Struggling to Define Industry in the Industrial Disputes Act

Decent Essays

No other provision of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter ID Act) has been under as much scrutiny as the definition of ‘industry’ given under section 2(j). To avail the benefit of the ID Act, it is necessary for the worker to prove that his place of employment falls under the purview of the definition of ‘industry’ in s 2(j). Over the years the judiciary has laid down certain tests and criteria to determine and limit (or as seen later, expand) the scope of the legislation to extend the benefits to workers in different establishments. One such issue was to examine if educational institutions (universities, schools, etc) would fall under s. 2(j). This essay starts by tracing the judicial developments with regard to educational institutions under s 2(j).

The concern of education as ‘industry’ arose for the first time in Corporation of Nagpur v Its Employees . It was held that the education department of the corporation was a service being provided and would therefore fall under ‘industry’. The question was again addressed in Delhi University v Ram Nath in 1963. The argument presented was that widest meaning should be given to s. 2(j) along the line of the decision in Hospital Mazdoor Sabha , wherein it had been stated that ‘industry’ expressly included ‘services’. The working principle stated that the activity should involve the co-operation of the employer and employees with the object of satisfying material

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