At, Supreme Court of India
By, HON'BLE JUSTICE M. M. PUNCHI AND HON'BLE JUSTICE R. M. SAHAI
1. Before a learned Single Judge of the Bombay High Court a substantial question of law arose for consideration in a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution, whether an individual employee or a set of employees can initiate proceedings for cancellation of recognition of the Union under Section 13 of the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred as the 'Act'). The learned Single Judge answered the question in the negative holding that an individual employee or a set of employees cannot initiate proceedings for cancellation of recognition of the Union under Section 13. It held that conceivably only another Union could move under Section 13. Stress in the judgment of the learned Single Judges is on the thought that if individuals were to be allowed to move under Section 13 it could lead perhaps to disquieting results and, to use the words of the learned Single Judge, cause harassment to the recognised Unions at the instance of unscrupulous or disgruntled trade union leaders and individuals defeating the very object sought to be achieved by the Act
2. We are told at the Bar by learned counsel that this judgment is the solitary judgment in the field. We held over the matter for a day for learned counsel to make further research but that has been in vain. To have it appealed against before a Letters Patent Bench of the High Court would have been ideal since the provision sought to be interpreted was local in application and the High Court presumably better equipped to give an interpretation which would satisfy local susceptibilities and aspiration. The desirability of a Letters Patent Appeal even now has been discussed in its correct perspective with learned counsel
3. At this stage learned counsel for the appellants says that should the appellants be not confronted with the pleas of limitation, they would move the High Court in a Letters Patent Appeal. Learned counsel for Respondent 2 very fairly concedes that such a plea of limitation would not be raised and rather both parties would submit before the Letters Patent Bench of the High Court that delay in filing the Letters Patent Appeal be condoned. Respondent 1 is set ex parte since no one has put appearance on its behalf
4. In view of the appropriate and fair stance adopted by parties' counsel we permit this appeal to be withdrawn giving liberty to the appellant to move the Letter Patent Bench of the Bombay High Court within a period of 30 days from today, taking into account that the special leave petition was moved in this Court within time and right from the date of its institution till date the period stands satisfac
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torily accounted. Should the appellant move the High Court in Letters Patent Appeal within the period hereby granted, the bar of limitation shall not be raised and the appeal of the appellant shall be decided on merit. It is so ordered 5. The appeal is disposed of accordingly. No costs.