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This article is written by Udita Prakash. 


The mechanism for resolution of the industrial disputes is given under Chapter VII of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020. We’ll be dealing with this topic section-wise. 

Section 43 of this code says that an appropriate government can appoint the conciliation officers, for the settlement of the dispute between the employee and employers. 

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Essential provisions under the Industrial Relations Code, 2020

The essential provisions under the Industrial Relations Code, 2020 are listed below:

Section 44: Constitution of Industrial Tribunal

  1. When an appropriate government forms the Industrial tribunal then there should be 2 members in it (one Judicial Member and one Administrative Member).
  2. When the central government makes a tribunal, then for the purpose of the provident fund that dispute will also come to the tribunal here under this chapter. 
  3. For the purpose to pass any order of the tribunal, the bench to be formed may be of 2 members; which means one Administrative Member and one Judicial Member or of only one member, which can be either Administrative Member or Judicial Member. 
  4. For becoming an Administrative Member one should be at least Joint Secretary of the Government of India or of the State Government; or any position equivalent to this rank. 
  5. Salary and the allowances which are to be paid to Administrative Member or Judicial Member can’t vary in disadvantage, which means it can’t decrease but can only increase.
  6. Clause 7 talks about the procedure of the Tribunal, they are as follows, in case of:
    • Applications and of standing orders;
    • Discharge or dismissal or reinstatement; 
    • The illegality of strike or lockout; 
    • Retrenchment; 
    • Dispute of trade union. 

So, in these cases, the bench which will form should be of an Administrative Member and Judicial Member. Here, it’s compulsory to have both of these members. Other than these matters stated above, the dispute can be decided by either an Administrative Member or a Judicial Member.  The reason behind this is that the matters in dispute which are mentioned in points a-e are the core matters and thus, require more attention for the smooth settlement of the dispute.

  1. The presiding officer between the Administrative Member and Judicial Member will be the Judicial Member. 
  2. In the National Industrial Dispute or the International Industrial Tribunal, there comes a vacancy then the new member who is joining in that vacancy has to continue from there itself where the proceeding was stopped, they are not supposed to start the proceeding from the very beginning. 
  3. If the appropriate government thinks that there is a requirement for the supporting staff for the Administrative and Judicial Members then they can accordingly appoint them. 

Section 45: Finality of the constitution of Tribunal

When the new members are appointed where there was any vacancy and there is any defect in the constitution, then it can’t be challenged in any manner before the tribunal.

Section 46:  National Industrial Tribunal (NIT)

  1. The central government will appoint one or more NIT, and if it thinks that the industrial dispute is of National importance and because of that one or more state’s establishment will be affected, then that matter will go to the National Industrial Tribunal. 
  2. In that National Industrial Tribunal, there should be two members, one Administrative Member, and one Judicial Member.
  3. The eligibility of the Judicial Member should either be of a practicing Judge of the High Court or has been a practicing Judge of the High Court. 
  4. The eligibility of the Administrative Member is that he should be of a secretory rank either in the Central or the State government or any rank equivalent to the rank of a Secretary. 
  5. The Judicial Member will be the presiding officer in the case of a National Industrial Tribunal dispute. 

Section 47:  Decision of Tribunal or National Industrial Tribunal

  1. The decision to be made in tribunal or the NIT shall be by the consensus of the members. 
  2. If in the situation when both the Administrative Member and the Judicial Member have different opinions and are not able to reach the decision then, in this case, they may transfer the case to the Appropriate Government. 
    • In the case of Judicial Member, the appropriate government is either the Central Government or the State Government 
    • In the case of Administrative Member, the appropriate government is only Central Government
  3. When the case is transferred to the appropriate government, then the appropriate government may appoint the Judicial Member who is not related to this case, and ask for his opinion and after that, the appropriate government can make the decision. 

Section 48: Disqualification for the members of Tribunal or NIT 

  1. If he is not an independent person: Here an independent person means, the person who is not connected with that industrial dispute. The reason behind this is that if there would not be an independent person then the decision made will be biased and justice won’t be delivered. 
  2. If the member attains the age of 65 years. 

Section 49: Procedures and powers of arbitrators, conciliation officers, Tribunal and NIT

  1. The powers mentioned in CPC, like enforcing the attendance, production of the documents, issue the commission and record the evidence, impose costs, summon, etc., so, all these powers which a civil court enjoys will also be enjoyed by the tribunals, arbitrators, conciliation officers, officers of Tribunal and NIT. 
  2. All these officers have the power to do an inquiry and also visit the establishment of that premises (only for the purpose of the inquiry), before giving reasonable notice of their coming. 
  3. All the inquiry and investigation done here under this section will be called the ‘Judicial Proceedings’, under Section 193 and 228 of IPC
  4. If the appropriate government thinks fit then can also appoint the expert or the assessor. 
  5. The conciliation officers and members of the Industrial Tribunal will be called the ‘Public Servant’, under Section 21 of IPC. 
  6. These tribunals can pass the cost recovery orders. 
  7. The tribunal and the Industrial Tribunal will be deemed to be the Civil Court, for the matters under Section 345, 346, 348 of the Criminal Procedure Code
  8. If any award is made or any order is passed or any settlement is made under Tribunal or NIT, then it can be executed just like rules given under Order XXI of Code of Civil Procedure.

Section 50: Powers of the Tribunal and NIT to give appropriate relief in case of discharge or dismissal of workers

  1. When an application is received by the Tribunal or NIT, and they think that or have reason to believe that dismissal or discharge of the person is unjust then they can either set aside it or can give relief such as lesser punishment. 
  2. If there is a pendency of the Industrial Dispute, then in that duration of the pendency, the tribunal can grant the interim relief. 
  3. Proviso says that, if an order is passed by the tribunal under Section 50, then they will set aside the matter only on the grounds that are already on record, not the fresh evidence. 

Section 51: Transfer of pending cases

  1. After the commencement of this code, the previous pending cases,
    • In the Labor court, the Tribunal under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 will be transferred to the tribunal having the corresponding jurisdiction under this code. 
    • The National Tribunal under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 shall be transferred to NIT having the corresponding jurisdiction.
  2. Now, when the case is transferred it can start “de novo”, or from where it was pending before the transfer, as it may be deemed fit. 

Section 52: Adjustment of services of presiding officers under repealed Act

The presiding officers are qualified under the Code; also they can become Judicial Member of tribunal or Industrial Tribunal and they can serve for their remaining period. 

Section 53: Conciliation and adjudication of a dispute 

  1. When in the case where an industrial dispute exists or is apprehended to exist, then the conciliation officer can hold the proceeding under section 62
    • The limitation is that the conciliation officer will not hold the proceedings after two years from the date of the dispute. 
  2. Whenever the conciliation officer starts the settlement, the main purpose is to come for a fair and amicable settlement on behalf of both the parties and the dispute settles.
  3. In case when the settlement is done, then after that a memorandum of settlement is created and a report of that will be given to the appropriate government, with the signatures of the parties. 
  4. In case there is no settlement then, in that case, the conciliation officer, to the concerned parties and also to the appropriate government send the full report stating:
    • Steps were taken by him for the settlement of the dispute;
    • Facts of the case;
    • Reasons for the non-settlement. 
  5. The time limit for sending the report is from the date of the start of the conciliation proceeding up to 45 days. 
    • Proviso says that, if the conciliation officer has received the notice under Section 62, then the conciliation officer has to submit the report within 14 days to the concerned parties and the appropriate government. 
    • If the parties are not satisfied, then the parties are required to apply in the tribunal, then they have to apply within 90 days from the date of receipt of the report. 

Section 54: Reference to and function of NIT 

  1. Central Government can transfer the matter of the industrial dispute to the NIT, when:
    1. There is a matter of national importance.
    2. When there is interest in the establishment of one or more states. 
  2. Now, when the case is transferred, then it’s the duty of the NIT to conduct the proceedings and pass the order accordingly. 

Section 55: Forms of the award and its communication and commencement 

  1. An award of the Tribunal or NIT is awarded then it should be in writing and should be also signed by the members of the tribunal or NIT. 
  2. If an award is of arbitration or tribunal then that award should be communicated to the parties and the appropriate government. 
  3. An award will be enforceable on the expiry of 30 days from the date of communication mentioned under subclause (2).

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