The apex court in the case of Bombay Union of Journalists v/s The Hindu (this case is infrequently referred to as ‘the Hindu’ case), 1961 II LLJ 436 held that subsequent withdrawal of support by workmen or Union to a cause previously espoused by them will not have any effect. Conversely, subsequent support too will not convert what was individual dispute. The legal position is that when an individual workman is a part to an “Industrial dispute”, he is not independently a party to the proceedings. The individual workmen is at no stage a party to industrial dispute, independently of the union. The request by the worker to withdraw the dispute also will have no relevance because the dispute being raised by the union (or group of workmen) for withdrawal will not make the dispute any less an industrial dispute [Workmen of Dalmiya Cement (Bharat) Ltd. v/s State of Madras, 1969 I LLJ 477 (Madras)].
The Whole point is whether the Employer is fighting a dispute with a large number of his workmen or not and until this test is passed, an “Individual dispute” cannot be transformed into an “industrial dispute” [Express News Papers (P) Ltd. v/s I.L.C. 1959 I LLJ 600 (Calcutta)]. This is precisely so because the expression “Industrial dispute” in the Act clearly excludes the “individual disputes”. This position will be clear from the various Supreme Court judgements and the overall scheme of the Act. There was, as such, a considerable judicial conflict but the apex court in the case Central Province Transport Services v/s Raghunath Gopal Patwardhan, 1957 I LLJ 257, on consideration of preponderance of judicial opinion preferred the viewthat an “Individual dispute per-se cannot be an industrial dispute”. This view was, later on, affirmed in the cases of News Papers Ltd. 1957 II LLJ 1.