This shows that the term “industry” has been defined in most wide terms and anything and everything appear to have been included in the sweep of the term. It is because the term “industry” cannot be strictly defined. It can only be described.Image result for Industry in Labour Laws
Thus the definition in the Act is not meant to provide more than a guideline. This raises doubts as to what could be the meaning of the expression “calling of the Employers” used in the definition. Well, bearing in mind the collection of terms used in the definition, the only principle that can be applied in interpretation is to deploy the doctrine of nature a social. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Hospital Mazdoor Sabha (AIR 1960 SC 610) had laid down that when two or more words are coupled together which are susceptible of analogous meaning then these words should be understood to have been used in their cogent sense taking their colour from each other. The more general being restricted to a sense analogous to the less general. The meaning of doubtful word may be ascertained by reference to the meaning of the words associated with it.
The word “industry” is also used in the definition of workman given is Section 2 (s) of the Act. Necessarily, therefore, the term used in the definition of workman [2 (s)J should also be understood in the same manner as has been explained in this Section [2 (s}]. It means the “workman” is to be regarded as one who is employed in an industry. Therefore, an “industry” is to be found when the employers are carrying on any business, trade, manufacture or calling of the Employers. If they are not there, there is no industry as such (Management of Safderganj Hospital, AIR 1970 SC 140). This judgement and several other judgements had the effect of narrowing down the sweep of the term industry. Further, the howsoever wide sweep of the term “industry” may be but then certain activities like Agricultural, Domestic work, the religious, the charitable, the sovereign function etc. could not be brought to the fold of the term
“industry.” Nevertheless the Hon’ble Supreme Court in construing the term “industry” laid down that the limited concept of the term in earlier times must now yield place to enormously wider concept so as to take in various and varied part of industry to resolve the conflict between capital and labour (D.N. Banerjee v/s P.R. Mukharjee AIR 1953 SC 58) In that case, the Supreme Court included the public utility services like the sanitation or the conservancy Department of the municipality. In the case of Corporation of city of Nagpur v/s Its Employees, AIR 1960 SC 675 it was held the Department of the municipal corporation like the Tax, Public Conveyance, Fire brigade, Lighting Water Works, Engineering, Enforcement/ Encroachment Sewage, Health, Assessment, Estate, Education, Printing Press, Building. General Administration are covered under the definition of “industry” under the Act.
The judgement of the apex court left nothing to be excluded from the term “industry” and therefore, the Supreme Court took the stock of all its earlier judgements in the case of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board v/s A. Rajappa, (1978) 2 SCC 213. It laid down that the definition no doubt seeks to define “industry” with reference to Employers’ occupation but includes Employees for without the two, there can be no industry. An industry is only to be found when there are employers and employees, the former relying upon the services of the latter to fulfil their own occupation.
But every case of employment is not necessarily productive of an industry. Domestic employment, administrative services of public officials, services in aid of occupation of professional men also disclose the relationship of employers and employees but they cannot be regarded as in the course of the industry.
The apex court (in the case of Bangalore water supply) was of the view that cases of (1) Safdargang Hospital (AIR 1970 SC 1407) (2) Solicitors case (AIR 1962 SC 1080) (3) Delhi University (1963 SC 1873) (4) Dhanrajgirji Hospital (AIR 1975 SC 2032) were not correctly decided but the case of Hospital Mazdoor Sabha (AIR 1960 SC 610) was rehabilitated, however, the court rejected the test of noscitur a sows (or association of words) while deciding whether a government run hospital is an industry or not. The court rejected the twin considerations of profit motive and capital investment as irrelevant for determining whether an activity is an industry or not. The court also rejected the limitation that a quid pro quo (one was paid for one’s rendering services) is necessary for bringing an activity within the term of S.2(j) (industry)