University Of Delhi Vs Ram Nath

BY:- Tejas Patel

CITATION:1963 AIR 1873, 1964 SCR (2) 703
DATE OF THE CASE:1 April, 1963


A country’s economic, social, and political life was disrupted by an industrial dispute. A strike in public utility services, such as water, electricity, gas, telephone, railways, or roadways, or any hospital, sanitation, or defence, will disrupt public life. For the duration of the strike, the workers are not paid. It leads to a significant loss of man-hours and a disruption in production. Industrial disputes exacerbate tensions between the employer and the employee. As a result, the government has implemented a slew of welfare programs for working people, all of which help to keep the employer-employee relationship strong.


There are several conflicts and disputes that happen in the industry which is handled by the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. The disputes regarding the conflicts between employee and employer relating to their payment, working hour or anything else is being continuously happening in the industries, this is a part of a chain, if you start an industry you will require the workforce and the types of machinery to manufacture a product and during this process of work there can be several types of disputes as mentioned above. So, one must deal with all the disputes under the act mentioned earlier. Industry can be defined as, an economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories. In this case, it is discussed that can we consider an educational institute as an industry?


In this case, the two petitioners no. 1 is the University of Delhi and The Principle and no. 2 is Miranda House, University college for women. The case was filed by the two respondents no. 1 Ram Nath and no.2 Asgar Masih under section 33c of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 against the petitioners alleging that they both are drivers employed by the principal and later they had been discharged from the job with one-month advance salary in lieu of notice. But both the respondents argued that the education institution does come under industry and they both are liable to get compensation from the institution. This case was entertained before the Tribunal and the tribunal rejected the petitions made by the appellants and gave the decision in the favour of the respondents and stated that the respondents should get the compensation of Rs. 1050/- to each respondent. Later the decision was appealed in the Supreme Court where it is discussed that whether the educational institutions can come under the definition of an industry under the Industrial Dispute Act 1947.


  • Whether the respondents are liable to get compensation from the Petitioner?
  • Whether an educational institution can be considered as an industry?


  • The Petitioner argued that an educational institution such as colleges, school does not come under an industry.
  • The petitioner argued they will suffer a loss if they continue to run buses for the women in the college, so they decided to cancel the bus and discharger the drivers from their job with a one-month advance salary.
  • The petitioner argued that they were not the employers and the teaching staff does not come under the employees, so they cannot provide compensation.
  • The petitioner appealed the decision given by the tribunal in the favor of the respondents.


  • The respondents argued that they were employed by the university, so they are liable for the compensation under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • The respondents argued that they did not get any kind of earlier notice regarding the termination of their job.
  • According to the respondents, they were working as a driver and providing their service to the college, this should be considered under an industry as other staff are also providing services to the students.


  • SECTION 2(g) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947-

” employer” means–

(i) in relation to an industry carried on by or under the authority of any department of 3 the Central Government or a State Government], the authority prescribed in this behalf, or where no authority is prescribed, the head of the department;

(ii) in relation to an industry carried on by or on behalf of a local authority, the chief executive officer of that authority.

  • SECTION 2(j) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947-

” industry” means any systematic activity carried on by co-operation between an employer and his workmen (whether such workmen are employed by such employer directly or by or through any agency, including a contractor) for the production, supply or distribution of goods or services with a view to satisfying human wants or wishes (not being wants or wishes which are merely spiritual or religious in nature), whether or not,–

  1. any capital has been invested for the purpose of carrying on such activity, or
  2. such activity is carried on with a motive to make any gain or profit and includes–
    1. any activity of the Dock Labour Board established under section 5A of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948 (9 of 1948).
    2. any activity relating to the promotion of sales or business or both carried on by an establishment. but does not include–
      1. Any agricultural operation except where such agricultural operation is carried on in an integrated manner with any other activity (being any such activity as is referred to in the foregoing provisions of this clause) and such other activity is the predominant one. Explanation — For the purposes of this sub-clause,” agricultural operation” does not include any activity carried on in a plantation as defined in clause (f) of section 2 of the Plantations Labour Act, 1951 (69 of 1951); or
      2. hospitals or dispensaries; or
      3. educational, scientific, research or training institutions; or
      4. institutions owned or managed by organizations wholly or substantially engaged in any charitable, social or philanthropic service; or
      5. khadi or village industries; or
      6. any activity of the Government relatable to the sovereign functions of the Government including all the activities carried on by the departments of the Central Government dealing with defence research, atomic energy, and space; or
      7. any domestic service; or
      8. any activity, being a profession practised by an individual or body or individuals if the number of persons employed by the individual or body of individuals in relation to such profession is less than ten; or
      9. any activity, being an activity carried on by a co-operative society or a club or any other like a body of individuals, if the number of persons employed by the co-operative society, club or other like a body of individuals in relation to such activity is less than ten.
  • SECTION 2(s) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947

” workman” means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment be express or implied, and for the purposes of any proceeding under this Act in relation to an industrial dispute, includes any such person who has been dismissed, discharged or retrenched in connection with, or as a consequence of, that dispute, or whose dismissal, discharge or retrenchment has led to that dispute, but does not include any such person–

  • who is employed in the police service or as an officer or other employee of a prison; or
  • who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity; or
  • who, being employed in a supervisory capacity, draws wages exceeding one thousand six hundred rupees per mensem or exercises, either by the nature of the duties attached to the office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature.
  • SECTION 33C (2) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947-

Where any workman is entitled to receive from the employer any money or any benefit which is capable of being computed in terms of money and if any question arises as to the amount of money due or as to the amount at which such benefit should be computed, then the question may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, be decided by such Labour Court as may be specified in this behalf by the appropriate Government; 1 within a period not exceeding three months:] 2 Provided that where the presiding officer of a Labour Court considers it necessary or expedient so to do, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend such period by such further period as he may think fit.]


  • Firstly, the judgement was given by the Tribunal in the favor of the respondents stating that the respondents are liable to get the compensation amount of Rs. 1050/- to each respondent from the petitioner.
  • Then the case was appealed by the petitioner in the Supreme Court arguing that an educational institution does not come under, the definition of an industry, under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • The judgement of the Supreme Court was in the favor of the petitioners where the court held that the appeal from the petitioners should be allowed and the case filed by the respondents should be dismissed and the petitioners are not liable to pay the compensation amount to the respondents as it is discussed in the judgement that an educational institution does not come under the definition of an industry.


The major topic of discussion in the above case was that whether an educational institution can come under the definition of an industry? But according to me, an educational institution can be considered as an industry according to the Industrial Dispute Act because an industry follows certain guidelines and it consists of the employers and the employees, both co-operate with each other and manufacture the product for the public at large. As we can see, the same way an educational institute works where the employers were the head of the school or colleges who appoint teachers to teach students and the employees are the faculties who provide their services by teaching the students and getting a monthly salary.

The main difference is that in the industry, the finished product is an object which is sold to the public at large and as we talk about colleges and schools here the finished product is the students who received the knowledge from the teachers. In both cases, they are hired by the higher authorities, they provide services and they get paid a monthly salary. So, according to me, an educational institution can be considered as an industry as per the Industrial Dispute Act.