Case Study: J. H. Jadhav v. M/s. Forbes Gokak Limited

By Saumya Dhyani 5 Minutes Read

Citation: AIR 2005 SC 998

Date of Judgement: 11th Feb, 2005

Bench: Ruma Pal (J), C. K. Thakker (J)

Facts:

  • Dispute arises out of claim made by appellant regarding promotion as a clerk to respondent which was rejected.
  • Respondent contented that the dispute raised by the appellant was not an “Industrial dispute” within the meaning of Sec 2(k) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, as the workman was neither supported by a substantial number of workmen nor by a majority union and claim was rejected on the basis of merits.
  • Jadhav claimed the contrary and said that he was supported by the Gokak Mills Staff Union, which was supported by General Secretary of the Union before the tribunal as a witness.

Tribunal’s Decision:

Tribunal accepted the appellant’s contentions that his dispute had been espoused by the union and his juniors were promoted as clerks. Moreover, no record was produced to deduce that management had taken into account the appellant’s production records, efficiency, attendance, or behaviour while denying him promotion. This amounted to unfair labour practice and award was passed in favour of the appellant.

High Court’s Decision:

Court held that in present case, dispute does not affect the internet of other workmen and dispute was also not taken by union represented by a substantial number of employees. In addition, no record was shown that appellant was a member of union and dispute was not espoused by the union by passing any resolution.

Issues:

  • Whether any dispute by the workman is to be supported by majority union to come under the definition of “Industrial dispute” in Sec 2(k) of the Act?
  • Is it required to express espousal in form of resolution?

Reasoning:

  • Whether any dispute by the workman is to be supported by majority union to come under the definition of “Industrial dispute” in Sec 2(k) of the Act?

No

Court referred to Workmen of M/s Dharampal Premchand (Saughandhi) v. M/s Dharampal Premchand (Saughandhi)[1], where it was held that phrase “the union” in Sec 2(k) indicates theunion to which the employee belongs even though it may be a union of a minority of the workmen. It would be also open to union to take up the cause of the workmen if it is sufficiently representative of those workmen, despite the fact that such union was not exclusively of the workmen working in the establishment concerned. (Workmen of Indian Express Newspaper (Pvt.) Ltd. Vs. Management of Indian Express Newspaper Private Ltd.[2])

So, it is not required for a dispute to be represented by majority union to come under the definition of “Industrial dispute” in Sec 2(k) of the Act.

  • Is it required to express espousal in form of resolution?

No

Court held that there is no particular form prescribed to affect espousal. Doubtless, the union must normally express itself in the form of a resolution which should be proved if it is in issue. However, proof of support by the union may also be made available from other source which would depend upon the facts of each case.

Judgement:

Court allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the High Court. The award of the Industrial Tribunal was confirmed subject to the modification that the promotion granted by the award will be given effect to notionally for the period as indicated by the award up to the date of the appellant’s dismissal from service. Reliefs in respect of the period subsequent to the order of dismissal shall be subject to the outcome of the pending industrial dispute relating to the termination of the appellant’s services.


[1] 1965 (3) SCR 394.

[2] AIR 1970 SC 737.

Saumya Dhyani

I aim to enhance my research and presentation skills while writing an article and also want to develop a critical approach towards legal issues while working with the legal Wires.

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