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Pappi Chetty Raghaviah Chetty's Charities by Its President vs. the commissioner of Labour, Madras and Anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 153 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1972Mad139; (1967)2MLJ413
ActsMadras Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 - Sections 7(1), 8 and 41; Constitution of India - Article 226; Factories Act, 1948 - Sections 2(16)
AppellantPappi Chetty Raghaviah Chetty's Charities by Its President
RespondentThe commissioner of Labour, Madras and Anr.
Cases ReferredCatholic Centre Staff Union v. Archbishop of Madras
Excerpt:
.....of workers therein, have to be regulated. business, though it need not be in the sense of trade, should be an activity in the commercial senses that such a sense is an inherent element of a shop is evident from the entire definition of a shop. in the place of the charity office, neither business is carried on, nor any customers resort to it. there is also not question of any office used for commercial purpose. collection of rent for purposes of the appellant-trust cannot be regarded as a commercial activity so as to make the trust office as a shop. it is true that to constitute a commercial activity, there need be no profit motive. but it does not follow from it that any activity of collecting money irrespective of the purpose and circumstances for and in which it is done can be..........of outstanding secured on mortgages and pledges and unsecured debts. the charities also maintain a kalyana koodam which is being let out for the auspicious functions like marriage to brahmins and vaisyas. for allowing the use of kalyana koodam, the charities collect a fee of rs. 35 per day and for the use of utensils a fee of rs. 40 is charged for two to four days, in addition to the rent of the building. when the kalayana koodam is let out, a levy at the rate of 75 paise per unit is charged towards electricity supply. the charities realised a sum of rs. 3,300 by levying charges for renting out the kalyana koodam and hire charges of the vessels. for the year 1963-64 a sum of rs. 2,900 was realised as electricity charges, but the electricity charges paid by the charities was only rs......
Judgment:
1. This petition is filed by Pappu Chetty Raghavaiah Chetty's Charities by its President P. Manavala Chetty to issue a writ of certiorari calling for the papers: relating to the proceedings of the Commissioner of Labour, Madras and to quash his order dated 9th February, 1967. The petitioner is a charitable institution founded by one Pappu Chetty Raghavaiah Chetty under a Deed of Trust dated 24th July, 1912 The trust owns 12 items of outstanding secured on mortgages and pledges and unsecured debts. The charities also maintain a kalyana koodam which is being let out for the auspicious functions like marriage to Brahmins and Vaisyas. For allowing the use of kalyana koodam, the charities collect a fee of Rs. 35 per day and for the use of utensils a fee of Rs. 40 is charged for two to four days, in addition to the rent of the building. When the kalayana koodam is let out, a levy at the rate of 75 paise per unit is charged towards electricity supply. The charities realised a sum of Rs. 3,300 by levying charges for renting out the kalyana koodam and hire charges of the vessels. For the year 1963-64 a sum of Rs. 2,900 was realised as electricity charges, but the electricity charges paid by the charities was only Rs. 1,800. The charities maintain an office in which the staff attend to the collection of rents from immovable properties maintenance of kalyana koodam collection of electricity charges, realisation of interests from investments, etc. The charities are realising as rents and interest about Rs. 30,000 per annum. The question that has to be decided is whether the office of the charities falls within the definition 'shop' under Section 2(16) of Madras Shops & Establishments Act, 1947. 'Shop' (is) "any premises where any trade or business is carried on or where services are rendered to customers and includes offices, store rooms, godowns and ware houses, whether in the same premises or otherwise, used in connection with such business, but does not include a restaurant, eating house or commercial establishment."

2. The activities of the petitioner, not being one of trade, the question is whether it is a business carried on by it. The word business is not defined in the Act. It is not necessary that to be termed business, there should be a profit motive. From the facts of the case, it is clear that charities are engaged in the activity of collecting rents from immoveable properties, and moneys lent to others. In addition to that they are renting the kalyana koodam and collecting hire charges on the vessels and electricity charges. It appears that the charities have made a profit from the hiring out of the vessels and from the collection of electricity charges.

3. Mr. V. Vedantachari, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, relied on a passage in Maxwell on 'Interpretation of Statutes', Eleventh Edition, page 323, and submitted that the word 'business' should be read along with other words, namely, trade used in the definition, and therefore, should be confined to business which is in the nature of trade. The word business should have some analogy to trade, but it is not necessary that it should be trade itself.

4. The kind of activity engaged by the trust which brings a profit to it cannot be excluded from the definition Reliance is placed on the Catholic Centre Staff Union v. Archbishop of Madras (1962) 1 M.L.J. 451 : (1962) M.L.J. (Crl.) 370, where it was held that it world be improper to call social or cultural institution admission to whose membership is restricted by the management a shop or a commercial establishment. The Court in that case was considering the applicability of Shops and Establishments Act to an institution known as Catholic Centre whose activity was in the nature of a club than a commercial establishment. The decision cannot be of any help to the petitioner. Considering the facts of the case, I am satisfied that there is, prima facie, no error in the conclusion arrived at by the Commissioner of Labour.

5. This petition is dismissed. No order as to costs.


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