At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.C. GUPTE
For the Petitioner: Shyam Dewani, Chirag Chanani, Bhoomi Katira i/b. Dewani Associates, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, G.R. Naik i/b. G.R. Naik & Co., R2, Gopal Tripathi, Advocates.
1. Heard learned Counsel for the parties.
2. This writ petition challenges an order passed by the Industrial Court at Thane on an application made to it by the Respondent, who is a union of workmen employed in Respondent No.2 industry, who is a rival to the Petitioner union. The Respondent union's application was for recognition was under Section 14 of MRTU and PULP Act, 1971 ('Act').
3. The Industrial Court, in its impugned order, was satisfied that the membership of the Respondent union, during the whole of the period of six calendar months immediately preceding the calendar month in which the application for recognition was made by it before the court, was larger than the membership of the Petitioner, who was then a recognised union for the industry. The Industrial Court also applied its mind to compliance by Respondent No.1 with conditions necessary for recognition specified under Section 11 of the Act as also with the provisions of Section 12. The court duly applied its mind to satisfaction by Respondent No.1 union with the conditions specified in Section 14 of the Act.
4. It is not in dispute that Respondent No.1 union satisfies the conditions provided in Section 11 for an application for recognition. The union has, for whole period of six calendar months immediately preceding the calendar month of its application, membership of not less than 30% of the total number of employees employed in Respondent No.2 undertaking. The court has expressed its satisfaction that the Respondent’s application for recognition was made bonafide in the interest of employees and not in the interest of the employer or prejudicial to the interest of employees of the industry. There is no case that the Respondent union, at any time within six months immediately preceding the date of its application, had instigated, aided or assisted in commencement or continuation of any strike deemed to be illegal under the Act. So far as the number of members of the Respondent union is concerned, the court has gone through documentary as well as oral evidence on record. The court had initially appointed an Investigating Officer for verifying the record and submitting a report. The report submitted by the Investigating Officer has been assessed by the court. The court has noticed that the Investigating Officer had granted opportunity to all parties and verified relevant documents produced by them; he had verified the membership registers for the year 2008 and compared copies of documents with originals; he had verified the list of members, counter foils of receipts from receipt books, minutes books, cash-books and bank pass books with counter foils, auditor’s reports, registration certificates and constitutions of both unions; after verification, the officer had noted that out of 76 employees mentioned in the undertaking, 13 were common members of both unions. On comparison, he found the Respondent to be having 31 valid members as against 30 of the non-applicant union during the relevant period.
5. No interference is called for with the impugned order of the court below. The court has considered all relevant aspects of the controversy and applied its mind to the material placed before it. The conclusion of the court below is supported by some evidence. It has taken into account all relevant and germane materials and has not considered any irrelevant and non-germane material or circumstance for arriving at its conclusion. The order, accordingly, does not merit any interference in the writ jurisdiction of this court. Its view is indeed a possible and reasonable view of the material placed before it.
6. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner relies on the judgment of a learned Single Judge of this court in the case of Swarajya Kamgar Sanghtana vs. Rashtravadi Maharashtra General Kamgar Union (2018(2)ABR 385). Relying on this case and referring to the cross-examination of the secretary of the Respondent union, who deposed on its behalf, it is submitted that none of the office bearers of the Respondent union was employed in Respondent No.2 undertaking, and that the application for recognition accordingly ought not to have been allowed by the Industrial Court. The judgment of Swarajya Kamgar Sanghtana was delivered in a case involving an application for cancellation of recognition under Section 13. The application for cancellation was made by a union, whose locus was questioned by the court. In that connection, the court made its observation concerning employment of office bearers of the Applicant union with the concerned undertaking. These observations have no place so far as application under Section 14 is concerned. As observed above, the Applicant union (Respondent No.1 herein) satisfies with all requirements of Section 14 and there was no reason why its application for recognition in substitution of the Petitioner union should have been rejected by the Industrial Court. It is by no means a requirement of Section 14 that the office bearers of the union applying under it for recognition must be from the particular industry for which s
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uch recognition is sought. 7. The writ petition, accordingly, has no merit and is dismissed. 8. Learned Counsel for Respondent No.2 undertaking informs the court that the employer has applied under Sub-section (3) of Section 10 read with Section 13 of the Act for cancellation of the union’s recognition on the ground that the provisions of Chapter III of the Act have ceased to apply to the industry. That application shall be considered by the Industrial Court at Thane on its own merits and without being in any way influenced by the present order.