Industrial Disputes Act

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Industrial Disputes Act

Author: Nataraj M R 



Industrial law in our country is not of recent origin. Even in ancient India eminent jurists like Manu, Yagnavalkya, Kautilya and Narada had enunciated principles relating to industrial matters. They laid down rules regulating the relations between master and servant in the matter of wages, breach of contract, leave, holidays, efficiency bonus and punishment of employees.[1]

The main purpose of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is to ensure fair terms between employers and employees, workmen and workmen as well as workmen and employers. It helps not only in preventing disputes between employers and employees but also help in finding the measures to settle such disputes so that the production of the organization is not hampered. In this unit, we are going to discuss the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and its importance. This unit encompasses the different authorities and their duties in the settlement of disputes. It also discuss about the reference of disputes.
The Industrial Disputes Act deals with industrial disputes, provides for conciliation, adjudication and settlements, and regulates the rights of the parties and the enforcement of the awards and settlements. Thus, by empowering the adjudicator authorities under the Act, to give reliefs such as a reinstatement of wrongfully dismissed or discharged workmen, which may not be permissible in common law or justified under the terms of the contract between the employer and such workmen, the legislature has attempted to frustrate the unfair labour practices and secure the policy of collective bargaining as a road to industrial peace.[2]
 “The Industrial Disputes Act is a benign measure, which seeks to pre-empt industrial tensions, provide for the mechanics of dispute resolutions and set up the necessary infrastructure, so that the energies of the partners in production may not be dissipated in counter-productive battles and the assurance of industrial justice may create a climate of goodwill.” [3]
The concept of social justice has now become an integral part of industrial law. Its sweep is comprehensive. It is founded on the basic idea of socio-economic equality and its aim is to assist the removal of socio- economic disparities and inequalities. The application of this concept in industrial matters, however, presents the problem of where to draw the line. Industrial adjudication is not confined to administration of justice in accordance with law only. It goes much beyond it. It confers rights and privileges which it considers reasonable and proper, though they may not be within the terms of any existing law or contract.[4]
Both labour unions and the employers should realize that law cannot be what they want it to be, for, it has limitations on the extent to which it can give legal relief. Attitudinal changes are far more crucial that legal or institutional changes to promote flexibility and to adequately reflect the changing socio-economic cultural conditions of the constituency it seeks to cater to.  The degree of maturity in industrial relations and the intensity of legalism and legal sanctions are inversely related. Legal obligations become least significant when industrial relations are harmonious and productive…., It is well to remember that the rights and obligations between the employer and the employee are mutual and reciprocal. Then obligations are not all on one side and the rights and the other…. Therefore both the players in the game, need to develop a shared perspective and learn to make common cause, collaborate and bring about the changes from within and without[5]
To add to the utility of the book several important case laws on various important issues have been given in the “case law” section that contains latest cases up to December 2016.
It is earnestly expected that the Bench, Bar, employers, employees, academicians and every other management professionals would find this book very helpful.
Nataraj M R 


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