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Cosmopolitan Club Vs. District Employment Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1967)IILLJ243Mad
AppellantCosmopolitan Club
RespondentDistrict Employment Officer
Cases ReferredLtd. v. Santi Ranjan Somaddar
Excerpt:
.....petitioner-club for the purpose of analogous enactments, it should be held that the petitioner -club would not come within the scope of an establishment as defined in the act. the act was clearly intended to serve a statistical need to assess any future policy in connexion with the imparting of training to potential employees. they observed that that principle is only a rule of construction and cannot prevail where the statute hat deliberately used words to make the scope of the defined word much wider and they clearly say that if the object and scope of the statute are considered, there would be no difficulty in holding that the relevant words of wide import have been deliberately used by the legislature in defining industry. ..and they proceeded to refer to various definitions and..........of vacancies) act of 1959. it is the contention of the petitioner that not only is the petitioner-club not an establishment within the meaning of the act but also that no industry, trade, business or occupation is carried on in the premises. it is urged that the respondent has no jurisdiction to call upon the club to furnish the information sought.2. the respondent in his equator-affidavit claims that the abovementioned act was enacted for the purpose of undertaking measures for the training and employment of persons on information gathered to indicate the employment trends in the market, is order that vocational training might be given to make employees suitable for the demands of the employers, the act makes it compulsory upon employers to report all vacancies except in certain.....
Judgment:

K. Srinivasan, J.

1. The Cosmopolitan Club, Madras, is the petitioner. The respondent, the District Employment Officer, wrote to the petitioner-club on 23 March 1953, a letter drawing attention to an earlier letter dated 22 December 1962, wherein the respondent had requested the club to furnish information concerning the employment in the petitioner's establishment. This letter led to the filing of the present writ petition seeking the issue of a writ of certiorari or other appropriate writ to quash the proceedings taken by the District Employment officer. The petitioner status in its affidavit that the club is a member club not run with any profit motive, that it is not in the nature of a commercial undertaking and that the communication of the District Employment Officer asking the club to furnish particulars Is based on a misconstruction of what an establishment means within the meaning of the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act of 1959. It is the contention of the petitioner that not only is the petitioner-club not an establishment within the meaning of the Act but also that no industry, trade, business or occupation is carried on in the premises. It is urged that the respondent has no jurisdiction to call upon the club to furnish the information sought.

2. The respondent in his equator-affidavit claims that the abovementioned Act was enacted for the purpose of undertaking measures for the training and employment of persons on information gathered to indicate the employment trends in the market, is order that vocational training might be given to make employees suitable for the demands of the employers, the Act makes it compulsory upon employers to report all vacancies except in certain categories. It is claimed that the Act applies to all establishments in the private sector, where ordinarily 25 or more persons are employed for remuneration. It is claimed also that, having regard to the object of the Act, the expressions,'industry,' 'business,' 'trade 'and 'occupation' need not involve any connotation of a profit motive. It is urged, therefore, that the District Employment Officer is within his powers in calling upon the petitioner to furnish the required information.

3. Sri T. A. Ramaswami Reddiar, learned Counsel for the petitioner-club, in the course of his argument contends that lathe light of decisions which have deals with organizations Like tae petitioner-club for the purpose of analogous enactments, it should be held that the petitioner -club would not come within the scope of an establishment as defined in the Act. That is the short contention which requires to be examined.

4. The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act makes it compulsory upon the employer in every establishment in the private sector to notify any vacancy arising in the establishment to such employment exchanges as may be prescribed. Section 4 of the Act makes it compulsory for every establishment in the public actor to do so on and after the commencement of the Act. But, in the case of an establishment in the private sector, the appropriate Government issues a notification under Section 4(2) of the Act making the provisions applicable thereto. It is not in dispute that such a notification was issued in 1960. Turning to the definitions contained in the Act, the words 'employed' and 'employer' are defined in relation to an 'establishment,' the one as employed to do any work for remuneration, and tae other as one who employs one or more persons to do work for remuneration. 'Establishment' is defined to mean any office or any place where any industry, trade, business or occupation is carried on. Nextly, the expressions 'establishment in the public sector' and 'establishment in the private sector 'are defined, the latter being defined to mean an establishment which is not an establishment in the public sector and where ordinarily 25 or more persona are employed to work for remuneration. While Section 4, by Sub-secs. (1) and (2), makes it obligatory upon establishments in the public sector and in tae private sector respectively to notify vacancies, Section 3 makes the Act inapplicable in relation to certain types of vacancies, so that in the case of even establishments which are compelled to notify vacancies, certain specified vacancies need not be notified. An important provision is Section 4, Sub-section (4), which states that notwithstanding the obligation to report the vacancies, it does not impose the farther obligation upon the employer to recruit any person through the employment exchange to fill the vacancy reported. Broadly stated, therefore, this Act confers no autherity upon the employment exchanges to insist that any parson indicated by them should be employed for the purpose of filling the vacancy reported by an establishment. Reading these provisions in the Act along with the statement of objects and reasons, it appears to be abundantly clear that the Act was brought on the statute book only for the purpose of enabling the appropriate authorities to assess the employment potential in various categories of employment. The Act was clearly intended to serve a statistical need to assess any future policy in connexion with the imparting of training to potential employees.

5. As I stated, the principal argument of Sri Ramaswami Reddi is that the petitioner-club in not an establishment, for, according to him, it is not a place where any industry, trade, business or occupation is carried on. He has referred to Cosmopolitan Club v. Joint Commercial Tax Officer (1963) 2 M.L.J. 480. In that case, the question arose whether the sales effected by the club to its own members, such sales being of refreshments, would come within the scope of the General Sales Tax Act and would attract tax thereunder. That decision was more concerned with interpreting the expressions 'sale' and 'dealer' which occur in that enactment, for that Act purports to bring to tax only the turnover of a dealer carrying on the business of sales of goods. The reel basis of that decision was that In supplying and distributing refreshments to its members against payment there was no transfer of property by the club as an absolute owner to its members as purchasers. Whether or not a profit margin existed was not regarded as material. When once there was no Bale, which, according to the definition, meant a transfer of property in goods, the liability to tax did not arise. The question whether a business must always be associated with a profit motive did not expressly come up for consideration in that decision.

6. In Y. M. I. A. v. Assistant Inspector of Labour : (1963)IILLJ588Mad , the question was whether this association could be brought within the scope of the expression 'catering establishment' in the Catering Establishments Act. In that Act, the expression 'catering: establishment' was defined to mean a 'restaurant' or a 'residential hotel' and In defining these two latter expressions, the relevant part dealt with 'any premises' in which the business of providing accommodation and supply of meals or supply of refreshments to the public or a class of the public was carried on. In view of the Interrelated nature of these definitions, the learned Judges went on to hold that the expression 'business' involved as an essential element thereof the profit motive.

7. Sri Ramaswami Reddi also referred to Wharton's Law Lexicon and other dictionaries to emphasize his point that business is an activity connected with the operation of trade as a productive pursuit and that a profit element is invariably linked with business. It is his contention that since the Cosmopolitan club caters to its own members and no one else, the profit motive is altogether absent and that, therefore, the activity carried on by the club is not business.

8. I am unable to agree that the word 'business' should be invariably associated with the carrying on of as activity which includes a profit motive. The first point to notice is that though a statute may define certain expressions in a particular manner, the interpretation of these expressions cannot be unrelated to the purpose underlying the enactment. That principle has been Laid down in State of Bombay v. Hospital Mazdoor Sabha : (1960)ILLJ251SC where the definition of the word 'industry' in the Industrial Disputes Act was examined. The definition of that expression in that Act included any business, trade, undertaking, etc. Their lordships pointed out that the definition had deliberately used words of very wide Import. They referred to the rule of Interpretation that where there are two or more words which are susceptible of analogous meanings, they are to be understood as used in their cognate sense. They observed that that principle is only a rule of construction and cannot prevail where the statute hat deliberately used words to make the scope of the defined word much wider and they clearly say that

If the object and scope of the statute are considered, there would be no difficulty in holding that the relevant words of wide import have been deliberately used by the legislature in defining industry...

and they proceeded to refer to various definitions and the object of the Act as well.

9. On behalf of the respondent, the decision of a single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in Bengal Club, Ltd. v. Santi Ranjan Somaddar : (1957)ILLJ505Cal has been relied upon. In that case, the learned Judge held that a club run for the benefit of its members carries on an industry within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act.

10. In my view, taking Into consideration the object of the enactment, the definitions used in the Act must be understood in their widest sense, and if that should be done, the presence or absence of a profit motive in the carrying on of a business la wholly immaterial in construing the relevant expression. I am satisfied that the contention of the petitioner that the Act does not apply to it cannot be maintained. The petition is accordingly dismissed. No costs.


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