Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The main part of this measure, which passed into law in 1929, is modelled to a large extent on the British Industrial Courts Act, but it does not provide for any standing Industrial Court. Disputes can be referred either to Courts of Enquiry or to Boards of Conciliation. Courts of Enquiry, which are appointed to enquire and report into specific matters referred to them, consist of one or more independent persons. Boards of Conciliation consist of an independent chairman and ordinarily of other members who may be either independent or may represent parties to the dispute. It is their duty to endeavour to investigate the dispute, primarily with a view to its settlement and secondly with a view to enlightening the public regarding its merits. The Act also contains provisions rendering punishable by fine or imprisonment lightning strikes or lock-outs in certain public utility services and embodies provisions aimed at the prevention of general strikes; the latter are based on some of the clauses of the British Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act of 1927. Up to the end of 1929, the Act has been used on three occasions. The Bombay Government in that year appointed a Court of Enquiry consisting of a High Court Judge and two other independent members, to investigate a number of matters connected with the prolonged general strike in the Bombay cotton mills. A Board of Conciliation, consisting of a retired High Court Judge as chairman and representatives of the two parties, was appointed at the end of 1929 with reference to a dispute on the B. B. and C. I. Railway. It was unable to effect an agreed settlement, and the members themselves differed on certain points. Another Board of Conciliation was appointed by the Government of Burma in July 1930 in connection with a serious dispute among the dock workers.
We discuss this case and its settlement in the chapter dealing with Burma. So far as we are aware, no prosecutions have been instituted under those provisions of the Trade Disputes Act which relate to public utility services or to general strikes.