Industrial Dispute – Words “at any time”

The real test is that the words “any industrial dispute exists or is apprehended” has to be read alongwith the words “at any time”. These words, under Section 4K of the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act are complimentary to each other. Consequently, the words “at any time” does not suggest that a dispute could be raised at any stage and that there is no period of limitation attached to it. All it means that so long as an industrial dispute exists or is apprehended, such dispute could be referred for adjudication before an appropriate Labour Court or Industrial Tribunal upon a reference being made by the State Government.
The crucial test is that an industrial dispute should be in existence or is apprehended on the date of reference. If there was no industrial dispute existing or if the industrial dispute was not apprehended, the State Government had no power to make a reference but if the dispute was existing or was apprehended, the State Government could refer the dispute even if the dispute was raised after a considerable period of time.
Further the reference of such dispute is to be made on such opinion being formed by the Government on the basis of the material placed before it. In appropriate cases, even without waiting for the conciliation report the State Government can “at any time” refer a dispute which is existing or is apprehended for adjudication. Dr. Jawahar Lal Rohatagi Memorial Eye Hospital, Kanpur v. State of U.P., (2014) 1 UPLBEC 158.

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Filed under Industrial Dispute, Labour Law

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