KERALA GRANDHASALA SANGHOM EMPLOYEES UNION Vs. KERALA GRANDHASALA SANGHOM
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
KERALA GRANDHASALA SANGHOM EMPLOYEES UNION
KERALA GRANDHASALA SANGHOM
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(1.) THE dispute between the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom and the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom Employees' Union has resulted in this writ petition, the question which falls for decision in this case being whether the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom is an industry coming within the Industrial Disputes Act. THE Labour Court , the second respondent, held in its award Ext. P-2, that the Sanghom is not an industry, which award is under attack in this writ petition brought at the instance of the Employees' Unio n.
(2.) THE Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom is an institution registered under the Companies Act and the Sanghom is publishing a magazine "grandhalokam". It has also started a printing press. THEre are 14 employees in the Central Office of the Sanghom. THE petitioner-Union raised six demands which were considered by the Conciliation Officer. During the pendency of the conciliation proceedings the management discharged one officer and reverted another. THE conciliation having failed the matter was referred to the tribunal which resulted in Ext. P-2 award.
According to the 1st respondent, the Sanghom is not an industry and the employees under it not workmen under the Industrial Disputes act. The Sanghom is an association for promoting the literary and cultural standard of the citizens of the Kerala with no provisions whatsoever for making profit. It is a non-trading association established for the purpose of forming and promoting and popularising libraries and for the development of education. The Sanghom has no income of its own nor has it any endowments or resources to fall back upon for financial assistance except the grant sanctioned by the kerala Government and to a small extent from the subscriptions from libraries. It was contended therefore that the Sanghom does not come within the expression'industry'.
A technical objection was taken by the Sanghom that the General Secretary of the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom Employees' Union was the party to the award while the writ petition was filed by the Vice President and on that score the writ petition is not maintainable, This can be disposed of easily. This according to me is a hypertechnical plea. The dispute is between the Union and the management. It does not matter much who represents the Union. In this case at the time of reference the General Secretary represented the Union. He has been discharged and in his place the Vice president has filed this writ petition representing the Union. I do not think that the writ petition is bad on this account.
(3.) THE main question to be decided is whether the Sanghom is an industry or not. THE objects of the Sanghom have been detailed above in brief. One of the objects is contained in Clause. 14 of the bye-laws, which reads: It is this clause which has been high-lighted by the union to substantiate their case that the Sanghom engages itself in profit earning activities. THE Sanghom has published 2 books, viz. , "nam munnottu" and "grandhasala Directory 1964". It is said that the central Government had given a grant of Rs. 2,000 for publication of these books with a specific condition that no profit should be made from the sale of these books. But, in effect the books were sold and a substantial amount was earned by the Sanghom as profit and the grant given by the Central Government had to be repaid. This instance would indicate that the Sanghom has been publishing books and earning income.
The case of the Sanghom is that these were the only two books published by them since the Sanghom was formed. The Directory is only for reference to the libraries under the Sanghom and the book "nam munnottu" earned some profit by its sale. These facts by themselves will not turn the Sanghom into an association carrying on trade or activities earning profit.;
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