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               (2005) 3 SCC 202
11th February, 2005
Supreme Court India
RESPONDENTM/S Forbes Gokak Ltd.
BENCHJustice Ruma Pal And Justice C.K. Thakker


J.H. Jadhav v. M/S Forbes Gokak Ltd. is a notable legal case that took place in the Indian judicial system. The case involves J.H. Jadhav parties as appellants, and M/S Forbes Gokak Ltd as the respondent.


         The respondent hired the appellant and told him that he would be promoted to a clerk, but thereafter denied that he would receive that promotion. Then the appellant brought up a workplace issue in the industrial tribunal, questioning whether it was appropriate for him to want a promotion beginning on the day that his juniors received promotions.

In his written response, the respondent refuted the claim, arguing that the individual dispute raised by the appellant did not qualify as an industrial dispute under Section 2(k) of the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947 because neither the majority union nor a significant number of workers supported him.

Jadhav then asserted that the Gokak Staff Union had his back and that the union secretary had testified in court in his favor. Letters written by the union to the deputy labour commissioner and complaints they made to the conciliation officer were all included in the material that the union submitted.

The tribunal then concluded that the appellant was backed by the minority union of the company where he was employed after carefully considering the evidence. It went on to say that the respondent had not shown any evidence that he had considered the appellant’s effectiveness or performance at the workplace when refusing him a promotion.

The tribunal agreed with the appellant’s contention that the respondent had treated him unfairly by refusing to promote him and ordered him to do so as soon as his juniors received promotions with related incentives. The respondent then submitted a writ petition contesting the tribunal’s decision, but the single bench judge dismissed it. The respondent then filed a writ appeal with the appellate court.

The appeal court interpreted section 2(k) of the industrial dispute legislation and came to the conclusion that there is no concrete evidence that either the appellant was a member of a minority union or that the union backed him by passing a resolution.

When the case was ultimately brought before the Supreme Court, the court rejected the high court’s order and upheld the tribunal’s judgment.


  1. Whether the dispute will be considered an industrial dispute or not under sec 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947?
  2. What are the essential conditions for the dispute to be considered an industrial dispute under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947?


         He claimed that the respondent had passed him up for a clerk advancement. He added that the younger employees who worked as clerks in the business were promoted. He argued by citing the respondent’s claim that the Gokak Mills Staff Union, which offered supporting documentation, was on his side.


         The respondent argued that because the appellant was not supported by a majority union or by a considerable number of workers, it would be inappropriate to classify the individual disagreement raised by the appellant as an industrial dispute under the terms of the Industrial disagreement Act, 1947.


            The Supreme court held that, According to M/S Workmen of Dharampal Prem Chand VS M/S Dharampal Prem Chand (Saughandhi), 1965 (3) SCR 394, “the union” in section 2(k) of the Industrial Dispute Act can refer to both a union of minority workers as well as a union unrelated to the relevant institution. As a result, we can conclude that it is not necessary for the majority union to have backed the issue.

They said that there is no set way for the union to demonstrate its support for the disagreement, but if it is relevant to the case, the union must provide the method of resolution as well as the evidence of support provided.


          We can conclude from this case that if the individual dispute is supported by a union whether it’s a majority or minority of workmen of a union, it will be considered an industrial dispute under the industrial dispute act and a resolution will be issued for the support by the union if it is in the case’s issue and then it will proceed accordingly in the court of law.


  1. https://indiankanoon.org

This Article is written by Prazzal Mohanty, student of SOA National Institute of Law, BBSR; Intern at Legal Vidhiya.


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