Joint Consultative Machinery – Procedure for processing cases of disagreement on arbitrable matters and Awards of Board of Arbitration
(1) The following procedure may be adopted in processing requests for arbitration:-
From the National Council, the request for arbitration will be made directly to the Secretary, Ministry of Labour by the Department of Personnel & Training on behalf of the National Council. This will be in the form indicated in the Annexure.
From the Departmental Councils, the communication to the Ministry of Labour, as in the Annexure, shall be routed through the Department of Personnel and Training. The Department of Personnel & Training will forward the reference to the Ministry of Labour within a period of 15 days. This time-limit will be strictly observed. (O.M. No. 6/2/67-JCA, dated 2-2-1989).
(2) (i) Para 16 of the Scheme for Joint Consultative Machinery and Compulsory Arbitration for Central Government employees lays down that compulsory arbitration would be limited to – (a) pay and allowances; (b) weekly hours of work; and (c) leave, for a class or grade of employees. It is, therefore, to be seen that when an item relating to any of these heads is proposed by the Staff Side for inclusion in the agenda of a Council, it should relate to a class or grade of employees. As regards, items which are non-arbitrable, though no hard and fast rule can be laid down that each item should relate to a class or a grade of employees, it would be better in order to avoid confusion that the item to be included in the agenda is as precise as possible and indicates clearly the category or categories of employees to which it relates. If necessary, the sponsor should be requested to recast his note so that this case is presented cogently and logically supported by all the facts. The note should indicate, where possible, the approximate financial implications of the proposal as well.
(ii) It may be pointed out in this connection that nor all issues which involve an increase in emoluments come automatically within the scope of Clause 16 of the Scheme. Thus a request for advance increment under F.R. 27 within the same scale of pay should not be treated as coming within the scope of compulsory arbitration though it involves an increase in emoluments. This is because the powers under F.R. 27 are administrative powers to be exercised at the discretion of the head of the Department and are not directly related to general claims for increases in emoluments to off set rising costs of living or for other reasons like overtime etc. In case of doubt as to whether an item is arbitrable or not, advice may be sought from Department of Personnel and Training. (O.M. No. 6/2/68-JCA, dated 21-9-68).
Procedure for processing cases of disagreement on arbitrable matters and Awards of Board of Arbitration
(3) (a) Before a disagreement is recorded, the concerned Ministry must obtain approval of the Cabinet for the same. The Draft Note for the Cabinet may be prepared on the lines of the model Note prescribed vide O.M. No. 6/26/82-JCA, dated the 17th November, 1982 and the case may be processed further without any unavoidable delay. After obtaining the approval of the Cabinet, the disagreement could be recorded formally in the concerned Departmental Council/National Council. This procedure should be completed within two months time from the date it is decided to record a disagreement.
(b) If the Staff Side request for making a reference to the Board of Arbitration on the arbitrable item on which disagreement has been recorded, the request for reference to the Board of Arbitration in the prescribed form (enclosed with the O.M. No. 6/2/67-JCA, dated the 2nd Feb., 1968) along with an extract of the Cabinet decision for recording disagreement may be forwarded to DP7T (in triplicate), for onward transmission to the Ministry of Labour for making a reference to the Board of Arbitration. This should be done within two months’ of such a request from the Staff Side.
(c) The Labour Ministry would submit it for arbitration, within 7 days of the receipt of the case.
(d) It has also been felt that the case for the Government is not adequately argued before the Board of Arbitration and subsequently the Government is forced to reject the Award given by the Board of Arbitration. In order to ensure that all aspects of the case are fully and correctly presented to the Board of Arbitration, it has been decided that before the terms of reference are sent by the Ministry to this Department as envisaged in sub-para (2) above, the views of the Department of Personnel and the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) would be obtained as regards how the case should be presented before the Arbitrators.
(e) Before accepting/rejecting an Award, the case would be placed before the Committee of Secretaries after which the concerned Department or Ministry would submit the case to the Minister of State or Cabinet Minister in charge of the Department for acceptance/rejection of the Award. It is, therefore, requested that suitable action may please be taken to obtain the approval of the Committee of Secretaries before accepting/rejecting the Award. In the event of the Award being accepted with the approval of the Committee of Secretaries, the orders may be issued straightaway under intimation to this Department. In the event of rejection of the Award, as approved by the Committee of Secretaries necessary action may be taken according to the standing instructions for obtaining the approval of the Cabinet.
(f) After the decision (Award) of the Board of Arbitration is received, the Award would either be implemented or resolutions moved in both the Houses of Parliament within six months (proposing modification/rejection of the Award). (O.M. No. 3/23/85-JCA, dated 1-6-1988 as modified by O.M. No. 3/23/85-JCA, dated 20-2-1989).
(4) In respect of awards of the Board of Arbitration (JCM) which are proposed to be rejected/modified after obtaining Cabinet approval, formal Resolution may be moved in Parliament to seek the approval of Parliament for rejection/modification of the Award in question instead of just placing the statement of modification/rejection on the Tables of both the Houses. ( No. 3/23/85-JCA, dated 20-2-1989).
(5) The Ministry/Department should keep a watch over the cases relating to their Ministry/Department which have been referred to the Ministry of Labour (Admn. I Section) for expeditious finalisation of the pending cases, through the Board of Arbitration under intimation to this Department. If necessary, even the Board of Arbitration may be politely and discretely requested for prompt hearing of the cases pending before them. Needless to say, all the Ministries will no doubt arrange for effective and adequately advocacy of Government cases. It should be enjoined upon officers who argue on behalf of the Government that they must prepare the case well in advance with reference to all relevant data, requisite documents and required answers to the possible supplementaries/questions that may be raised by the Hon’ble Members of the Board of Arbitration. (No. 3/33/85-JCA, dated 29-10-1985).
(6) The Staff Side had been demanding that they may be informed about the Government’s proposal to modify or reject an Award. The issue had been considered in the Standing Committee meeting of the National Council (JCM) held on 7th March, 1990 wherein it was decided that the Staff Side would be intimated immediately after a decision is taken to reject or modify the Award. However, it would not be possible to inform the Staff Side the exact date on which the Resolution would be moved in Parliament as it would not be possible to anticipate the business before the Parliament, well in advance. (No. 3/59/89-JCA, dated 6-9-1990).
9.1 According to Clause 13 of the Scheme, on a matter for which compulsory arbitration is not provided, Government have to take action according to its own judgment. However, a convention has been evolved under which the Staff Side, if they so desire can place their point of view in respect of disagreements on non-arbitrable items before a Committee of Ministers, which would consist of the Minister in-charge of the JCM Scheme, the Labour Minister and the Minister administratively concerned with the particular subject. (O.M. No. 6/2/68-JCA, dated 21-9-1968).
9.2 Instead of routing their references through the JCA Division of the Department of Personnel & Training, the concerned Ministries/Departments would arrange meetings of the Committee of Ministries on the non-arbitrable items concerning their Departmental Councils. (No. 1/1/90-JCA, dated 3-3-1990).
Misc. matters relating to National Council
10. Secretariat of the National Council (JCM) Staff Side may please be placed on their regular mailing list for the purpose of sending the important circulars issued by the concerned Ministries/Departments. Such circulars may please be endorsed to Secretary, Staff Side, National Council (JCM), 13-C, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-110 001. (No. 3/4/90-JCA, dated 23-4-1990).