Adjudication is the ultimate legal remedy for the settlement of Industrial disputes. Adjudication means intervention of a legal authority appointed by the Government to make a settlement which is binding on the parties. The Industrial Dispute Act provides for a three tier system of adjudication.
i. Labour Courts
ii. Industrial Tribunal
iii. National Tribunal
i. Labour Court
A labour court consists of one person only, who is normally a sitting or an ex-judge of a High Court. It may be constituted by the appropriate Government for adjudication of disputes which are mentioned in the second schedule of the Act. The issues referred to Labour Court may include:
a. Legality of an order passed by an employer under the standing orders.
b. Application and interpretation of standing orders
c. Discharge or dismissal of workman/workmen
d. Withdrawal of any customary concession or privilege
e. Illegality or otherwise of a strike or lock-out and
f. All matters other than those specified in the Third Schedule
A Labour court consists of one person only to be appointed by the appropriate Government. It is the duty of the Labour Court to adjudicate upon the industrial disputes relating to any matter specified.
ii. Industrial Tribunals
Like Labour Court, an Industrial Tribunal is also a one man body. The matters which fall within the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals are as mentioned in the second schedule or the third schedule of the Act.
The Industrial Tribunals may be referred the following issues:
a. Wages including the periods and mode of payment
b. Compensatory and other allowances
c. Hours of work and rest intervals
d. Leave with wages and holidays
e. Bonus, profit sharing, provident fund and gratuity
f. Shift working otherwise than in accordance with the standing orders
g. Rules of discipline
j. Any other matter that may be prescribed
iii. National Tribunal
The Central Government may constitute a national tribunal for adjudication of disputes as mentioned in the second and third scheduled of the Act or any other matter not mentioned therein provided in its opinion the industrial dispute involves “questions of national importance” or “the industrial dispute is of such a nature that undertakings established in more than one state are likely to be affected by such a dispute.
It should be noted that every award of Labour Court, Industrial Tribunal or National Tribunal must be published by the appropriate Government within 30 days from the date of its receipt.
Adjudication has helped to avert many strikes and lockouts by providing an acceptable alternative to direct action. However, it is a time consuming and expensive process. It also hampers trade union movement and collective bargaining,