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1984 (8) TMI 353 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

1984 (8) TMI 353 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA - 1984 AIR 1700, 1985 (1) SCR 601, 1984 (4) SCC 230, 1984 (2) SCALE 201 - C.A. 2029 of 1980 - Dated:- 23-8-1984 - Chandrachud, Y.V., And Tulzapurkar, V.D. For the Appellant : K.R.R. Pillai, K.M.K.Nair for Bar Council, Kerala, R.C. Misra & Vimal Dave for Supreme Court Bar Clerk's Association For Respondents : P. Govindan Nair E.M.S. Anm, M.K. Dua and Miss Baby Krishnan JUDGMENT: Chandrachud, C.J. The question which arises for consideration in this .....

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nder the Act. A preliminary objection was raised in that appeal by the firm on the ground that it was not a commercial establishment. By a judgment dated August 11, 1977, the Appellate Authority upheld the preliminary objection and dismissed the appeal. Being aggrieved by that judgment, the appellant filed a writ petition (O.P.No. 3380 of 1977-B) in the High Court of Kerala. A learned single Judge of the High Court dismissed that writ petition, against which the appellant filed Letters Patent ap .....

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establishment', means a commercial or industrial or trading or banking or insurance establishment, an establishment or administrative service in which the persons employed are mainly engaged in office work, hotel, restaurant, or boarding or eating house, cafe or any other refreshment house, a theatre or any other place of public amusement or entertainment and includes such other establishment as the Government may, by notification in the Gazette declare to be a commercial establishment for t .....

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same premises or otherwise, used in connection with such trade or business but does not include a commercial establishment or a shop attached to a factory where the persons employed in the shop are allowed the benefits provided for workers under the Factories Act, 1948 (Central Act 63 of 1948)" It is on the basis of these definitions that we shall have to decide whether the office of a lawyer or of a firm of lawyers is a commercial establishment within the meaning of the Act. The definition .....

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al Establishment means a theatre or any other place of public amusement or entertainment; and (5) Commercial Establishment includes such other establishment as the Government may, by notification in the Gazette, declare to be a commercial establishment for the purposes of the Act. Commercial Establishment does not include a factory to which any of the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 apply. A lawyer's office or the office of a firm of lawyers cannot obviously fall under clauses (3) and .....

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unless the activity is conducted in a 'shop' or in a commercial establishment, which is really tautological. The definition of 'shop' which is contained in section 2(15) shows that in order that an establishment can be regarded as a shop, it is necessary that some 'trade' or 'business' must be carried on there or some service must be rendered to 'customers. The expression 'shop' also includes offices, warehouses store rooms or godowns which are used i .....

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nor do they render services to 'customers'. The context as well the phraseology of the definition in section 2(15) is inapposite in the case of lawyer's office or the office of a firm of lawyers. Learned counsel for the appellant argues that a lawyer's office is a commercial establishment because, persons who are employed in that office are mainly engaged in office work. This argument overlooks that. under the second clause of the definition in section 2(4), 'commercial esta .....

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d that a lawyer's office is an 'administrative service'. This argument has therefore to be rejected. The proposition is well-established that words which occur in the same context must take their colour from each other. It is unrealistic to dissect the definition clause in section 2(4) and to catch a word here or there in order to bring a lawyer's office within the four corners of the definition of 'commercial establishment'. The various clauses of that definition would s .....

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, Chapter V for employment of children and women and Chapter VI for health and safety measures. Section 6 of the Act provides that no employee in any establishment shall be required or allowed to work for more than eight hours on any day or for more than 48 hours in any week Section 8 requires that, the period or work of an employee in an establishment for each day shall be so fixed that no period shall exceed four hours and that no such person shall work for more than four hours before he has h .....

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nded within the meaning of the expression 'commercial establishment' as defined in section 2(4) of the Act. We are quite solicitous about the welfare of those who work in the lawyers' offices. But, there are many other ways in which their welfare can be ensured. If the current trends are any indication and if old memories fail not, the earnings of lawyers' clerks cannot, in reality, bear reasonable comparison with the earnings of employees of commercial establishments, properly s .....

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