Labour Laws Q/A

Industrial disputes act, 1947 – Reference for Adjudication of a Belated Dispute

Industrial disputes act, 1947
Reference for Adjudication of a Belated Dispute

Can the appropriate Government make a reference of a dispute which has been initially rejected for reference? Is there any time limit for raising an industrial dispute?

Yes. A refusal to make a reference of an earlier occasion does not amount to an exercise of jurisdiction on the part of the Appropriate Government under section 10(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act, and, therefore, it does not exhaust the power of the Government under section 10 to make a reference. There is no time limit for the exercise of the power under section 10(1) on the part of the Appropriate Government so long as it has not been previously exercised and exhausted. Therefore, the fact that a number of years or even ten years have elapsed from the date of the accrual of the industrial dispute will not affect the exercise of the power on the Appropriate Government.1 In another case, a workman was dismissed after enquiry. The government decline to make reference for adjudication in 1978. The Criminal case against the workman ended in his acquittal in July, 1982. He moved the government for reference on 28-4-1983 and the dispute was referred on 22-8-1984. The employer challenged the order of reference. The High Court held that the reference was valid.2 Government can refer a dispute to the Labour Court at ‘any time’.3 Appropriate government has rightly rejected a dispute to be referred for adjudication since it has been raised by the workman after 14 years hence the Division Bench of the High Court rightly rejected the order of learned Single Judge directing appropriate government to refer the dispute for adjudication.4


  1. Shanti Theatre (Pvt.) Ltd., Madras v. State of Tamil Nadu, 1982 (2) LLN 785 (Mad HC).
  2. Asbestos Cement Employees Co-op. Store Ltd. v. Labour Court, 1992 (2) LLN 778 (Mad HC).
  3. Union of India v. Sri Ram Misra, 2009 LLR 277 (All HC).
  4. Labour Commissioner, Shimla v. Dharam Pal, 2013 LLR 93 (HP HC).

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H.L Kumar

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