Industrial activities increases at the time of 19th century as our country under the British rule there was lot of poverty in our country due to which increase in a labour class population. Also there was exploitation by the employer of the labours and working class society therefore they start to lay down strikes at working place to fulfil their demands. Later, in the earlier 20th century Royal Trade Commission examines the condition of working class and recommend the Trade Union Act, 1926 which come into force on 1st June 1927.
Trade union is basically a voluntary union of working class people who come along to achieve collective goals and to balance the relation between employer and employees. A registered trade union is a union which registered under the Trade Union Act 1926.
Any registered trade union should be registered by Registrar by issuing certificate of registration as per the procedure given under section 3- 14 of this Act. A registered trade union is a corporate body which have right to own property on the name of trade union and can sue and be sued by trade union name.
Here are some rights and liabilities for the registered trade union given under this Act from section 15- 28.
Rights and liabilities of registered trade union:-
Liabilities:- Change in address of registered office of trade union:
If the address of registered office changes a written notice should be given to the registrar within 14 days of change in address and that should be registered in register of registration.
Change of name in trade union:
Under section 25 of this Act for changing the name of trade union requires consent of two third members of the total number of members and the name of trade union should not matches the name of other trade union.
Disbursement of trade union fund:
Every trade union should have to maintain two trade funds;
• General funds
• Political funds , also known as separate fund
Both these funds should not merge with each other.
But these funds should be only used for the purpose which has been prescribed under the section 15 & 16 of this Act. Otherwise court shall restrain trade union for using funds for other purpose.
Section 15 states that fund should be used for the allowance, salary and for the welfare of trade union members not for any other purpose. Whereas in section 16 fund use for the political purpose like distribution of information in relation to a member who is candidate of election in the legislative assembly or other body of the constitution. There is no compulsion to contribute in this fund also no condition should be made for the admission in union by contributing in the political funds.
Disqualification of office bearer: Under section 21-A a person shall be disqualified from being a office bearer of the trade union if he is below the age of 18 years or he has committed any crime where he has punished for imprisonment by the court for 6 months or more and he has not yet completed 5 years form that punishment.
Rights of registered trade unionImmunity from punishment of criminal conspiracy Under section 17 a member of trade union is not held liable for criminal conspiracy in section 120(B) of IPC only if he is doing an act which is for the purpose given under section 15 of this Act but he can be sued if he has done any act which is offence in nature itself or other than the purpose given in section 15.
In the case of West India Steel Company vs Azeez held that trade union leader obstructs the worker who are working in another section of the factory for 5 hours, so the court states that union leader have no right to disobey the order given by the superior of factory without any legal way and if they do so they are liable by the employer.
Immunity from civil proceedings
In section 18 of this Act member of trade union is privileged of not being sued for any civil wrong done by him ( tort) which in general held liable to induce another person for breach of contract but not for the member of trade union also if member indulge in act which is illegal and causes violence in working place he will be liable for civil wrong . Moreover, the member of trade union is immune from vicarious liability for his act.
In case of Rohtas Industries Staff Union Vs State of Bihar held that employer don’t have right to get compensation for the illegal strike done by his employee which causes loss to him. Further in the case of Simpson & Group companies workers & Staff Union Vs Amco batteries ltd. Court states that obstruction in the movement of vehicle which carries raw material for factory is not comes under trade union right so the members of trade union don’t get immunity under the section 18 of this act .
Immunity from contractual liability
In section 19 any agreement for the restrictions of trade is held a valid contract which has been declared void and voidable in section of under Indian Contract Act,1872.But this immunity is only given to the registered trade unions only.
Right to inspect book of trade unionAny member of trade union can inspect the book of registered trade union as per the section 20 of this act.
Right of Minor to be member of trade unionA minor of the age 15 years can be member of trade union but not the office bearer or executive members of the Union as per section 21.
Right to amalgamationAny one or more trade union can be get merge with each other with or without dissolution of their fund with the votes of 50 % member of trade union out of that 60% should be in favour of amalgamation of trade unions.( For example there are 100 member in a trade union half of them vote i.e 50 member give their votes now 60% votes be in favour of amalgamation i.e 30 members votes in favour )
(e) (1990) IILLJ 133 Ker
(f) AIR 1963
(g) (1992) I L.L.J. 266 (Karn).