Trade Disputes Act, 1929 was unable to settle the all kinds of industrial disputes so the there is a need for appropriate legislation which able to short out all matters which are connected with industry. The Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 has been passed. It extend to the whole of India and came into force on the first day of April, 1947.

 The object of the Act as laid down preamble of the Act is to make provision for the investigation   and settlement of industrial disputes. The object of all labour legislations is to ensure fair wages and to prevent dispute so that production might not be adversely affected.

The principal object of the Act as analyses by Supreme court in the Workmen of  Dimakuchi Tea Estate  V Manaqgement of Dimakuchi Tea Estate AIR 1958 SC 353  are as fallows

1 – The promotion of measures for securing amity and good relations between the employer and workman.

2- An investigation and settlement of industrial dispute between employer and employer or employer and workmen or workmen and workmen.

3- The prevention illegal strikes and lock outs.

4- Relief to workmen in the matter of lay off, retrenchment and closure ofan undertakings.

5- Collective bargaining

 Main Features of the Act:

The main features of the industrial dispute Act may be as:

  1. Any industrial dispute may be referred to an industrial tribunal by an agreement of parties to the dispute or by the state if it deems, it expedient so to do.
  2. An award shall be binding upon both the parties to the dispute for the specified period not exceeding one year.
  3.  Strike and lock outs are prohibited during the pendency of conciliation,, adjudication.
  4.  In the case of lay off or retrenchment  of workmen , the employer is required to  pay compensation to them
  5.  Provides numbers of authorities such as Work Committee, Conciliation Officers, Board of Conciliation, court of inquiry, Labour Court, Tribunal and National Tribunals for settlement of industrial dispute

 Definition clause:

Workman   section ( 2s)

The definition of workmen is important because the Act aims at investigation and settlement of industrial dispute which implies a difference between employer and workmen,

 Workman means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any industry to do any skilled, unskilled manual, supervisory, operational, technical or clerical work for hire or reward. Whether the terms of employment be expressed or employed and for the purposes of any proceedings under this act in relation to an industrial dispute, includes any such person who has been dismissed, discharged, retrenched in connection with or as a consequence of that dispute or whose dismissal, discharge or retrenchment has led to that dispute.

  Workman does not include any such person

  • who is subject to Air Force Act, Army Act or Navy Act or

 (ii)  who is employed in police service or prison service,

 (iii) who is employed mainly in a managerial and advisory capacity or (iv) who being employed in supervisory capacity draws wages exceeding ` ten thousands rupees per month and exercises by the nature of the duties attached to the office or by means of powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature.

Employer      section 2(g)

“employer” means-

  • in relation to an industry carried on by or under the authority of any department of the Central Government  or a State Government the authority prescribed in this behalf, or where no authority is prescribed, the head of the department;

(ii) in relation to an industry carried on by or on behalf of a local authority, the chief executive officer of that authority;

Industry section 2(j)

The traditional meaning of industry was any trade, business, undertaking manufacturing, or calling of employers and includes any calling, service, employment, handicraft, or industrial occupation or avocation of workmen.  

During the course of implementation of Industrial Dispute Act some of the question raised that

  •  Is hospital an industry
  •  Is educational institution an industry

 The question whether hospital is an industry or not, has come for determination by the supreme court on a number of occasions.

 In State of Bombay v  Hospital Mazdoor Sabha  AIR 1960 SC 610

 Hospital Mazdoor Sabha was a registered trade union of the employees of the hospital in the state of Bombay. The services of

two of its employee were terminated by way of retrenchment by the government  and the trade union claimed their reinstatement through writ petition . It was argued by the state that the writ application was misconceived because hospital did not constitute an industry. The groups of hospital run by the state for giving medical relief to citizens and imparting medical education. The Supreme Court held the group of hospitals to be industry and observed as follows:

  1. The state is carrying on an undertaking within section 2(j)
  2. An activity systematically or habitually undertaken for the production or distribution of goods or for rendering services to the community at large.
  3. It is the character of the activity in question which attracts the provisions of section 2(j).
  4.  The conventional meaning attributed to the words trade, business has lost some of its validity for the purpose of  industrial adjudication.

In Management of hospitals , Orissa  V Their Workmen AIR 1971 SC1259

And  Dhanrajgiri Hospital  v Workmen AIR 1975 SC2032

In both cases it was held by the supreme court that hospital was not an industry because it was not carrying any economic activity.

But in Bangalore Water Supply V A Rajuppa, AIR 1978 SC 548

 The SC again held that all hospitals fulfilling the test (triple test) laid down in hospital mazdoor sabha case will be industry.

B- Is Educational Institution an Industry

In University of Delhi V Ram Nath  AIR 1963 SC 1873

 The fact of the case is that University has terminated their two drivers because of monetary loss. The order of termination was challenged on the ground that the drivers were workmen and the termination of their services amount to retrenchment. They demanded compensation for retrenchment under section 25f  of the  Act, by filing petitions before the tribunal. The tribunal decided the matter in the favor of the drivers hence university challenged the validity of the award. It was held by the SC that the work of imparting education as a mission than profession, trade or business and therefore university is not an industry.

 The decision which has been given by the SC in Ram Nath case has been overruled in   Bongalore Water Supply V A Rajuppa , the present position is that the educational institutions  including the university are industry in limited sense.

  In 1982 one amendment was taken place with a view to amend the definition of industry.

According to the amendment the definition of industry is as:

 industry means any systematic activity carried on by cooperation between an employer and his workman (whether such workman are employed by such employer directly or by or through any agency, including a contractor)’ for the production, supply or distribution of goods or services with a view to satisfy human wants or wishes ( but wants and wishes which are  not being  merely spiritual or religious in nature),

 whether  (i) any capital has been invested for the purpose of carrying on such activity ; or not

         (ii) such activity is carried on with a motive to make any gain or profit .


 (1) any agricultural operation except where such agricultural operation is carried on in an integrated manner with any other activity.

    (2) hospitals or dispensaries ; or

 (3) Educational, scientific, research or training institutions; or

(4) institution owned or managed by organisations wholly or substantially engaged in any charitable social of philanthropic service ; or

(5) Khadi or Village Industries ; or

(6) any activity of the Government relatable to the sovereign functions of the Government including all the activities carried on by the departments of th central Government dealing with defence  research, atomic energy and space; or

 (7)  any domestic service ; or

 (8) any activity, being a profession practised by an individual or body or individuals, if the number of persons employed by the individual of body of individual in relation to such profession is less than ten; or

 (9) any activity, being an activity carried on by a cooperative society or a club or any other like body of individuals, if the number of persons employed by the cooperative society, club or other like body of individuals in relation to such activity is less than ten.

             Industrial Disputes   Section 2(k)

The main objective of the Act as pointed out in the preamble is to make provision for the investigation and settlement of industrial dispute, therefore the definition of industrial dispute has a special significance.

“Industrial dispute” means any dispute or difference between

 (i)employers and employers, or

(ii) employers and workman, or

(iii) workman and workman,

which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of  labour or any person.

 Strike     Sec 2(q)

 Strike means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in combination, or a concerted refusal, or a refusal under a common understanding, of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or  to accept employment;

Lock-out Sec 2(l)

  It means the temporary closing of a place of employment or the suspension of work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him;

 Lay-off      Sec 2(kkk)

 It means the failure, refusal or inability of an employer on account of shortage of coal, power or raw materials or the accumulation of stocks or the breakdown of machinery or natural calamity or for any other connected reason to give employment to a workman whose name is borne on the muster rolls of his industrial establishment and who has not been retrenched.

 Explanation.- Every workman whose name is borne on the muster rolls of the industrial establishment and who presents himself for work at the establishment at the time appointed for the purpose during normal working hours on any day and is not given employment by the employer within two hours of his so presenting himself shall be deemed to have been laid-off for that day within the meaning of this clause.

Provided that if the workman, instead of being given employment at the commencement of any shift for any day is asked to present himself for the purpose during the second half of the shift for the day and is given employment then, he shall be deemed to have been laid-off only for one-half of that day.

Provided further that if he is not given any such employment even after so presenting himself, he shall not be deemed to have been laid-off for the second half of the shift for the day and shall be entitled to full basic wages and dearness allowance for that part of the day;

Retrenchment   Sec- 2 (oo)

It means the termination by the employer of the service of a workman for any reason whatsoever, otherwise than as a punishment inflicted by way of disciplinary action,   but does not include-

(a)  Voluntary retirement of the workman;  or

(b)  Retirement of the workman on reaching the age of superannuation if the contract of employment between the employer and the workman concerned contains a stipulation in that behalf;  or

(bb) Termination of the service of the workman as a result of the on-renewal of the contract of employment between the employer and the workman concerned on its expiry or of such contract being terminated under a stipulation in that behalf contained therein;  or

 (c)  Termination of the service of a workman on the ground of continued ill-health;

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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