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CASE NO.:

Appeal (civil) 6009-6010 of 2001

PETITIONER:

STEEL AUTHORITY OF INDIA LTD. & ORS. ETC.ETC.

Vs.

RESPONDENT:

NATIONAL UNION WATER FRONT WORKERS & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 30/08/2001

BENCH:

B.N. Kirpal, Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri, M.B. Shah, Ruma Pal, K. G. Balakrishnan,

[Arising out of S.L.P. (C) NOS.12657-58/98]

With

(C.A.No.6011/2001@S.L.P.(C) No.20926/1998, C.A. No.6012/2001

@ S.L.P.(C) No.9568/2000, T.C. No.1/2000, T.C. Nos.5 to 7/2000,

T.C.(C)No.14/2000, T.C.Nos.17&18/2000, C.A.Nos.719-

720/2001,C.A.Nos.5798-99/98, C.A.Nos.6013-22/2001 @ SLP(C)

Nos.16122- 31/98, C.A. No.6023/2001 @ SLP(C) No.19391/99,

C.A.Nos.4188-94/98, C.A.No.4195/98, C.A. Nos.6024-25/2001

@SLP (C) Nos.8282-83/2000, TP(C) No.169/2000, TP(C) Nos.284-

302/2000, C.A.No.6029/2001@ SLP (C) No.16346/2000,

C.A.Nos.6030-34/2001@SLP(C)Nos.13146-150/2000,T.P.(C) No.308

-337/2000, C.A.No.141/2001)

JUDGMENT:

SYED SHAH MOHAMMED QUADRI, J.

Leave is granted in the Special Leave petitions.

In Food Corporation of India, Bombay & Ors. vs. Transport

& Dock Workers Union & Ors. , a two-Judge Bench of this

Court, having noticed the conflict of opinion between different

Benches including two three-Judge Benches of this Court on the

interpretation of the expression appropriate Government in

Section 2(1)(a) of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition)

Act, 1970 (for short, the CLRA Act) and in Section 2(a) of the

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (for short, the I.D.Act) and having

regard to the importance of the question of automatic absorption

of the contract labour in the establishment of the principal

employer as a consequence of an abolition notification issued

under Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act, referred these cases to a

larger Bench. The other cases were tagged with the said case as

the same questions arise in them also. That is how these cases

have come up before us.

To comprehend the controversy in these cases, it will

suffice to refer to the facts in Civil Appeal Nos.6009-10 of 2001@

S.L.P.Nos.12657-12658 of 1998 which are preferred from the

judgment and order of the Calcutta High Court in W.P.No.1773 of

1994 and FMAT No.1460 of 1994 dated July 3, 1998. The

appellants, a Central Government Company and its branch

manager, are engaged in the manufacture and sale of various types

of iron and steel materials in its plants located in various States of

India. The business of the appellants includes import and export

of several products and bye-products through Central Marketing

Organisation, a marketing unit of the appellant, having network of

branches in different parts of India. The work of handling the

goods in the stockyards of the appellants, was being entrusted to

contractors after calling for tenders in that behalf. The

Government of West Bengal issued notification dated July 15,

1989 under Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act (referred to in this

judgment as the prohibition notification) prohibiting the

employment of contract labour in four specified stockyards of the

appellants at Calcutta. On the representation of the appellants, the

Government of West Bengal kept in abeyance the said

notification initially for a period of six months by notification

dated August 28, 1989 and thereafter extended that period from

time to time. It appears that the State Government did not,

however, extend the period beyond August 31, 1994.

The first respondent-Union representing the cause of 353

contract labourers filed Writ Petition No.10108/89 in the Calcutta

High Court seeking a direction to the appellants to absorb the

contract labour in their regular establishment in view of the

prohibition notification of the State Government dated July 15,

1989 and further praying that the notification dated August 28,

1989, keeping the prohibition notification in abeyance, be quashed.

A learned Single Judge of the High Court allowed the writ petition,

set aside the notification dated August 28, 1989 and all subsequent

notifications extending the period and directed that the contract

labour be absorbed and regularised from the date of prohibition

notification - July 15, 1989 - within six months from the date of the

judgment i.e., April 25, 1994.

The appellants adopted a two-pronged attack strategy.

Assailing the said judgment of the learned Single Judge, they

filed writ appeal (FMAT No.1460 of 1994) and challenging the

prohibition notification of July 15, 1989 they filed Writ Petition

No.1733 of 1994 in the Calcutta High Court. While these cases

were pending before the High Court, this Court delivered

judgment in Air India Statutory Corporation & Ors. vs. United

Labour Union & Ors. holding, inter alia, that in case of Central

Government Companies the appropriate Government is the

Central Government and thus upheld the validity of the

notification dated December 9, 1976 issued by the Central

Government under Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act prohibiting

employment of contract labour in all establishments of the Central

Government Companies. On July 3, 1998, a Division Bench of

the High Court nonetheless dismissed the writ appeal as well as

the writ petition filed by the appellants taking the view that on the

relevant date the appropriate Government was the State

Government. The legality of that judgment and order is under

challenge in these appeals.

Three points arise for determination in these appeals :

(i) what is the true and correct import of the expression

appropriate government as defined in clause (a) of sub-section

(1) of Section 2 of the CLRA Act;

(ii) whether the notification dated December 9, 1976 issued by

the Central Government under Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act is

valid and applies to all Central Government companies; and

(iii) whether automatic absorption of contract labour, working

in the establishment of the principal employer as regular

employees, follows on issuance of a valid notification under

Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act, prohibiting the contract labour in

the concerned establishment.

Inasmuch as in some appeals the principal employers are the

appellants and in some others the contract labour or the union of

employees is in appeal, we shall refer to the parties in this

judgment as the principal employer and the contract labour.

Before taking up these points, it needs to be noticed that

the history of exploitation of labour is as old as the history of

civilisation itself. There has been an ongoing struggle by

labourers and their organisations against such exploitation but it

continues in one form or the other. The Industrial Disputes Act,

1947 is an important legislation in the direction of attaining fair

treatment to labour and industrial peace which are sine qua non

for sustained economic growth of any country. The best

description of that Act is given by Krishna Iyer, J, speaking for a

three-Judge Bench of this Court in Life Insurance Corporation of

India Vs. D.J. Bahadur and Ors. , thus :

The Industrial Disputes Act is a benign

measure which seeks to pre-empt industrial

tensions, provide the mechanics of dispute-

resolutions and set up the necessary

infrastructure so that the energies of partners

in production may not be dissipated in

counter-productive battles and assurance of

industrial justice may create a climate of

goodwill.

After the advent of the Constitution of India, the State is

under an obligation to improve the lot of the work force. Article

23 prohibits, inter alia, begar and other similar forms of forced

labour. The Directive Principle of State Policy incorporated in

Article 38 mandates the State to secure a social order for

promotion of welfare of the people and to establish an egalitarian

society. Article 39 enumerates the principles of policy of the State

which include welfare measures for the workers. The State

policy embodied in Article 43 mandates the State to endeavour to

secure, by a suitable legislation or economic organisation or in

any other way for all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise,

work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent

standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and

cultural opportunities. Article 43A enjoins on the State to take

steps by suitable legislation or in any other way to secure the

participation of workers in the management of undertakings,

establishment, or other organisations engaged in any industry.

The fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 14 and 16 guarantee

equality before law and equality of opportunity in public

employment. Of course, the preamble to the Constitution is the

lodestar and guides those who find themselves in a grey area

while dealing with its provisions. It is now well settled that in

interpreting a beneficial legislation enacted to give effect to

directive principles of the state policy which is otherwise

constitutionally valid, the consideration of the Court cannot be

divorced from those objectives. In a case of ambiguity in the

language of a beneficial labour legislation, the Courts have to

resolve the quandary in favour of conferment of, rather than

denial of, a benefit on the labour by the legislature but without

rewriting and/or doing violence to the provisions of the

enactment.

The CLRA Act was enacted by the Parliament to deal with

the abuses of contract labour system.` It appears that the

Parliament adopted twin measures to curb the abuses of

employment of contract labour -- the first is to regulate

employment of contract labour suitably and the second is to

abolish it in certain circumstances. This approach is clearly

discernible from the provisions of the CLRA Act which came into

force on February 10, 1971. A perusal of the Statement of

Objects and Reasons shows that in respect of such categories as

may be notified by the appropriate Government, in the light of the

prescribed criteria, the contract labour will be abolished and in

respect of the other categories the service conditions of the

contract labour will be regulated. Before concentrating on the

relevant provisions of the CLRA Act, it may be useful to have a

birds eye view of that Act. It contains seven chapters. Chapter I

has two sections; the first relates to the commencement and

application of the Act and the second defines the terms used

therein. Chapter II which has three sections provides for the

constitution of a Central Advisory Board by the Central

Government and a State Advisory Board by the State Government

and empowers the Boards to constitute various committees.

Chapter III contains regulatory provisions for registration of

establishments which employ contract labour. Section 10 which

prohibits the employment of contract labour falls in this chapter;

we shall revert to it presently. Chapter IV contains provisions for

purposes of licensing of Contractors to make sure that those who

undertake or execute any work through contract labour, adhere to

the terms and conditions of licences issued in that behalf. Power

is reserved for revocation, suspension and amendment of licenses

by the Licensing Officer and a provision is also made for appeal

against the order of the Licensing Officer. Chapter V takes care

of the welfare and health of contract labour obliging the

appropriate Government to make rules to ensure that the

requirements of canteen, rest-rooms and other facilities like

sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water at convenient

places, sufficient number of latrines and urinals accessible to the

contract labour in the establishment, washing facilities and the

first aid facilities, are complied with by the contractor. Where the

contractor fails to provide these facilities the principal employer is

enjoined to provide canteen, rest-rooms etc., mentioned above,

for the benefit of the contract labour. Though the contractor is

made responsible for payment of wages to each worker employed

by him as contract labour before the prescribed period yet for

effective implementation of this requirement, care is taken to

ensure presence of a nominee of the principal employer at the

time of the disbursement of wages. Here again, it is prescribed

that if the contractor fails to pay the wages to the contract labour,

the principal employer shall pay the full wages or unpaid wages,

as the case may be, to the contract labour and a right is conferred

on him to recover the same from the amount payable to the

contractor; if however, no amount is payable to him then such

amount is treated as a debt due by the contractor to the principal

employer. Chapter VI deals with the contravention of the

provisions of the Act, prescribes offences and lays down the

procedure for prosecution of the offenders. Chapter VII is titled

miscellaneous and it contains eight sections which need not be

elaborated here.

Now we shall advert to point No.1.

The learned Solicitor General for the appellant - principal

employer - has conceded that the State Government is the

appropriate Government in respect of the establishments of the

Central Government companies in question. Mr. Shanti Bhushan,

the learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents - contract

labour in these appeals, submitted that in view of the concession

made by the learned Solicitor General, he would not address the

Court on that aspect and prayed that the judgment and order of the

High Court, under appeal, be confirmed.

Mr. G.L. Sanghi, the learned senior counsel appearing for

the appellants in the appeals filed by the Food Corporation of

India (FCI)- principal employer-and Mr. K.K. Venugopal, the

learned senior counsel for the appellant - the principal employer -

in the appeals filed by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission

(ONGC) among others sail with the learned Solicitor General,

submitted that the appropriate Government on the relevant date

was the State Government and for that reason the notification

issued by the Central Government on December 9, 1976 was

never sought to be applied to the establishments of FCI and

ONGC but in view of the amendment of the definition of the

expression, appropriate Government with effect from January

28, 1986, the Central Government would thereafter be the

appropriate Government. The learned Additional Solicitor

General who appeared for Indian Farmers and Fertiliser Co-

operative Ltd. ( IFFCO) and Mr. B. Sen, the learned senior

counsel appearing for the appellant, adopted the arguments of the

learned Solicitor General on this point.

Ms. Indira Jaisingh, the learned senior counsel appearing

for the contract labour (respondents in the appeals filed by FCI),

argued that in the case of FCI the appropriate Government before

and after the notification issued by the Central Government on

January 28, 1986, was the Central Government.

Mr. K.K. Singhvi, the learned senior counsel for the

contract labour (respondents in the appeal of ONGC), has argued

that all Central Government Undertakings which fall within the

meaning of other authorities in Article 12 are agents or

instrumentalities of the State functioning under the authority of

the Central Government, as such the Central Government will be

the appropriate Government; the Heavy Engineerings case was

wrongly decided by the two Judge Bench of this Court which was

followed by a three-Judge Bench in the cases of Hindustan

Aeronautics Ltd. and Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh; in those

cases the judgments of this Court in Sukhdev Singhs case, Ajay

Hasias case, Central Inland Water Transport Corporations case,

C. V. Ramans case and R.D. Shetty International Airports case

were not considered; the approach of the Court in the Heavy

Engineerings case was based on private law interpretation and

that the approach of the Court ought to be based on public law

interpretation. It is submitted that in a catena of decisions of this

Court, it has been held that where there is deep and pervasive

control, a company registered under the Companies Act or a

society registered under the Societies Act would be State and,

therefore, it would satisfy the requirement of the definition of

appropriate Government. He contended that in Air Indias case

(supra) a three-Judge Bench of this Court had correctly decided

that for all the establishments of the Air India the Central

Government was the appropriate Government, which deserved to

be confirmed by us.

Notwithstanding the concession made by the learned

Solicitor General which has the support of Mr. Shanti Bhushan,

we cannot give a quietus to this issue as the other learned counsel

strenuously canvassed to the contra. We, therefore, propose to

decide this point in the light of the contentions put forth by the

other learned counsel.

To begin with the relevant provisions of Section 1 of the

CLRA Act which deals, inter alia, with its extent and

application, may be noticed here:

Section 1 -

(1) to (3) *** *** ***

(4) - It applies --

(a) to every establishment in which twenty or

more workmen are employed or were

employed on any day of the preceding

twelve months as contract labour;

(b) to every contractor who employs or who

employed on any day of the preceding twelve

months twenty or more workmen :

Provided that the appropriate Government may,

after giving not less than two months notice of its

intention so to do, by notification in the Official

Gazette, apply the provisions of this Act to any

establishment or contractor employing such

number of workmen less than twenty as may be

specified in the notification.

(5)(a) It shall not apply to establishments in which

work only of an intermittent or casual

nature is performed.

(b) If a question arises whether work performed in

an establishment is of an intermittent or casual

nature, the appropriate Government shall decide

the question after consultation with the Central

Board or, as the case may be, a State Board, and

its decision shall be final.

Explanation : For the purpose of this sub-section,

work performed in an establishment shall not be

deemed to be of an intermittent nature --

(i) if it was performed for more than one

hundred and twenty days in the preceding

twelve months, or

(ii) if it is of a seasonal character and is

performed for more than sixty days in a

year.

A perusal of this section brings out that CLRA Act applies

to every establishment and every contractor of the specified

description. However, the establishments in which work only of

an intermittent or casual nature is performed are excluded from

the purview of the Act.

We shall also refer to definitions of relevant terms in sub-

section (1) of Section 2 which contains interpretation clauses.

Clause (a) defines the expression appropriate Government thus :

2(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise

requires --

(a) appropriate Government means --

(i) in relation to an establishment in

respect of which the appropriate

Government under the Industrial

Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947)

is the Central Government, the

Central Government;

(ii) in relation to any other

establishment, the Government

of the State in which that other

establishment is situated.

Addressing to the definition of appropriate Government,

it may be pointed out that clause (a) of Section 2(1) was

substituted by the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition)

Amendment Act, 1986 with effect from January 28, 1986. Before

the said amendment, the definition read as under :

2(1). (a) appropriate Government means --

(i) in relation to any establishment

pertaining to any industry carried

on by or under the authority of

the Central Government, or

pertaining to any such controlled

industry as may be specified in

this behalf by the Central

Government; or

(ii) any establishment of any

railway, Cantonment Board,

major port, mine or oil-field, or

(iii) any establishment of a banking

or insurance company,

the Central Government,

(2) in relation to any other establishment the

Government of the State in which that other

establishment is situated.

A plain reading of the unamended definition shows that the

Central Government will be the appropriate Government if the

establishment in question answers the description given in sub-

clauses (i) to (iii). And in relation to any other establishment, the

Government of the State, in which the establishment in question

is situated, will be the appropriate Government. So far as sub-

clauses (ii) and (iii) are concerned, they present no difficulty.

The discussion has centred round sub-clause (i). It may be seen

that sub-clause (i) has two limbs. The first limb takes in an

establishment pertaining to any industry carried on by or under the

authority of the Central Government and the second limb

embraces such controlled industries as may be specified in that

behalf by the Central Government.

Before embarking upon the discussion on the first limb, it

will be apt to advert to the amended definition of appropriate

Government which bears the same meaning as given in clause

(a) of Section 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act, quoted hereunder:

2. (a) appropriate Government means --

(i) in relation to any industrial disputes

concerning any industry carried on by or under

the authority of the Central Government or by a

railway company [or concerning any such

controlled industry as may be specified in this

behalf by the Central Government] or in relation

to an industrial dispute concerning [a Dock

Labour Board established under section 5-A of

the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment)

Act, 1948 (9 of 1948), or [the Industrial Finance

Corporation of India Limited formed and

registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of

1956)], or the Employees State Insurance

Corporation established under section 3 of the

Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 (34 of

1948), or the Board of trustees constituted under

section 3-A of the Coal Mines Provident Fund

and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948 (46 of

1948), or the Central Board of Trustees and the

State Boards of Trustees constituted under

section 5-A and section 5-B, respectively, of the

Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous

Provisions Act, 1952 (19 of 1952), or the Life

Insurance Corporation Act, 1956 (31 of 1956),

or [the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited

registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of

1956)], or the Deposit Insurance and Credit

Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation

established under section 3 of the Deposit

Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation

Act, 1961 (47 of 1961), or the Central

Warehousing Corporation established under

section 3 of the Warehousing Corporations Act,

1962 (58 of 1962), or the Unit Trust of India

established under section 3 of the Unit Trust of

India Act, 1963 (52 of 1963), or the Food

Corporation of India established under section 3,

or a Board of Management established for two

or more contiguous States under section 16 of

the Food Corporations Act, 1964 (37 of 1964),

or [the Airports Authority of India constituted

under section 3 of the Airports Authority of

India Act, 1994 (55 of 1994)], or a Regional

Rural Bank established under section 3 of the

Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 (21 of 1976), or

the Export Credit and Guarantee Corporation

Limited or the Industrial Reconstruction

Corporation of India Limited], or [the National

Housing Bank established under section 3 of the

National Housing Bank Act, 1987 (53 of 1987)

or [the Banking Service Commission established

under section 3 of the Banking Service

Commission Act, 1975,] or [an air transport

service, or a banking or an insurance company],

a mine, an oil field], (a Cantonment Board] or a

major port, the Central Government; and

(ii) in relation to any other industrial dispute,

the State Government;

An analysis of this provision shows that the Central

Government will be the appropriate Government in relation to an

industrial dispute concerning :

(1) any industry carried on by or under the authority of

the Central Government, or by a railway company;

or

(2) any such controlled industry as may be specified in

this behalf by the Central Government; or

(3) the enumerated industries (which form part of the

definition quoted above and need not be reproduced

here).

What is evident is that the phrase any industry carried on

by or under the authority of the Central Government is a

common factor in both the unamended as well as the amended

definition.

It is a well-settled proposition of law that the function of

the Court is to interpret the Statute to ascertain the intent of the

legislature-Parliament. Where the language of the Statute is clear

and explicit the Court must give effect to it because in that case

words of the Statute unequivocally speak the intention of the

legislature. This rule of literal interpretation has to be adhered to

and a provision in the Statute has to be understood in its

ordinary natural sense unless the Court finds that the provision

sought to be interpreted is vague or obscurely worded in which

event the other principles of interpretation may be called in aid. A

plain reading of the said phrase, under interpretation, shows that it

is lucid and clear. There is no obscurity, no ambiguity and no

abstruseness. Therefore the words used therein must be

construed in their natural ordinary meaning as commonly

understood.

We are afraid we cannot accept the contention that in

construing that expression or for that matter any of the provisions

of the CLRA Act, the principle of literal interpretation has to be

discarded as it represents common law approach applicable only

to private law field and has no relevance when tested on the anvil

of Article 14, and instead the principle of public law interpretation

should be adopted. To accept that contention, in our view, would

amount to abandoning a straight route and oft treaded road in an

attempt to create a pathway in a wilderness which can only lead

astray. We have not come across any principles of public law

interpretation as opposed to private law interpretation for

interpreting a statute either in any authoritative treatise on

interpretation of statutes or in pronouncement of any Court nor is

any authority of this Court or any other Court brought to our

notice. We may, however, mention that there does exist a

distinction between public law and private law. This has been

succinctly brought out by the Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Woolf (as he

then was, now Lord Woolf) in The Second Harry Street Lecture

delivered in the University of Manchester on February 19, 1986.

The learned Law Lord stated :

I regard public law as being the system which

enforces the proper performance by public

bodies of the duties which they owe to the

public. I regard private law as being the system

which protects the private rights of private

individuals or the private rights of public

bodies. The critical distinction arises out of the

fact that it is the public as a whole, or in the

case of local government the public in the

locality, who are the beneficiaries of what is

protected by public law and it is the individuals

or bodies entitled to the rights who are the

beneficiaries of the protection provided by

private law.

The divide between the public law and the private law is

material in regard to the remedies which could be availed when

enforcing the rights, public or private, but not in regard to

interpretation of the Statutes. We are not beset with the

procedural mandate as in the R.S.C. Order 53 of 1977 of England

which was the subject matter of consideration by the House of

Lords in OReilly Vs. Mackman . In that case the appellant

sought declaration by ordinary action that the order passed by the

Prisons Board of visitors awarding penalty against him was void

and of no effect. The House of Lords, dismissing the appeal filed

against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, held that where a

public law issue arises, the proceedings should be brought by

judicial review under R.S.C. Order 53 and not by private law

action which would be abuse of the process of court.

Now, going back to the definition of the said expression, it

combines three alternatives, viz., (a) any industry carried on by

the Central Government; (b) any industry carried on under the

authority of the Central Government; and (c) any industry

carried on by a railway company. Alternatives (a) and (c)

indicate cases of any industry carried on directly by the Central

Government or a railway company. They are too clear to admit of

any polemic. In regard to alternative (b), surely, an industry

being carried on under the authority of the Central Government

cannot be equated with any industry carried on by the Central

Government itself. This leaves us to construe the words under

the authority of the Central Government. The key word in them

is authority.

The relevant meaning of the word authority in the

Concise Oxford Dictionary is delegated power. In Blacks Law

Dictionary the meanings of the word authority are: permission;

right to exercise powers -- often synonymous with power. The

power delegated by a principal to his agent. The lawful

delegation of power by one person to another. Power of agent to

affect legal relations of principal by acts done in accordance with

principals manifestations of consent to agent. In Corpus Juris

Secundum (at p.1290) the following are the meanings of the term

authority: in its broad general sense, the word has been defined

as meaning control over; power; jurisdiction; power to act,

whether original or delegated. The word is frequently used to

express derivative power; and in this sense, the word may be used

as meaning instructions, permission, power delegated by one

person to another, the result of the manifestations by the former to

the latter of the formers consent that the latter shall act for him,

authority in this sense --- in the laws of at least one state, it has

been similarly used as designating or meaning an agency for the

purpose of carrying out a state duty or function; some one to

whom by law a power has been given. In Words and Phrases we

find various shades of meaning of the word authority at pp.603,

606, 612 and 613: Authority, as the word is used throughout the

Restatement, is the power of one person to affect the legal

relations of another by acts done in accordance with the others

manifestations of consent to him; an agency of one or more

participating governmental units created by statute for specific

purpose of having delegated to it certain functions governmental

in character; the lawful delegation of power by one person to

another; power of agent to affect legal relations of principal by

acts done in accordance with principals manifestations of consent

to him.

From the above discussion, it follows that the phrase any

industry carried on under the authority of the Central

Government implies an industry which is carried on by virtue of,

pursuant to, conferment of, grant of, or delegation of power or

permission by the Central Government to a Central Government

Company or other Govt. company/undertaking. To put it

differently, if there is lack of conferment of power or permission

by the Central Government to a government company or

undertaking, it would disable such a company/undertaking to

carry on the industry in question.

In interpreting the said phrase, support is sought to be

drawn by the learned counsel for the contract labour from the

cases laying down the principles as to under what circumstances a

Government company or undertaking will fall within the meaning

of State or other authorities in Article 12 of the Constitution.

We shall preface our discussion of those cases by indicating that

for purposes of enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed in

Part III of the Constitution the question whether a Government

Company or undertaking is State within the meaning of Article

12 is germane. It is important to notice that in these cases the

pertinent question is appropriateness of the Government - which is

the appropriate Government within the meaning of CLRA Act;

whether, the Central or the State Government, is the appropriate

Government in regard to the industry carried on by the

Central/State Government Company or any undertaking and not

whether such Central/State Government company or undertaking

come within the meaning of Article 12. The word State is

defined in Article 12 which is quoted in the footnote.

In Sukhdev Singh & Ors. vs. Bhagatram Sardar Singh

Raghuvanshi & Anr. , this Court, in the context whether service

Regulations framed by statutory corporations have the force of

law, by majority, held that the statutory corporations, like ONGC,

IFFCO, LIC established under different statutes fell under other

authorities and were, therefore, State within the meaning of

that term in Article 12 of the Constitution. The Court took into

consideration the following factors, (a) they were owned,

managed and could also be dissolved by the Central Government;

(b) they were completely under the control of the Central

Government and (c) they were performing public or statutory

duties for the benefit of the public and not for private profit; and

concluded that they were in effect acting as the agencies of the

Central Government and the service Regulations made by them

had the force of law, which would be enforced by the Court by

declaring that the dismissal of an employee of the corporation in

violation of the Regulations, was void.

In Ramanna Dayaram Shetty vs. The International Airport

of India & Ors. , a three-Judge Bench of this Court laid down that

Corporations created by the Government for setting up and

management of public enterprises and carrying out public

functions, act as instrumentalities of the Government; they would

be subject to the same limitations in the field of constitutional and

administrative laws as Government itself, though in the eye of

law they would be distinct and independent legal entities. There,

this Court was enforcing the mandate of Article 14 of the

Constitution against the respondent - a Central Govt. Corporation.

Managing Director, U.P.Warehousing Corporation & Anr.

Vs. Vinay Narayan Vajpayee dealt with a case of dismissal of the

respondent-employee of the appellant-Corporation in violation

of the principles of natural justice. There also the Court held the

Corporation to be an instrumentality of the State and extended

protection of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution to the

employee taking the view that when the Government is bound to

observe the equality clause in the matter of employment the

corporations set up and owned by the Government are equally

bound by the same discipline.

In Ajay Hasia etc. Vs. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi & Ors.

etc. , the question decided by a Constitution Bench of this

Court was: whether Jammu & Kashmir Regional Engineering

College, Srinagar, registered as a society under the Jammu &

Kashmir Registration of Societies Act, 1898, was State within

the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution so as to be

amenable to writ jurisdiction of the High Court. Having

examined the Memorandum of Association and the Rules of the

Society, the Court decided that the control of the State and the

Central Government was deep and pervasive and the society was a

mere projection of the State and the Central Government and it

was, therefore, an instrumentality or agency of the State and

Central Government and as such an authority-state within the

meaning of Article 12.

The principle laid down in the aforementioned cases that if

the government acting through its officers was subject to certain

constitutional limitations, a fortiorari the government acting

through the instrumentality or agency of a corporation should

equally be subject to the same limitations, was approved by the

Constitution Bench and it was pointed out that otherwise it would

lead to considerable erosion of the efficiency of the Fundamental

Rights, for in that event the government would be enabled to

override the Fundamental Rights by adopting the stratagem of

carrying out its function through the instrumentality or agency of

a corporation while retaining control over it. That principle has

been consistently followed and reiterated in all subsequent cases -

- See Delhi Transport Corpn. Vs. D.T.C. Mazdoor Congress &

Ors. , Som Prakash Rekhi Vs. Union of India & Anr. ,

Manmohan Singh Jaitla etc. Vs. Commr., Union Territory of

Chandigarh & Ors. etc. , P.K. Ramachandra Iyer & Ors. etc. Vs.

Union of India & Ors. etc. , A.L. Kalra Vs. Project and

Equipment Corpn. Of India Ltd. , Central Inland Water Transport

Corpn. Ltd. & Anr. etc. Vs. Brojo Nath Ganguly & Anr. etc. ,

C.V. Raman Vs. Management of Bank of India & Anr. etc. ,

Lucknow Development Authority Vs. M.K. Gupta , M/s Star

Enterprises and Ors. Vs. City and Industrial Development Corpn.

of Maharashtra Ltd. & Ors. , LIC of India & Anr. Vs. Consumer

Education & Research Centre & Ors. and G.B. Mahajan & Ors.

Vs. Jalgaon Municipal Council & Ors. . We do not propose to

burden this judgment by adding to the list and referring to each

case separately.

We wish to clear the air that the principle, while

discharging public functions and duties the Govt.

Companies/Corporations/Societies which are instrumentalities or

agencies of the Government must be subjected to the same

limitations in the field of public law -- constitutional or

administrative law -- as the Government itself, does not lead to

the inference that they become agents of the Centre/State

Government for all purposes so as to bind such Government for

all their acts, liabilities and obligations under various Central

and/or State Acts or under private law.

From the above discussion, it follows that the fact of being

instrumentality of a Central/State Govt. or being State within

the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution cannot be

determinative of the question as to whether an industry carried on

by a Company/Corporation or an instrumentality of the Govt. is

by or under the authority of the Central Government for the

purpose of or within the meaning of the definition of appropriate

Government in the CLRA Act. Take the case of a State

Government corporation/company/undertaking set up and owned

by the State Government which is an instrumentality or agency of

the State Government and is engaged in carrying on an industry,

can it be assumed that the industry is carried on under the

authority of the Central Government, and in relation to any

industrial dispute concerning the industry can it be said that the

appropriate Government is the Central Government? We think

the answer must be in the negative. In the above example if, as a

fact, any industry is carried on by the State Government

undertaking under the authority of the Central Government, then

in relation to any industrial dispute concerning that industry, the

appropriate Government will be the Central Government. This is

so not because it is agency or instrumentality of the Central

Government but because the industry is carried on by the State

Govt. Company/Corporation/Undertaking under the authority of

the Central Government. In our view, the same reasoning applies

to a Central Government undertaking as well. Further, the

definition of establishment in CLRA Act takes in its fold purely

private undertakings which cannot be brought within the meaning

of Article 12 of the Constitution. In such a case how is

appropriate Government determined for the purposes of CLRA

Act or Industrial Disputes Act? In our view, the test which is

determinative is: whether the industry carried on by the

establishment in question is under the authority of the Central

Govt? Obviously, there cannot be one test for one part of

definition of establishment and another test for another part.

Thus, it is clear that the criterion is whether an

undertaking/instrumentality of Government is carrying on an

industry under the authority of the Central Government and not

whether the undertaking is instrumentality or agency of the

Government for purposes of Article 12 of the Constitution, be it of

Central Government or State Government.

There cannot be any dispute that all the Central

Government companies with which we are dealing here are not

and cannot be equated to Central Government though they may be

State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution. We

have held above that being the instrumentality or agency of the

Central Government would not by itself amount to having the

authority of the Central Government to carry on that particular

industry. Therefore, it will be incorrect to say that in relation to

any establishment of a Central Government

Company/undertaking, the appropriate Government will be the

Central Government. To hold that the Central Government is the

appropriate Government in relation to an establishment, the court

must be satisfied that the particular industry in question is carried

on by or under the authority of the Central Government. If this

aspect is kept in mind it would be clear that the Central

Government will be the appropriate Government under the

CLRA Act and the I.D.Act provided the industry in question is

carried on by a Central Government company/an undertaking

under the authority of the Central Government. Such an authority

may be conferred, either by a Statute or by virtue of relationship

of principal and agent or delegation of power. Where the

authority, to carry on any industry for or on behalf of the Central

Government, is conferred on the Government company/any

undertaking by the Statute under which it is created, no further

question arises. But, if it is not so, the question that arises is

whether there is any conferment of authority on the Government

company/ any undertaking by the Central Government to carry on

the industry in question. This is a question of fact and has to be

ascertained on the facts and in the circumstances of each case.

We shall refer to the cases of this Court on this point.

In Heavy Engineering Mazdoor Union vs. State of Bihar &

Ors. the said expression (appropriate Government) came up for

consideration. The Heavy Engineering Corporation is a Central

Government company. The President of India appoints Directors

of the company and the Central Government gives directions as

regards the functioning of the company. When disputes arose

between the workmen and the management of the company, the

Government of Bihar referred the disputes to the Industrial

Tribunal for adjudication. The union of the workmen raised an

objection that the appropriate Government in that case was the

Central Government, therefore, reference of the disputes to the

Industrial Tribunal for adjudication by the State Government was

incompetent. A two-Judge Bench of this Court elaborately dealt

with the question of appropriate Government and concluded that

the mere fact that the entire share capital was contributed by the

Central Government and the fact that all its shares were held by

the President of India and certain officers of the Central

Government, would not make any difference. It was held that in

the absence of a statutory provision, a commercial corporation

acting on its own behalf even though it was controlled, wholly or

partially, by a Government Department would be ordinarily

presumed not to be a servant or agent of the State. It was,

however, clarified that an inference that the corporation was the

agent of the Government might be drawn where it was performing

in substance Governmental and not commercial functions. It must

be mentioned here that in the light of the judgments of this Court,

referred to above, it is difficult to agree with the distinction

between a governmental activity and commercial function of

government companies set up and owned by government, insofar

as their function in the realm of public law are concerned.

However, the contention that the decision in that case is based

on concession of the counsel for the appellant is misconceived.

This Court summed up the submission in para 4 thus :

The undertaking, therefore, is not one

carried on directly by the Central

Government or by any one of its departments

as in the case of posts and telegraphs or the

railways. It was, therefore, rightly conceded

both in the High Court as also before us that

it is not an industry carried on by the Central

Government. That being the position, the

question then is, is the undertaking carried

on under the authority of the Central

Government?

It is evident that the concession was with regard to the fact that it

was not an industry carried on by the Central Government and not

in regard to was the undertaking carried on under the authority of

the Central Government? Indeed that was the question decided

by the Court on contest and it was held that the undertaking was

not carried on by the Central Government company under the

authority of the Central Government and that the appropriate

Government in that case was the State Government and not the

Central Government. From the above discussion, it is evident that

the Court correctly posed the question- whether the State Govt. or

the Central Govt. was the appropriate Government and rightly

answered it.

In M/s. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Vs. The Workmen &

Ors. , this Court was called upon to decide the question as to

whether the expression appropriate Government, as defined in

Section 2(a)(i) of the Industrial Disputes Act, was the State

Government or the Central Government. In that case dispute arose

between the management of the Barrackpore branch (West

Bengal) of the appellant and its employees. The Governor of

West Bengal referred the dispute to Industrial Tribunal under

Section 10 of the I.D. Act. The competence of the State

Government to make the reference was called in question. A

three-Judge Bench of this Court, relying on the decision in Heavy

Engineerings case (supra), held that the reference was valid. The

Court took note of the factors, viz; if there is any disturbance of

industrial peace at Barrackpore where a considerable number of

workmen were working, the appropriate Government concerned

in the maintenance of the industrial peace was the West Bengal

Government; that Barrackpore industry was a separate unit; the

cause of action in relation to the industrial dispute arose at

Barrackpore. Having regard to the definitions of the terms

appropriate Government and establishment, in Section 2 of

CLRA Act, it cannot be said that the factors which weighed with

the Court were irrelevant. It was also pointed out therein that

from time to time certain statutory corporations were included in

the definition but no public company of which the shares were

exclusively owned by the Government, was roped in the

definition. What we have expressed above about Heavy

Engineerings case (supra) will, equally apply here.

The aforementioned phrase an industry carried on by or

under the authority of the Central Government again fell for

consideration of a three-Judge Bench of this Court in Rashtriya

Mill Mazdoor Sangh, Nagpur vs. Model Mills, Nagpur & Anr. .

The case arose in the context of Section 32(iv) of the Payment of

Bonus Act, 1965, which provides that nothing in that Act shall

apply to employees employed by an establishment engaged in any

industry carried on by or under the authority of any department of

the Central Government or a State Government or a local

authority. Under Section 18-A of the Industries (Development

and Regulation) Act, 1951, the Central Government appointed an

authorised Controller to replace the management of the

respondent - Model Mills. That was done to give effect to the

directives issued by the Central Government under Section 16 of

the said Act. On behalf of the respondent it was contended that

substitution of the management by the Controller appointed under

Section 18-A of the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act

would tantamount to the industry being run under the authority of

the department of the Central Government. Negativing the

contention it was held :

While exercising power of giving directions

under Section 16 the existing management is

subjected to regulatory control, failing which

the management has to be replaced to carry

out the directions. In either case the industrial

undertaking retains its identity, personality

and status unchanged. On a pure grammatical

construction of sub-section (4) of Section 32,

it cannot be said that on the appointment of

an authorised controller the industrial

undertaking acquires the status of being

engaged in any industry carried on under the

authority of the department of the Central

Government.

Food Corporation of India, Bombays case (supra) is the

only case which arose directly under the CLRA Act. The Food

Corporation of India (FCI) engaged, inter alia, the contract labour

for handling of foodgrains. Complaining that their case for

departmentalisation was not being considered either by the

Central Government or by the State Government, nor were they

extended the benefits conferred by the CLRA Act, a

representative action was initiated in this Court by filing a writ

petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking a writ of

mandamus against the Central/State Government to abolish

contract labour and to extend them the benefits under that Act.

The FCI resisted the claim for abolition of contract labour on the

ground that the operations of loading/unloading foodgrains were

seasonal, sporadic and varied from region to region. However, it

pleaded that the State Government and not the Central

Government was the appropriate Government under the CLRA

Act. In view of the unamended definition of the expression

appropriate Government under CLRA Act, which was in force

on the relevant date, it was pointed out that the FCI was not

included in the definition by name as it was done under the

Industrial Disputes Act. Following the judgment of this Court in

Heavy Engineerings case (supra) and referring to the decision of

this Court in Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sanghs case (supra), the

Court took the view that the same principle would govern the

interpretation of the expression appropriate Government in the

CLRA Act and held that the State Government was the

appropriate Government pertaining to the regional offices and

warehouses which were situate in various States. We find no

illegality either in the approach or in the conclusion arrived at by

the Court in these cases.

It was in that background of the case law that the Air

Indias case (supra) came to be decided by a three-Judge Bench of

this Court. The Air India Corporation engaged contract labour

for sweeping, cleaning, dusting and watching of the buildings

owned and occupied by it. The Central Government having

consulted the Central Advisory Board constituted under Section

3(1) of the CLRA Act issued notification under Section 10(1) of

the Act prohibiting employment of contract labour on and from

9.12.1976 for sweeping, cleaning, dusting and watching of the

buildings owned or occupied by the establishment in respect of

which the appropriate Government under the said Act is the

Central Government. However, the Regional Labour

Commissioner, Bombay opined that the State Government was

the appropriate Government under the CLRA Act. The

respondent-Union filed writ petition in the High Court at Bombay

seeking a writ of mandamus to the appellant to enforce the said

notification prohibiting employment of contract labour and for a

direction to absorb all the contract labour doing sweeping,

cleaning, dusting and watching of the buildings owned or

occupied by the Air India with effect from the respective dates of

their joining as contract labour with all consequential

rights/benefits. A learned Single Judge of the High Court allowed

the writ petition on November 16, 1989 and directed that all the

contract labour should be regularised as employees of the

appellant from the date of filing of the writ petition. On appeal,

the Division Bench, by order dated April 3, 1992, confirmed the

judgment of the learned Single Judge and dismissed the appeal.

On further appeal to this Court, it was held that the word control

was required to be interpreted in the changing commercial

scenario broadly in keeping with the constitutional goals and

perspectives; the interpretation must be based on some rational

and relevant principles and that the public law interpretation is the

basic tool of interpretation in that behalf relegating common law

principles to purely private law field. In that view of the matter, it

concluded that the two-Judge Bench decision in Heavy

Engineerings case narrowly interpreted the expression

appropriate Government on the common law principles which

would no longer bear any relevance when it was tested on the

anvil of Article 14. It noted that in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.,

Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh and Food Corporation of India, the

ratio of Heavy Engineering formed the foundation but in

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. there was no independent

consideration except repetition and approval of the ratio of Heavy

Engineering case which was based on concession; in Food

Corporation of India, the Court proceeded on the premise that

warehouses of the corporation were situate within the jurisdiction

of the different State Governments and that led to conclude that

the appropriate Government would be the State Government.

Thus, distinguishing the aforementioned decisions, it was held

therein (Air Indias case) that from the inception of the CLRA Act

the appropriate Government was the Central Government.

We have held above that in the case of a Central

Government company/undertaking, an instrumentality of the

Government, carrying on an industry, the criteria to determine

whether the Central Government is the appropriate Government

within the meaning of the CLRA Act, is that the industry must be

carried on by or under the authority of the Central Government

and not that the company/undertaking is an instrumentality or an

agency of the Central Government for purposes of Article 12 of

the Constitution; such an authority may be conferred either by a

statute or by virtue of relationship of principal and agent or

delegation of power and this fact has to be ascertained on the facts

and in the circumstances of each case. In view of this conclusion,

with due respect, we are unable to agree with the view expressed

by the learned Judges on interpretation of the expression

appropriate Government in Air Indias case (supra). Point No.1

is answered accordingly.

Point No.2 relates to the validity of the notification issued

by the Central Government under Section 10(1) of the Contract

Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, dated December 9,

1976. The main contention against the validity of the notification

is that an omnibus notification like the impugned notification

would be contrary to the requirements of Section 10 of the CLRA

Act and is illustrative of non-application of mind.

It would be profitable to refer to Section 10 of the Act :

10. Prohibition of employment of contract

labour -

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act,

the appropriate Government may, after

consultation with the Central Board or, as the case

may be, a State Board, prohibit, by notification in

the Official Gazette, employment of contract

labour in any process, operation or other work in

any establishment.

(2) Before issuing any notification under sub-section

(1) in relation to an establishment, the appropriate

Government shall have regard to the conditions of

work and benefits provided for the contract labour

in that establishment and other relevant factors,

such as --

(a) whether the process, operation or other work

is incidental to, or necessary for the industry,

trade, business, manufacture or occupation

that is carried on in the establishment;

(b) whether it is of perennial nature, that is to

say, it is of sufficient duration having regard

to the nature of industry, trade, business,

manufacture or occupation carried on in that

establishment;

(c) whether it is done ordinarily through regular

workmen in that establishment or an

establishment similar thereto;

(d) whether it is sufficient to employ

considerable number of whole-time

workmen.

Explanation : If a question arises whether any process

or operation or other work is of perennial nature, the

decision of the appropriate Government thereon shall

be final.

A careful reading of Section 10 makes it evident that sub-

section (1) commences with a non obstante clause and overrides

the other provisions of the CLRA Act in empowering the

appropriate Government to prohibit by notification in the Official

Gazette, after consultation with Central Advisory Board/State

Advisory Board, as the case may be, employment of contract

labour in any process, operation or other work in any

establishment. Before issuing notification under sub-section (1)

in respect of an establishment the appropriate Government is

enjoined to have regard to: (i) the conditions of work; (ii) the

benefits provided for the contract labour; and (iii) other relevant

factors like those specified in clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section (2).

Under clause (a) the appropriate Government has to ascertain

whether the process, operation or other work proposed to be

prohibited is incidental to, or necessary for the industry, trade,

business, manufacture or occupation that is carried on in the

establishment; clause (b) requires the appropriate Government to

determine whether it is of perennial nature, that is to say, it is of

sufficient duration having regard to the nature of industry, trade,

business, manufacture or occupation carried on in that

establishment; clause (c) contemplates a verification by the

appropriate Government as to whether that type of work is done

ordinarily through regular workmen in that establishment or an

establishment similar thereto; and clause (d) requires verification

as to whether the work in that establishment is sufficient to

employ considerable number of whole-time workmen. The list is

not exhaustive. The appropriate Government may also take into

consideration other relevant factors of the nature enumerated in

sub-section (2) of Section 10 before issuing notification under

Section 10(1) of the CLRA Act.

The definition of establishment given in Section 2(e) of

the CLRA Act is as follows:

In clause (e) - establishment is defined to

mean -

(i) any office or department of the

Government or a local authority, or

(ii) any place where any industry, trade,

business, manufacture or occupation is

carried on.

The definition is in two parts : the first part takes in its

fold any office or department of the Government or local authority

- the Government establishment; and the second part

encompasses any place where any industry, trade, business,

manufacture or occupation is carried on - the non-Govt.

establishment. It is thus evident that there can be plurality of

establishments in regard to the Government or local authority and

also in regard to any place where any industry, trade, business,

manufacture or occupation is carried on.

Now, reading the definition of establishment in Section

10, the position that emerges is that before issuing notification

under sub-section (1) an appropriate Government is required to:

(i) consult the Central Board/State Board; (ii) consider the

conditions of work and benefits provided for the contract labour

and (iii) take note of the factors such as mentioned in clauses (a)

to (d) of sub-section (2) of Section 10, referred to above, with

reference to any office or department of the Government or local

authority or any place where any industry, trade, business,

manufacture or occupation is carried on. These being the

requirement of Section 10 of the Act, we shall examine whether

the impugned notification fulfils these essentials.

The impugned notification issued by the Central

Government on December 9, 1976, reads as under :

S.O.No.779(E) 8/9.12.76 in exercise of the

power conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section

10 of the Contract Labour (Regulation and

Abolition) Act, 1970 (37 of 1970) the Central

Government after consultation with the Central

Advisory Contract Labour Board hereby

prohibits employment of contract labour on an

from the 1st March, 1977, for sweeping,

cleaning, dusting and watching of buildings

owned or occupied by the establishments in

respect of which the appropriate Government

under the said Act is the Central Government.

Provided that this notification shall not only

apply to the outside cleaning and other

maintenance operations of multi-storeyed

buildings where such cleaning or maintenance

operations cannot be carried out except with

specialised experience.

A glance through the said notification, makes it manifest that

with effect from March 1, 1977, it prohibits employment of

contract labour for sweeping, cleaning, dusting and watching of

buildings owned or occupied by establishment in respect of which

the appropriate Government under the said Act is the Central

Government. This clearly indicates that the Central Government

had not adverted to any of the essentials, referred to above, except

the requirement of consultation with the Central Advisory Board.

Consideration of the factors mentioned above has to be in respect

of each establishment, whether individually or collectively, in

respect of which notification under sub-section 1 of Section 10 is

proposed to be issued. The impugned notification apart from

being an omnibus notification does not reveal compliance of sub-

section (2) of Section 10. This is ex facie contrary to the

postulates of Section 10 of the Act. Besides it also exhibits non-

application of mind by the Central Government. We are,

therefore, unable to sustain the said impugned notification dated

December 9, 1976 issued by the Central Government.

Point No.3 remains to be considered. This is the moot

point which generated marathon debate and is indeed an important

one.

The learned Solicitor General contended that contract

labour had been in vogue for quite some time past; having regard

to the abuses of the contract labour system, the CLRA Act was

enacted by the Parliament to regulate the employment of contract

labour and to cause its abolition in an establishment when the

given circumstances exist; prior to the Act no mandamus could

have been issued by courts creating relationship of employer and

the employee between the principal employer and the contract

labour and the Act did not alter that position. When the principal

employer entrusts the work to a contractor there will be principal

to principal relationship between them as such the work force of

the contractor cannot be said to be the employees of the

establishment. It was argued that under the Specific Relief Act a

contract of employment could not be enforced specifically much

less can a new contract of employment between the principal

employer and the contract labour be created by the court. He has

also pointed out that in every government company/establishment

which is an instrumentality of the State there are service rules

governing the appointment of staff providing among other things

for equality of opportunity to all aspirants for posts in such

establishments, calling for candidates from the employment

exchange and the reservation in favour of Scheduled

Castes/Scheduled Tribes/other Backward Classes, so a direction

by the court to absorb the contract labour en bloc could be

complied with only in breach of the statutory service rules. He

has further contended that conceding that the CLRA Act is a

beneficial legislation, the benefits which the Parliament thought it

fit to confer on the contract labour are specified in the Act and the

court by way of interpretation cannot add to those benefits.

The contentions of Mr. G.L. Sanghi for the principal

employer are : that there was never the relationship of master and

servant between the F.C.I. and the contract labour; the various

provisions of the Act which require the contractor to maintain

canteen, rest-rooms and other facilities like a sufficient supply of

wholesome drinking water at convenient places, sufficient number

of latrines and urinals accessible to the contract
7th January 2008 From India, New Delhi
Dear Hari
Greeting
Thank you very much for producing a outstanding judgement for HR Manager in the SAIL Case, Kindly tell the CITE HR Community the gist of the case and its implication in the current scenario in a nutshell.
Cheers
Trisha
HR Professional

7th January 2008 From India, New Delhi
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