The article is written by Tushar Singh Samota, from the University Five Year Law College, Rajasthan University. It gives a detailed description of the machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes under the Industrial Disputes Act, of 1947, along with the relevant case laws. 

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


Working 40 hours per week used to imply a subsistence level of living and a rung on the economic ladder to the middle class.                                                                       – Jackie Speier 

Download Now

Regardless of a country’s level of economic development, regulations controlling dispute settlement are an integral component of any labour law system. This is because complaints and disputes are unavoidable in every working relationship, and the goal of the policy is to provide procedures for successfully and speedily resolving these issues. Voluntary processes like arbitration, conciliation, and mediation have recently been fundamental to conflict resolution policy. This is because they lack the adversarial aspect that traditional legal processes entail, and hence have proved effective in sustaining relationships throughout the dispute settlement process.

As a result, the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 (“the Act”) establishes a process for resolving industrial disputes as the industrial sector is exposed to a variety of pressures and strains. Thus, one of the primary goals of the Act is to balance the competing interests of employers and employees. It also includes tools for conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication to encourage actions that foster mutually beneficial relationships between employers and employees. In this article, the author has tried to discuss the mechanism for resolving industrial disputes by addressing several methods of resolving disputes. The article will additionally address the numerous committees and their duties in each method of conflict resolution.

Industrial disputes 

Industrialisation in a country has always impacted employment, national income, per capita income, exports, and economic progress of a nation on the one side as well as industrial disputes on the other. Industrial disputes are caused by a conflict of interest between employer and employee. As a result, the individuals who control the factors of production and those who create products have distinct or competing interests, giving rise to industrial disputes.

The Industrial Dispute Act, of 1947 defines the term industrial disputes under its Section 2(gg)(k) as “Industrial Disputes mean any dispute or difference between employers and employers or between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non – employment or terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person”.

As a result, industrial disputes can be classified into two types: individual disputes and collective disputes. Individual disputes relate to reinstatement, compensation for wrongful termination, and so on. Whereas, Collective dispute relates to conditions of pay, bonus, profit sharing, working hours etc.

The results of industrial disputes 

Industrial disputes are a part of all industrialised economies, whether they are capitalist, socialist, or mixed economies. Industry and labour disputes are inextricably linked; in fact, they are two sides of the same coin. Hence, the following are the outcomes of an industrial dispute:

  1. Strike

A strike occurs when workers in an industry collectively refuse to work. It is defined as a planned absence from work by a group of workers in protest, usually to get some sort of concession from their employer. For labour unions, the most potent tool for pressuring management to adopt their demands is a strike.

  1. Boycott

Employees may elect to boycott the firm by refusing to use its products. A similar appeal might be made to the broader population with regard to boycotts.

  1. Picketing

Picketing occurs when workers are discouraged from working by stationing particular personnel at factory gates. Picketing is lawful if there is no violence involved.

  1. Lockout

It is a circumstance in which an employer refuses to allow employees inside their workplace, particularly the manufacturing unit, until they agree to specific criteria. It is the inverse of a strike and is an extremely strong tool in the hands of an employer to compel people to return to work. According to the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, a lockout is defined under Section 2(l) as the shutting of a workplace or the suspension of work, or the refusal of an employer to continue to employ any number of people.

  1. Termination of Service of Striking Employees

A company may also terminate the services of those workers who are on strike by blacklisting them. Their lists are also distributed to other employers to limit or diminish their prospects of being hired by other employers.

Machinery for settlement of industrial disputes 

The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 establishes a complex and effective mechanism for the peaceful and amicable resolution of industrial disputes. They are as follows:

  • Conciliation 
  • Arbitration 
  • Adjudication 

Conciliation method

Conciliation is a form of conversation or negotiation in which disputing parties voluntarily find an agreeable conclusion acceptable to both sides. The parties’ conversations and negotiations may be begun by the parties themselves or by the efforts of a third party impartial to the issue. This third impartial person works as a conciliator, mediating and promoting the resolution of the issue.

Conciliation is distinguished by the fact that the parties to the disagreement reach an agreement willingly, without any force or compulsion from the conciliator or anybody else. Conciliation is useful as a technique for resolving industrial disputes since it preserves amity and good ties between the employer and the workers because it is an out-of-court settlement of the problem.

Reconciliation authorities

The authorities for conciliation under the Industrial Disputes Act are listed below.

  1. Works Committees (Section 3)
  2. Conciliation officers (Section 4)
  3. Board of conciliation (Section 5)

Works committee

The Works Committee was the first group to negotiate and resolve industrial disputes through conciliation. According to Section 3(1), the Works Committee is formed by the employer who employs or has employed one hundred or more workers on any day in the previous twelve months. Workmen’s representatives are chosen from among the workers in cooperation with their Trade Union if one exists. As a result, there are equal numbers of members from the employer and the workforce on the Works Committee.

According to Rule 39 of the Industrial Disputes (Central) Regulations Rules, 1957, the number of members composing the works committee is fixed to afford representation to the different types, groups, and classes of workers employed in and to the sections, shops, or departments of the establishment. But the overall number, however, does not reach twenty. The officials in direct contact with or related to the operation of the business are the representatives of the employer who are nominated by the employer as far as practicable. The workmen’s representatives on the Works Committee are to be chosen from one of two categories, according to Industrial Disputes (Central) Regulations Rules, 1957, Rule 42. These categories are as follows:

  1. Category one will include the employees of the firm who are members of a recognised Trade Union.
  2. The other category consists of establishment workers who are not members of a registered trade union.

It was decided by the Punjab Haryana High Court in the case of Bharat Petroleum Company Ltd. vs. Bharat Pal (2015) that it is obvious that the Act’s goal is to promote peace in the workplace and excellent working relationships between employees and their employees. The formation of the Works Committee, whose job it is to advocate measures for insuring and sustaining amity and good relations between employers and employees, is contemplated by Section 3 of the Act with this goal in mind. Conciliation officers and conciliation boards help the parties resolve their issues if the Works Committee cannot resolve disputes between the employer and his employees.

After conducting the necessary inquiries, the appropriate Government or any officer of the authority appointed under Section 39 of the Act may dissolve any Works Committee at any time by order in writing, provided the officer is satisfied that the committee was not formed in accordance with the rules or that not less than two-thirds of the number of representatives of workmen has failed to attend three consecutive meetings without reasonable justification.

Duties of the Works Committee

The work committee’s responsibilities or duties are as follows:

  1. The Works Committee’s duty is fairly straightforward, and its primary function is to ensure that industrial peace is maintained and that minor issues do not escalate into major industrial disputes.
  2. The Works Committee must support efforts to secure and maintain amity and good relations between the employer and his employees in matters of mutual interest.
  3. They are also expected to remark on such topics while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of achieving industrial peace and calmly resolving any conflict between employers and employees. If the Works Committee fails to perform its obligations, it may seek help from the other authorities provided under the I.D. Act.

Conciliation officer

Conciliation is an attempt by a third party to help competing opponents find a resolution to a dispute by employing various types of mediation, recommendations, or guidance. This is especially true when the competitive foes are an employer and an employee. Conciliation is derived from the term “to reconcile,” which implies resolving or settling by bringing together. It is the process of seeking official mediation and attempting to resolve a conflict.

The Act establishes a conciliation officer to mediate and encourage the resolution of workplace disputes through conciliation. Section 2(d) of the Act defines a conciliation officer as “a conciliation officer appointed under Section 4(1) of the Act.”

Section 4 of the Act states that the appropriate government may appoint a such number of people as it sees right to be conciliation officers, tasked with the responsibility of mediating in and encouraging the resolution of industrial disputes by the notification in the Official Gazette. The officer so appointed acts as a friend, philosopher, mentor, and advisor for both parties, assisting them in reaching an agreeable conclusion by resolving their disputes. The conciliation officer may be appointed for certain industries in a specific area or for one or more specific industries, either permanently or temporarily.

According to Section 11(6) of the Act, a conciliation officer is considered a public servant under the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Duties of conciliation officers (Section 12)
  1. The conciliation officer must conduct the conciliation processes in the manner stipulated in every industrial dispute, whether it is ongoing or anticipated.
  2. The conciliation officer will investigate the issue and take all necessary action to encourage a swift and equitable resolution of the conflict between the parties.
  3. The conciliation officer must provide a report on the settlement of the dispute to the relevant authorities, together with a memorandum of the settlement signed by the parties to the dispute.
  4. If no such resolution is reached, the conciliation officer should provide a comprehensive report to the appropriate government as soon as possible after the conclusion of the enquiry. This report should outline the steps he took to ascertain the facts and circumstances of the dispute and bring it to a conclusion, along with a detailed statement of such facts and circumstances. Along with it, the officer should also cite the reasons as to why, in his opinion, a settlement could not be reached.
  5. If the appropriate government determines after considering the failure report mentioned above that there is a need to send the matter to a Board, Labor Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal, it does so. When the appropriate government declines to make such a referral, it must document and notify the parties involved of its decision.
  6. A report under Section 12 shall be submitted within 14 days of the start of the conciliation proceedings, or within any shorter time frame that the appropriate government may specify. Whereas Section 12(6) provides that all parties to the dispute may agree in writing on the time for submitting the report.

The duties assigned to the conciliation officer were also discussed in the case of the Workers of Buckingham and Carnatic vs. Commissioner of Labour and Ors. (1963), it was held by the Madras High Court in this case that Conciliation is essentially a negotiation between the parties. A conciliator’s role is to bring together employers and employees to address the issues at hand and to find a solution that is acceptable to all the parties to the dispute. The conciliation officer is an independent institution established by the Industrial Disputes Act to foster industrial peace by making Governmental facilities accessible during the collective bargaining process. His presence and involvement in discussions frequently facilitate objectivity of approach in the matter of the bargain between management and labour.

The Board of conciliation

Under Section 5 of the Act, the appropriate Government establishes the Board of Conciliation by the notification in the official Gazette to facilitate the resolution of an industrial dispute whenever the opportunity or occasion arises. The Board is made up of a Chairman and two or four additional members chosen by the appropriate government. The Chairman is an independent person, while the other members are individuals nominated in equal numbers to represent the disputing parties. Each individual nominated to represent a party is appointed at the party’s recommendation.

However, if any party fails to submit the aforementioned recommendation within a reasonable period, the appropriate Government chooses such people as it deems proper to represent that party. The Board, if it has the required quorum, may act despite the absence of the Chairman or any of its members, or any vacancy in its membership.

However, if the appropriate government tells the Board that the Chairman’s or other members’ services are no longer available, the Board does not act until a new Chairman or member, as the case may be, is appointed. The Board’s functions are comparable to those of the conciliation officer, but members of the Board operate in a judicial capacity and have more authority than a conciliation officer.

Filling of vacancies 

According to Section 8, if a vacancy (other than a temporary absence) occurs in the office of the Chairman or any other members of the Board of Conciliation, the appropriate Government shall select another person to fill the vacancy in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Section 8 provides that the procedure may be resumed before the Board from the point at which the vacancy is filled.

Finality of orders constituting the Board

Section 9(1) states that no order of the appropriate Government or the Central Government designating someone as the Chairman or any other member of a Board of Conciliation will be brought into a dispute in any way. It also states that no act or procedure before the Board shall be brought into question in any way only because of the presence of a vacancy or flaw in the constitution of such Board or Court.

Duties of the Board of conciliation (Section 13):
  1. When a dispute has been referred to a Board under Section 13(1) of the Act, it is the Board’s responsibility to attempt to resolve it. To this end, the Board shall, in the manner it deems appropriate and without delay, investigate the dispute and all matters affecting it thereof. The Board may also take any other actions it deems appropriate with the aim of persuading the parties to reach an amicable and fair settlement.
  2. The Board should transmit a report of the proceedings to the appropriate Government together with a memorandum of the settlement signed by the parties to the dispute if a settlement of the disagreement or any of the issues in dispute is reached during the conciliation processes as provided under Section 13(2) of the Act.
  3. If no such settlement is reached, then under Section 13(3) of the Act the Board shall send a full report on the steps it took to ascertain the facts and circumstances surrounding the dispute and to bring about a settlement thereto to the appropriate Government as soon as practically possible after the conclusion of the investigation. The report must also provide a thorough explanation of the relevant facts and circumstances, as well as the reasons, on account of which, in its opinion, a settlement could not be reached.
  4. The Board must provide its findings within two months of the day it was tasked with handling the dispute, or within any shorter time frame that the appropriate government may specify as provided under Section 13(5) of the Act. As a result, the board of conciliation assumes control when conciliation fails and their duties are also identical to each other. The establishment of boards of conciliation is done to resolve industrial disputes.

Arbitration method

Arbitration is a procedure in which the parties to a disagreement agree to send the matter voluntarily to a third impartial person known as an Arbitrator for resolution. After hearing both parties to the disagreement, the Arbitrator issues a binding award determining the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the dispute. Arbitration is an out-of-court technique of resolving disputes and is a low-cost and quick method of resolving disputes. It is used to resolve industrial disputes under Section 10A of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.

Under Section 10A(1) of the Act, the parties to an industrial dispute may voluntarily submit an industrial dispute to an Arbitrator by a written agreement.

Arbitration Authorities

The authorities for arbitration under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 are as follows:

  • Arbitrator
  • The umpire


The Arbitrator is the person named as such in the arbitration agreement between the employer and the workers under Section 10A of the Act. The presiding officer of the Labour Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal may be nominated as an Arbitrator under this Act. The term “arbitrator” includes an “umpire,” according to Section 2(aa) of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.

The umpire

According to Subsection 10(1-A) of Section 10A, if an arbitration agreement allows for the referral of industrial disputes to an even number of arbitrators, the agreement must also provide for the appointment of another person as an umpire. If the arbitrators are evenly divided in their opinions then this umpire has the authority to hear industrial disputes.

Section 10A(1), states that the award made by the umpire in an industrial dispute is assumed to constitute the arbitration award for the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.

Adjudication method

The adjudication of an industrial dispute is a mandatory procedure for resolving the issue. After hearing both parties and examining the merits of the disagreement and information on record, the adjudicatory authority assesses the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the dispute and makes its award. If the aggrieved party who is dissatisfied with the verdict does not appeal to the appellate authority, the adjudicatory authority’s award is final and binding on the parties.

According to Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, when a disagreement or dispute is reported to adjudicatory authority by the appropriate Government, it can be resolved by adjudication. Even if the parties to the dispute have not requested a referral to the adjudicatory authority from the relevant Government, the appropriate Government can do so at its discretion.  Under Section 10(1) of the Act, the appropriate Government has the jurisdiction to submit industrial disputes to the adjudicatory body at its discretion if the appropriate Government believes that an industrial dispute exists or is suspected. The appropriate government may send a labour dispute to an adjudicatory authority without first referring it to a conciliatory authority.

Adjudication authorities

The authorities for adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 are as follows:

  • Labour Court
  • Industrial Tribunal
  • National Tribunal

Labour courts 

The appropriate Government has been empowered to form the ‘Labor Court‘ by the notification in the Official Gazette under Section 7 of the Act. A Labor Court is one of the adjudication agencies established by the I.D.Act. It consists of only one person who is to be selected by the appropriate government to function as the presiding officer if he meets the requirements outlined in the Act. This officer will be the sole member of the Labour Court. 

The appropriate government may establish one or more Labour Courts as per the need and circumstances of the case. This Court was established to hear industrial disputes involving any of the matters listed in the Second Schedule of the Act. This Court can also conduct any additional tasks delegated to it by the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. A person chosen as the Presiding Officer of the Labour Court under Section 7(3) must have the following qualifications:

  1. He is or has been a High Court Judge; or
  2. He has served as a District Judge or an Additional District Judge for at least three years; or
  3. Omitted: or
  4. He has served in a judicial capacity in India for at least seven years, or
  5. He has served as the Presiding Officer of a Labour Court established under any Provincial Act or State Act for at least five years; or
  6. He is or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department, with a law degree and at least seven years of labour department experience, including three years as a Conciliation Officer. 

Provided, however, that no such Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner or Joint Labour Commissioner may be appointed unless he resigns from the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be before being appointed as the presiding officer.

  1. He is an Indian Legal Service officer in Grade III with three years of experience.

Section 11(6) of the Act declares the presiding officer and members of the Labour Court to be public officials within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code,1860. Whereas Section 11(8) of the Act provides that every Labour Court is presumed to be a Civil Court for Sections 345, 346, and 348 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Jurisdiction of Labour Courts

The Labor Courts have the authority to decide on industrial disputes about any topic stated in the Second Schedule of the Act, as well as conduct any additional responsibilities given to them. The following are the topics under the jurisdiction of the Labor Court, according to the Second Schedule of the Act:

  • The validity or legality of an order issued by an Employer following the standing orders;
  • The application and interpretation of standing orders;
  • Worker discharge or dismissal, including reinstatement or remedy for workers, unfairly dismissed;
  • The revocation of any customary concession or privilege;
  • The legality or illegality of a strike or lockout; and
  • Any items not specifically included in the Third Schedule.

The Labor Court’s jurisdiction under the I.D. Act may only be invoked in the way specified in the Act; parties cannot approach the Labor Court directly. However, due to some recent amendments in some states, a worker can now go directly to the Labor Court to challenge their dismissal or discharge. 

Industrial tribunal

The appropriate government may, by publication in the Official Gazette, establish one or more tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes concerning any topic stated in the Second or Third schedules. A Tribunal should be composed of only one person,  the presiding officer, who is chosen by the appropriate Government under Section 7A(2) of the Act. A person selected as the presiding officer of a Tribunal must meet the following qualifications: 

  1. He is or has been a Supreme Court Judge, or
  2. He has served as a District Judge or an Additional District Judge for at least three years.
  3. He is or has been a Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or Joint Commissioner of the State Labour Department, with a law degree and at least seven years of labour department experience, including three years as a Conciliation Officer. 

Provided, however, that no such Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner or Joint Labour Commissioner may be appointed unless he resigns from the Central Government or the State Government,  as the case may be before being appointed as the presiding officer, or

  1. He is an Indian Law Service officer in Grade III with three years of experience.”

Under Section 7A(4) of the Act two individual assessors may be appointed by the appropriate Government to advise the Tribunal in its proceedings if it deems necessary. The appropriate government may also establish one or more Industrial Tribunals by publication in the Official Gazette. These tribunals are established to resolve industrial disputes stated in the Second or Third Schedules of the Act. The Tribunals also carry out any additional duties that may be entrusted to them under the Act. It will also perform judicial responsibilities even though it is not a court.

Industrial tribunals’ jurisdiction 

Industrial tribunals have more authority than Labor Courts. It has authority over any item included in the second or third schedules under the Act. The second schedule specifies the following items:

  • The appropriateness or validity of an order issued by an employer following standing orders;
  • The use and interpretation of standing orders
  • Worker discharge or dismissal, including reinstatement or remedy for illegally discharged workers;
  • The cessation of any customary concession or privilege;
  • The legality or illegality of a strike or lockout;

Whereas, The third schedule specifies the following items:

  • Wages, including payment period and mode;
  • Compensatory and other allowances;
  • Working hours and rest intervals;
  • Paid leave and vacations;
  • Bonuses, profit-sharing plans, provident funds, and gratuities;
  • Working a shift that is not in conformity with standing orders;
  • Grade-level classification;
  • Discipline rules and Rationalization;
  • Worker retrenchment and establishment closure; and
  • Any other thing that may be specified.

National tribunal

The Central Government may, by the notification in the Official Gazette, establish one or more National Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes under Section 7B of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The National Tribunal was created to handle industrial disputes that in the eyes of the Central Government, involved issues of national significance or were of a character that would likely interest or influence industrial establishments located in many States.

The National Tribunal is made up of only one person, the Presiding Officer, who is nominated by the Central Government. A National Tribunal’s responsibilities are the same as those of a Labor Court or an Industrial Tribunal. A person is not competent to serve as the presiding officer of a National Tribunal unless he is or has previously served as a judge of a High Court. If the Central Government deems it necessary, it may appoint two assessors to advise the National Tribunal in the action before it under Section 7 (B)(4) of the Act.

Disqualification of presiding officers of Labour Courts, tribunals, and the National Tribunal

Section 7C states that no individual may be nominated to or stay in the position of Presiding Officer of a Labour Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal if-

  1. He is not self-sufficient, or
  2. He has reached the age of 65 years.
Independent person 

According to Section 2(1) of the Act, a person is considered “independent” for the purpose of appointment as the Chairman or other member of a Board, Court, or Tribunal if he is unconnected with the industrial disputes referred to such Board, Court, or Tribunal or with any industry directly affected by such dispute:

Provided, however, that no individual shall lose his independence only because he is a shareholder of an incorporated firm involved in, or expected to be impacted by, such industrial conflicts; Nonetheless, in such a circumstance, he must report to the appropriate government the nature and amount of his holdings in such Business.

Filling of vacancies

Under Section 8 of the Act if a vacancy (other than a temporary absence) occurs in the office of the presiding officer or any member of a Labour Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal, the Central Government, and in all other cases, the appropriate Government, shall appoint someone to fill the vacancy by the provisions of the Act. Depending on the stage at which the vacancy is filled, the case may be heard by the Labour Court, Tribunal, or National Tribunal.

Duties of national tribunals, labour courts, and tribunals

When a labour court, tribunal, or national tribunal has been asked to decide an industrial issue, It must conduct its proceedings quickly and submit its award to the appropriate government within the time frame outlined in the order referring to the industrial dispute or the additional time allowed under the second proviso of Section 10(2A) of the Act.

Court of inquiry

According to Section 6 of the Industrial Dispute Act, the appropriate Government may establish a Court of Inquiry as needed to investigate any subject that could appear to be linked to or pertinent to an industrial dispute. The concept of a Court of Inquiry was inspired by the British Industrial Court Act of 1919. 

The Government may refer any single or more things associated with or relevant to the dispute to the Court, which may be established regardless of the approval of the parties to the dispute. Section 6(2) states that a court may consist of one independent person or as many independent people as the appropriate government deems acceptable, and if a court has two or more members, one of them shall be designated as the chairman.

Whereas Section 6(3) states that if a Court of Inquiry has the required quorum, it may function despite the absence of the chairman or any of its members or any vacancy in its membership. However, if the appropriate Government notifies the Court that the chairman’s services are no longer available, the Court cannot function until a new chairman is appointed.

Duties of the court of inquiry

Section 14 of the I.D.The Act outlines the duties of the Court of Inquiry. It states that the Court of Inquiry shall inquire into the matter brought to it and report thereon to the appropriate government within six months of the start of its investigation. Thus, the Court of Inquiry will investigate matters only if they are referred to it.

Important case laws

The Bombay Union of Journalists vs. The Hindu and another (1961)

The Supreme Court observed that for a disagreement to be claimed under industrial dispute, it must be existent or imminent on the date referred to. As a result of these findings, the Court concluded that if the employees’ demands were not brought before the management under which they work, and comparable claims were made throughout the proceedings, the issue will be treated as an industrial dispute and will proceed with resolution processes. The Court reached a similar conclusion in the case of Shambhu Nath Goel vs. Bank of Baroda (1983) also.

Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd., vs. R.G. Patwardhan (1956)

In the case of Central Provinces Transport Services Ltd. vs. R.G. Patwardhan, the respondent took some of the items from the appellant’s firm. Afterwards, the company performed a domestic investigation in which the responder was found guilty. Following that he was fired because of his wrongdoing and severe negligence. Later, the respondent petitioned the Industrial court for reinstatement, but the appellant objected to the case’s maintainability claiming it to be an individual dispute rather than an industrial dispute. Thus the Industrial court ruled in favour of the respondent, who claimed the issue to be an industrial one. 

The Labour Appellate Tribunal also affirmed this view in its decision on the appellant’s appeal. The appellant petitioned the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the Labour Appellate Tribunal’s decision. The Supreme Court ruled that if a disagreement emerges between an employer and a worker, it cannot be called an industrial dispute until it is taken up by a trade union or a collective group of workers asserting that a legal conflict has occurred. As a result, in this case, the Supreme Court extended its support to the trade union for an individual disagreement to be considered an industrial issue and a settlement to be reached.

National Tobacco Corporation of India Limited vs.Fourth Industrial Tribunal And others (1959)

In the case of National Tobacco Corporation of India Limited vs.Fourth Industrial Tribunal And others, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the powers delegated to the competent Government are discretionary rather than required. As a result, if the Government takes arbitrary acts that are contradictory to the legislation under which it is intended to function and refuses to bring the matter to the tribunals or the labour court, then such arguments will be sufficient to initiate a writ petition against the Government under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. From this case, it can be seen that the Act gives no room for any administrative body to abuse the authorities that have been vested in it, which can directly influence the already existing disagreement and exacerbate it, causing further issues.

United Bleachers (P) Ltd. vs. Industrial Tribunals and Others (1961)

In another instance of United Bleachers (P) Ltd. vs. Industrial tribunals and others, the Madras High Court ruled that if the competent government takes too long to submit a referral, the matter would be dismissed. But that will not be a valid reason to deny the relief that is to be offered to the workers who are involved in the dispute and have already suffered from it. If the remedy is denied on this basis, the situation will be considered an unfair labour practice and hence illegal. 

D.N Ganguly vs. Bata Shoe Co. Ltd, (1961)

In the case of D.N Ganguly v. Bata Shoe Co. Ltd, there was a disagreement between the Bata company and the workers. The disagreement was resolved through conciliation, in which the disputing parties negotiated and arrived at an amicable solution. However, following the settlement, workers went on strike. The company contended that the strike was unlawful and immaterial in light of the respondent’s settlement and after that, the company conducted an investigation and fired the workers who had gone on strike. 

Thus, the issue before the Supreme Court in the present case was whether the settlement reached by the company and the workers followed Sections 12 and Section 18 of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. The apex court found that the settlement reached by the parties was following the requirements of the Sections provided under the Industrial Dispute Act and that the settlement was binding on the parties since they could not refute the conditions reached at the time of settlement. However, the Court went on to rule that the second settlement reached by the parties after the first was non-binding since it violated the terms of the Industrial legislation. 


Thus it can be concluded that the preservation of peaceful and harmonious industrial relations is critical for every economy and this industrial dispute harms not just the industrial sector but also other stakeholders. The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 establishes a legal framework for settling industrial disputes between management and labour.  

The machines for settling industrial disputes are, without a doubt, the primary machines; nevertheless, there may be alternative ways for settling industrial disputes, such as, For example, the development of regulations that allow the employer-employee relationship to be significantly controlled, another example can be like adding aspects to the model standing orders to ensure harmony between the employer and the employees, resulting in a more pleasant working relationship which will ultimately increase productivity.

Frequently asked questions 

What are the methods for resolving disputes?

The most often utilised procedures for settling conflicts outside of official court proceedings are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Objectivity, a thorough understanding of the subject matter issue, questioning and listening skills, and patience are all essential traits for such conflict resolution.

Which types of enterprises are covered under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947?

This Act applies to business establishments that are run with the collaboration of employees, whether the activity of such enterprises is structured for profit or not.

Who has the authority to file a labour dispute?

An industrial dispute can be initiated by any worker engaged in an industry. A worker in an industry can be any individual (including an apprentice) hired in an industry to conduct manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical, or supervisory labour for pay or reward.



Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skills.

LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals, and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here