LIONEL EDWARDS LTD Vs. LABOUR ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
LIONEL EDWARDS LTD
LABOUR ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
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(1.)In these Rules, the petitioners have prayed for Writs in the nature of Mandamus commanding the respondents to forbear from enforcing or taking any steps to enforce any of the provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, hereinafter referred to as the Act, against any vessel or ship with which the petitioners are concerned.
(2.)In C. R. 3183 (w) of 1974. the first petitioner Lionel Edwards Ltd. is the steamer agent in Calcutta of American Export Lines Incorporated a shipping corporation incorporated in the State of New York in the United States of America and carrying on the business of ship owners. The first petitioner had its registered office at 21, Old Court House Street, Calcutta. Whenever a vessel of the said American Export Lines Incorporated arrives at the Calcutta Port the first petitioner engages labourers for effecting repairs to the same. In the other two Rules the petitioners India Steamship Company Limited and Scindia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. are owners of ships and they engage contractors who supply contract labour for the purpose of repairs of their vessels arriving at the Calcutta Port. Both these petitioners have their offices at Calcutta. It is the case of the petitioners that the work which is performed by the labourers is not of a permanent but of an intermittent nature. The respondent no. 1 the Labour Enforcement Officer (Central) and the respondent no. 3 the Registering Officer and Assistant Labour Commissioner (Central) have been insisting on the petitioners to get their establishments registered under the Act. They have also threatened the petitioners that legal actions will be taken against them if the establishments are not registered under the Act.
(3.)Some of the provisions of the Act may be referred to. The Preamble of the Act is:
"An Act to regulate the employment of contract labour in certain establishments and to provide for the abolition in certain circumstances and for matters connected therewith."
Under S. 1 (4), the Act applies to every establishment in which twenty or more workmen are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months as contract Labour and to every contractor who employs or who employed on any day of the preceding twelve months twenty or more workmen. Section 1 (5) (a) provides that the Act shall not apply to establishments in which work only of intermittent or casual nature is performed. Section 2 (e) defines establishment as follows:
"(e). "establishment" means:
(i) any office or department of the Government or a local authority, or
(ii) any place where any industry,' trade, business manufacture, or occupation is carried on."
Section 6 provides for the appointment of registering officers by the appropriate Government. Section 7 of the Act provides for the registration of certain establishments and S. 9 lays down the effect of non-registration. The Act is an important piece of social legislation and it seeks to regulate the employment of contract labour and where necessary to abolish the same. It is a legislation for the welfare of labourers whose conditions of service are not at all satisfactory.
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