Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The public utility services stand in a different category. Section 15 of the Act embodies the principle that those responsible for the maintenance of the services essential to the safety, health and welfare of the community shall not discontinue work without notice. The principle is accepted in a number of other countries and had found a place in certain other Indian Acts long before the Trade Disputes Bill was introduced; but it is not one which commands by any means universal assent. In our view the weakest point of the Indian provision is that, while it restricts the powers of workers in public utility services to coerce their employers, it gives in return no assurance that their grievances will receive a hearing. We have made elsewhere proposals to alter the position of railway workers in this respect. With regard to the other classes to whom the section applies, we think the question of providing means for the impartial examination of disputes should have early consideration. The danger that must be faced here is that the external machinery set up for arbitration may be invoked without adequate cause, e.g., that strike notices may be sent whenever a workman is dismissed, and that there may be a corresponding disinclination to settle disputes internally. This danger can be minimised in various ways, e.g., by making arbitration conditional on a definite failure of the parties to reach agreement in a reasonable time and on a substantial measure of support for an application, and by requiring a deposit of money with each application. The deposit required, which could be forfeited if the application proved to be trivial or vexatious, should not be larger than is necessary for the purpose in view.