the date of starting of the manufacturing activities on the part of the Respondent.
(II) The Respondent is directed to pay the first instalment of Rs.5000/- to his every employee on the date of his restarting the manufacturing activities.
(III) The Respondent is further directed to submit before this Court the progress made by him in re-starting of the manufacturing activities on the expiry of each month in a trial period of 1 year.
(IV) The Respondent is allowed to restart its manufacturing activities initially employing 30 workers, as listed in the Annexure to the Application under consideration. The Respondent further directed to make its efforts to employ rest of the employees during the trial period of 12 months.
(V) The Complainant Union, its Office-bearers and its member-employees are hereby restrained from causing any obstruction and prevention in any manner to the Respondents, its staff members, customers and visitors from coming and going out of the factory premises as well as carrying out its activities. They are further restrained from preventing or obstructing entry or removal of the goods, materials or raw materials in any manner to and from the factory, till further orders.
(VI) No order as to cost."
3.Perusal of the impugned order discloses that merely because the Industrial Court has been of the view that in event of the closure of the undertaking the workers were bound to loose an employment with the respondent-company that it has held that there was every bonafide intention on the part of the respondent to restart manufacturing activity and on that ground above directions have been issued. Bare reading of the above order would disclose that the execution of the order which has been kept in abeyance relates to the order directing payment of wages passed by the same court in the course of pendency of two of the complaints. It is pertinent to note that while issuing the said direction for keeping the said order in abeyance, the Industrial Court has not referred to any of the materials on record which can warrant suspension of the execution of the said orders, inspite of knowing well that those orders related to the payment of wages to the labourers.
4.The entire order has been passed on the basis of the observation made in paragraph-7 of the impugned order. The contents of paragraph-7 merely refer to the bonafide intention on the part of the respondent to restart the manufacturing activities and in the absence thereof, apprehension of closure of undertaking, which may result in loss of employment to the employees. However, in order to arrive at the finding, even prima facie, that there was possibility of closure of undertaking, the Industrial Court has not taken any pain to refer to any material on record, so also in relation to the finding about the possibility of the loss of employment to the employees. The statements in that regard made by the respondent have been accepted as gospel truth by the Industrial Court to justify the direction issued under the interim order.
5.Bare reading of Section 30(2) of the said Act would reveal that in any proceedings before the Industrial Court under the said Act the court may pass such interim order (including any temporary relief or restraining order) as it deems just and proper (including directions to the person to withdraw temporarily the practice complained of, which is an issue of such proceeding), pending the final decision. It cannot be disputed that the Industrial Court during the pendency of the complaint under section 28 of the said Act, is empowered to pass interim order as it may deem just and proper. However, it is well established that the courts which are created under a special statute cannot travel beyond the scope of the power under the statute and the courts created under the statute are required to deal within the jurisdiction bestowed upon them under the Act under which they are established. Bearing in mind, unless the application for interim relief is someway related to the issue which Industrial Court is required to go into the matter, it cannot be said that the Industrial Court will have jurisdiction to deal with all the matters in relation to the employer or employee.
6.Bare reading of the impugned order would disclose that Industrial Court has not even arrived at prima facie finding for necessity to issue any of the directions which have been issued under the impugned order. In what circumstances, the direction to pay the instalment of Rs.5000/- to every employee is necessary and the direction to restart the manufacturing activity is necessary by the Industrial Court to the respondent, or why the method of employment directed under clause-4 is necessary and what are the circumstances which warranted order against the labourers in terms of Clause-5 of the said order, the Industrial Court has nowhere discussed any of these issues and impugned order does not disclose any reasoning to justify any of the directions issued under it. It also does not deal with the issue of necessity of the prima facie case is made out for grant of any said directions.
7.Apparently therefore, the impugned order is contrary to the provisions of section 30(2) of the said Act and is liable to be set aside. The impugned order also seeks to keep the execution of the orders to pay the wages in abeyance. Once the Industrial Court had directed the payment of wages, unless there was any event or occasion which could have justified modification of such order, merely because the respondent has bonafide intention of restarting of the undertaking can by no stretch of imagination be said to be ground for modification of such
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order. Besides, the principle applicable for review of the order is admittedly, not applied to the case in hand while granting suspension of execution of the order of payment of wages. For the reasons stated above, the impugned order cannot be sustained and is liable to be set aside and hereby quashed and set aside. 8.The learned Advocate for the respondent has submitted that on account of subsequent event in the matter the company has already paid the wages in terms of its earlier order. Merely because subsequent to the impugned order, the company has paid the wages in terms of earlier order, that cannot be justification for allowing the impugned order to be in force. Rule is made absolute in the above terms.