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The Industrial disputes act, 1947 authorities and their functions

The Industrial disputes Act 1947, was enacted in the post-independence era with a view to regulate the relationships of the employer and employee and to maintain peace and harmonious relations between the two. Earlier the growth was very slow but in recent years it has taken grown due to growing cases in the supreme court. The growth of the country in the sense of economic development is dependant upon the industries and the industries could only run smoothly when there is a harmonious relationship between the two pillars.

Objectives of the Industrial disputes act 1947

The Industrial dispute act of 1947 was enacted with the following objectives:-
a) To promote industrial peace
b) To do economic justice to the workmen

The objective according to the preamble of the Industrial disputes act 1947 are:
a) To make provisions for investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.
b) The objective of all the labor legislation is to ensure fair wages and to prevent industrial disputes.

Scope and Extent of the Industrial Disputes act 1947

The Industrial disputes act of 1947 extends to the whole of India. it came into enforcement on 1st April 1947.

Principal objects as stated by the supreme court in the case of Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate vs Management of Dimakuchi Tea Estate AIR 1958 SC
1) the act aims to promote the measures which are helpful in securing good and amity relations between the employer and the employee.
2) An investigation and settlement of disputes between an employer and the employee, employer and workmen, workmen and workmen and giving them the right of representation in the trade unions.
3) the legislation also tries to do away with illegal strikes and lockouts.
4) it also helps to provide the relief to the workmen in the matter of lay off, retrenchment, closure of undertaking, etc.
5) it helps to do Collective Bargaining.
The Industrial disputes act is social legislation which tries to maintain a balance between the interest of the important pillars of the industrial establishment.

What do you understand by the term Employer?

The term employer has been defined under the industrial dispute act of 1947 under section 2(g) the employer according to the definition is the person authorized to do the work in the capacity as an employer under the leadership of either the Central Government or the state government or the local authority.

What do you understand by the term Industry?

The term Industry is defined under section 2(j) of the act as any business, trade or undertaking manufacture or calling and includes any calling, service, employment, handicraft or industrial occupation or avocation of workmen.

an industry exists only where there is a relationship between the employer and the employee and where the former is engaged in business trade or undertaking and the later is engaged in any calling service employment or handicraft.

The triple test was laid down in the case of Banglore water supply vs A.Rajappa AIR 1978 SC, where it was laid down that there should be a systematic activity, organized by the cooperation between the employer and the employee, for the production of goods and services.

What do you mean by the term workmen?

The term workmen have been defined under section 2(s) of the act which states that workmen mean a person who is employed in any industry to carry put skilled, unskilled, manual, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work.

Authorities under the act:-

There are various authorities under the act such as the works committee, conciliation officer, conciliation board, courts of inquiry, labour court, tribunal, national tribunal.

Works Committee:

This has been defined under section 3 of the act which says that each industrial establishment should have a works committee and the works committee will have equal representations from both the employer and the employee. it is to try to settle the dispute in the first instance through the process of mediation in the initial stage of the dispute. The works committee also time to time comments upon the matters in dispute.

Conciliation officer:

Section 4 of the Industrial disputes act 1947 talks about the provisions of the conciliation officer. it states that the appropriate government i.e. the central government, state government or the local authority will appoint such number of persons to be the conciliation officer as it thinks fit.

it is the duty of the conciliation officer to mediate and promote the settlement of industrial dispute. The conciliation officer can be appointed either permanently or for some point of time.

Board of Conciliation:

The board of conciliation are constituted under section 5 by the appropriate government.

The board of conciliation s constituted in order to promote the settlement of industrial dispute.

The board appointed consists of the chairman and two or four other members. under the board the chairman is the independent person and the other persons appointed in equal numbers which represents the parties in disputes and the person who represents the party shall be appointed by the party . the party needs to appoint such representatives within the time prescribed and if the party fails to appoint the representatives within the time then the appropriate government can appoint the person to be the representative of the party.

A board needs to work according to the quorum prescribed but if the chairman or the other member as the case may be ceased to be available the board shall not act until a new chairman or member as the case may be has been appointed.

Courts of Inquiry:

the section 6 of the act further talks about the constitution of the court of inquiry in order to conduct inquiry upon the matter in dispute.the court of inquiry to be run by the independent person or persons as the appropriate government thinks fit. where the court consists of two or more persons then any one of them shall be appointed to be chairman.

Labour Court:

section 7 of the act talks about the constitution of the labor court by the appropriate government. it can create one or more labor court as it thinks fit for the adjudication of industrial dispute as specified under schedule II. it consists of one person to be appointed by the appropriate government. the qualifications of the presiding officer of the court shall be as follows:-
a) if he is or has been a judge of the high court
b) he has for a period of not less than 3 years being a district judge or an additional district judge
c) has held judicial office for not less than 7 years
d) he has been the presiding officer of a Labor Court constituted under any Provincial Act or State Act for not less than five years.
e) he is or has been a Deputy Chief Labor Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labor Department, having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labor department including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer.
f) he is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade I with years' experience in the grade.

Tribunal:

section 7A deals with the provision of constitution of the one or more tribunal for the adjudication of dispute relating to the aspects as mentioned in schedule second or third. tribunal to consist of one person who shall be appointed by appropriate government.

The qualifications of the presiding officer of the tribunal are as follows:-
a) he is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court;

b) he has, for a period of not less than three years, been a District Judge or an Additional District Judge;

c) he is or has been a Deputy Chief Labor Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labor Department,, having a degree in law and at least seven years' experience in the labor department including three years of experience as Conciliation Officer:

d) he is an officer of Indian Legal Service in Grade III with three years' experience in the grade.
the appropriate government to appoint two persons as assessors to advise the tribunal.

National Tribunal:

section 7B deals with the national tribunal which is appointed by the central government constitute one or more national tribunal for the adjudication of industrial disputes which in the opinion of the central government involves questions of national importance or are of such a nature that industrial establishments situated in more than one state are likely to be interested in or affected by such disputes. the national tribunal shall be consisted of one person only to be appointed by the central government. in order to be appointed as the presiding officer of a national tribunal he should be or has been a judge of a high court. the central government can also appoint two persons as assessors to advise the national tribunal in the proceeding before it.

Disqualifications for appointment of the presiding officer of labor court, tribunal and national tribunal:
section 9 c of the act talks about the provision relating to the disqualification of the presiding officer which states that if the person is not an independent person or if he has attained the age of 65 years then he cannot be appointed as the presiding officer of the labor court or tribunal or national tribunal by the central government.    

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