The main object of an industrial relations system is to provide a framework within which the conflicts inherent in a worker employer relationship may be peacefully resolved. For this purpose the labour court u/sec 44 of the ordinance has been established which secures the rights of both employer and workmen guaranteed under the PIRA 2010 and other laws for the time being in force.
2. Relevant Provisions
Sec 44, 45, 47 of Industrial Relation Act 2012
Section 44, 45, 46 of Punjab Industrial relations Act 2010.
3. Meaning of Labour Court
Labour Court means a labour court established under section 44.
4. Establishment of Labour court
Labour court is to be established by the provincial Government
a. Procedure of establishing
(i) Provincial Govt. has to consult with the chief justice of the respective High Court.
(ii) It must notify in the official gazette the fact of such establishment.
b. Discretion of Provincial Govt.
Provincial Govt. has the discretionary power in respect of establishing labour court and it may establish as many labour courts as it considers necessary.
c. In case more than one labour court established
Where provincial Govt. establishes more than one labour court, it shall specify in the notification.
(i) The territorial limits within which or
(ii) The Industry or classes of cases in respect of which each one of them shall exercise jurisdiction under the ordinance.
5. Constitutement of Labour Court
(i) Number and appointment of members of labour court
A labour court shall consist of one presiding officer appointed by a provincial Govt. in consultation with the chief justice of the respective High Court.
A person to appointed as presiding officer must be either
(a) Qualified to be judge or additional judge of High Court, or
(b) Has been a judge or additional judge of High court or,
(c) Is a District judge
6. Functions of Labour Court
Following are the functions of Labour court.
(a) Determination of Industrial Dispute
A labour court shall adjudicate and determine an industrial dispute which has been referred to or brought before it under this ordinance.
(i) Meaning of Industrial dispute
Industrial dispute means any dispute or difference between employers, and workmen or between workmen and workmen which is concerned with the
a. employment or non-employment or
b. the terms of employment or
c. conditions of work
(ii) Adjudication on matters relating to settlement
Labour court shall enquire into or adjudicate any mater relating to the implementation or violation of a settlement which is referred to it by a provincial Govt.
a. Meaning of Settlement
Settlement means any agreement arrived at during conciliation proceeding or otherwise if in writing, singed by parties in the prescribed manner, a copy where of has been sent to the provincial Govt. the conciliator and such other person as may be prescribed.
b. Try offences
A Labour Court has dual functions to perform i.e civil as well as criminal. It shall try offences under PIRA 2010 and such other offences as the provincial Govt. may specify by notification in the official Gazette.
c. Other Functions
A labour court shall exercise such other powers and functions as may be entrusted to it by law.
7. Procedure and Powers of Labour court
(a) While trying offences
While trying an offence, a labour court shall follow as nearly as possible summary procedure as provided under Cr.P.C, and shall have the same powers as are versed in the court of a magistrate of first class specially empowered u/sec 30 of Cr.P.C.
(b) While adjudicating industrial dispute
For the purpose of adjudicating and determining any industrial dispute, a labour court shall be deemed to be a civil court and follow the procedure as provided under C.P.C and shall have the same powers as are vested in such court under C.P.C. Following are the powers of labour court.
i. To Grant Relief
Labour court can grant full and final relief to the aggrieved party.
ii. To Grant interim Relief
Labour court is also competent to grant ad-interim relief under its inherent powers.
Iii. To grant Adjournment
Labour court has the power to grant adjournments if just cause to shown.
iv. To enforce attendance of any Person
Labour court can enforce the attendance of any person which is necessary for deciding the matter before it and this it can done so by issuing summons, proclamation etc.
v. Power to Examiner
Labour court can examine any person on oath.
vi. To compel Production of Documents etc
Labour court can compel the production of documents and material objects, necessary for deciding the matter in questions.
vii. To issue commissions
Labour court has the power to issue commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.
viii. Ex-part Proceedings
Labour court has the power to proceeding ex-parte, where the party failed to appear before it.
ix. to determine Grievance of workmen
Labour court may determine the grievance of workmen and in doing so, it shall go into all the fact of the case and pass such order as may be just and proper in the circumstances of the case.
c. While trying cases of Rights Given under special Acts
Where the special acts confer on litigants certain rights but the power to decide, try or adjudicate the case in conferred on the labour court established under PIRA 2010 and no procedure is prescribed, labour courts can apply their own procedure.
8. Territorial Jurisdiction of Labour Court
Assumption of jurisdiction by labour court without deciding objection to territorial jurisdiction was unwarranted unless it had necessary territorial jurisdiction, its order was bound to be without lawful authority.
9. Exemption from court fee
No court fees are payable for filing, exhibiting or recording any document in or obtaining any document from labour court.
10. Withdrawal of case
Where the matter has resolved the parties amicable before a final order is passed by the labour court, the labour court may allow withdrawal of such case if there are sufficient grounds for such withdrawal.
To conclude, I can say, that the labour court is a judicial forum to resolve the disputes between employers and workmen. It has two-fold jurisdiction viz civil and as well as criminal, nut it is not subordinate to the high court and Article 201 of the constitution of Pakistan, 1973 does not apply to it. The labour court is left with the owner discretion to decide what is just and fair in the circumstances of each case, having regard to equity, fairness and social justice.