The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

The Scheme of the Act

Section 1. Short title, extent and application

(1) This Act may be called the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

(2) It extends to l[the whole of India.]

2[(3) It applies to every industrial establishment wherein one hundred or more workmen are employed, or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months:

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 industrial establishment employing such number of persons less than one hundred as may be specified in the notification.].

3[(4) Nothing in this Act shall apply to-

(i) any industry to which the provisions of Chapter VII of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946 (11 of 1947) apply; or

(ii) any industrial establishment to which the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961 (26 of 1961) apply:

PROVIDED that notwithstanding anything contained in the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961 (26 of 1961), the provisions of this Act shall apply to all industrial establishments under the control of the Central Government.]

Section 2. Interpretation

In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context-

4[(a) “appellate authority” means an authority appointed by the appropriate government by notification in the Official Gazette to exercise in such area as may be specified in the notification the functions of an appellate authority under this Act:

PROVIDED that in relation to an appeal pending before an Industrial Court or other authority immediately before the commencement of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Amendment Act, 1963 (39 of 1963), that court or authority shall be deemed to be the appellate authority;]

(b) “appropriate government” means in respect of industrial establishments under the control of the Central Government or a Railway administration or in a major port, mine, or oil-field, the Central Government, and in all other cases, the State Government:

5[PROVIDED that where any question arises as to whether any industrial establishment is under the control of the Central Government, that Government may, either on a reference made to it by the employer or the workman or a trade union or other representative body of the workmen, or on its own motion and after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, decided the question and such decision shall be final and binding on the parties;]

2[(c) “Certifying Officer” means a Labor Commissioner or a Regional Labor Commissioner, and includes any other officer appointed by the appropriate government, by notification in the Official Gazette, to perform all or any of the functions of a Certifying Officer under this Act;]

(d) “employer” means the owner of an industrial establishment to which this Act for the time being applies, and includes-

(i) in a factory, any person named under 2[clause (f) of sub-section (1) of section 7 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948), as manager of the factory;

(ii) in any industrial establishment under the control of any department of any Government in India, the authority appointed by such Government in this behalf, or where no authority is so appointed, the head of the department;

(iii) in any other industrial establishment, any person responsible to the owner for the supervision and control of the industrial establishment;

(e) “industrial establishment” means-

(i) an industrial establishment as defined in clause (ii) of section 2 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (4 of 1936); or

2[(ii) a factory as defined in clause (m) of section 2 of the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948); or]

(iii) a railway as defined in clause (4) of section 2 of the Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890), or

(iv) the establishment of a person who, for the purpose of fulfilling a contract with the owner of any industrial establishment, employee’s workmen:

(f) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the appropriate government under this Act;

(g) “standing orders” means rules relating to matters set out in the Schedule;

(h) “trade union” means a trade union for the time being registered under the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (16 of 1926);

6[(i) “wages” and “workman” have the meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (rr) and (s) of section 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947).]

Section 3. Submission of draft standing orders

(1) Within six months from the date on which this Act becomes applicable to an industrial establishment, the employer shall submit to the Certifying Officer five copies of the draft standing orders proposed by him for adoption in his industrial establishment.

(2) Provision shall be made in such draft for every matter set out in the Schedule which may be applicable to the industrial establishment, and where model standing orders have been prescribed, shall be, so far as is practicable, in conformity with such model.

(3) The draft standing orders submitted under this section shall be accompanied by a statement giving prescribed particulars of the workmen employed in the industrial establishment including the name of the trade union, if any, to which they belong.

(4) Subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, a group of employers in similar industrial establishments may submit a joint draft of standing orders under this section.

Comment: The Act does not say that on such certification, the Standing Orders acquire statutory effect or become part of the statute. It can certainly not be suggested that by virtue of certification, they get metamorphosed into delegated/subordinate legislation. Though these Standing Orders are undoubtedly binding upon both the employer and the employees and constitute the conditions of service of the employees, it appears difficult to say, on principle, that they have statutory force. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and another etc. etc., Appellants v. Krishna Kant., AIR 1995 SUPREME COURT 1715

Section 4. Conditions for certification of standing orders

Standing orders shall be certifiable under this Act if-

(a) provision is made therein for every matter set out in the Schedule which is applicable to the industrial establishment, and

(b) the standing orders are otherwise in conformity with the provisions of this Act, and it 7[shall be the function] of the Certifying Officer or appellate authority to adjudicate upon the fairness or reasonableness of the provisions of any standing orders.

Section 5. Certification of standing orders

(1) On receipt of the draft under section 3, the Certifying Officer shall forward a copy thereof to the trade union, if any, of the workmen, or where there is no such trade union, to the workmen in such manner as may be prescribed, together with a notice in the prescribed form requiring objections, if any, which the workmen may desire to make to the draft standing orders to be submitted to him within fifteen days from the receipt of the notice.

(2) After giving the employer and the trade union or such other representative of the workmen as may be prescribed, an opportunity of being heard, the Certifying Officer shall decide whether or no any modification of or addition to the draft submitted by the employer is necessary to render the draft standing orders certifiable under this Act, and shall make an order in writing accordingly.

(3) The Certifying Officer shall thereupon certify the draft standing orders, after making any modification therein which his order under sub-section (2) may require, and shall within seven days thereafter send copies of the certified standing order authenticated in the prescribed manner and of his order under sub-section (2) to the employer and to the trade union or other prescribed representatives of the workmen.

The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
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