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M.R.F. Ltd. Versus Inspector Kerala Govt. & ORS.

C.A. 5585 of 1993 - Dated:- 11-11-1998 - Ahmad Saghir S., And Kirpal B.N., JJ. JUDGMENT: S. Saghir Ahmad, J. The classic Judgment of Patanjali Sastri, C.J. "in State of Madras vs. V. G. Row. 1952 SCR 597 = AIR 1952 SC 196, has again to be referred to and relied upon in this case to settle the controversy regarding the constitutional validity of the Kerala Industrial Establishments (National and Festival Holidays) (Amendment) Act, 1990 (for short, the Amending Act .) which has already been u .....

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f compulsory paid holidays were thus raised from seven to thirteen. This alteration was challenge by the appellants on the ground that the holidays, national and festival, so increased were violative of the Fundamental Right guaranteed to them under Article l9(i)(g) to carry on their trade, business or profession. It was also challenged en the ground of arbitrariness as the contention was that the increase in the number of national and festival holidays was wholly arbitrary, without there being .....

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................... (f) ................................... (g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business." Sub-clause (6) of this Article provides as under:- "(6) Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clau .....

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tial, of citizens or otherwise." Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Article 19 are the basic and natural Rights inherent in the citizen of a free country but none of the seven Rights, guaranteed by Article 19(1), is an absolute Right as each of the Rights is liable to be controlled, curtailed and regulated by laws made by the State to the extent set out in Clauses (2) to (6) of the Article. This is based on the old principle enunciated by this. Court that "LIBERTY has to be limited in or .....

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rcourse both with and within the State. As pointed out earlier, the Right under Article 19M)(g) is not absolute in terms but is subject to reasonable restrictions contemplated by Clause (6) thereof. The test of reasonableness of restrictions was considered by this Court on several occasions but all the decisions are not being referred to and only a few are mentioned to make out the focal point on the basis of which we intend to dispose of this case. We begin with an extract from, what is known a .....

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ctions imposed, the extent ana urgency of the evil sought to be remedied thereby, the disproportion of the imposition, the prevailing conditions at the time should all enter into the judicial verdict. In evaluating such elusive factors and forming their own conception of what is reasonable in all the circumstances of a given case, it is inevitable that the social philosophy and the scale of values of the judges participating in the decision should play an important part, and the limit to their i .....

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AIR 1960 SC 466, and it was laid down that the principles set out by Patanjali Sastri, C.J., have to be considered and kept in view by the Courts in deciding whether a particular Statute satisfies the objective test of reasonableness. The observations of Patanjali Sastri, C.J., were again approved In Collector of Customs, Madras vs. Nathella Sampathu Chetty. (1962) 3 SCR 786 = AIR 1962 SC 316i Ayyangar, J. who wrote the Judgment observed that though there were several decisions of this Court in .....

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statutory provision, whether it is violative of the Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 19, one cannot lose sight of the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in Chapter IV of the Constitution as was laid down by this Court in Saghir Ahmad vs. State of U.P., AIR 1954 SC728 = (1955) 1 SCR 707 as also in Mohd. Hanif Qureshi vs. State of Bihar. 1959 SCR 629 = AIR 1958 SC 731. This principle was also followed in Laxmi Khandsari s case (supra) in which the reasonableness of restrictio .....

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nd the requirement of the interest of the general public. 3) In order to judge the reasonableness of the restrictions, no abstract or general pattern or a fixed principle can be laid down so as to be of universal application and the same will vary from case to case as also with regard to changing conditions, values of human life, social philosophy of the Constitution, prevailing conditions and the surrounding circumstances. (4) A just. balance has to be struck between the restrictions imposed an .....

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ong presumption in favour of the constitutionality of the Act will naturally arise. (See: Kavalappara Kottarathil Kochuni @ Moopil Nayar vs. States of Madras and Kerala. (1960) 3 SCR 887 = AIR 1960 SC 1080; O.K. Ghosh vs. E.X. Joseph. (1963) Supp. (1) SCR 789 = AIR 1963 SC 812) Having regard to what has been set out above, we may now proceed to consider the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed in the instant, case on the right of the appellants to carry on their trade or business. It may b .....

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closed days. The restriction placed on this right for keeping their industries closed on national and festival holidays cannot be treated as reasonable within the meaning of Clause (6) of Article 19. This, it is contended, is in contravention of the right guaranteed to them under Article 19(1)(g). The Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable but are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and have to be applied by the State in making the laws. They are essential .....

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nisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas." This Article enjoins the State to endeavour to secure to all workers, be they agricultural, industrial or otherwise, a living wage and .....

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ould enable them to fully enjoy their leisure and participate in social and cultural activities. It was for this reason that this Court in Manohar Lal vs. State of Punjab). (1961) 2 SCR 343 = AIR 1961 SC 418, upheld the compulsory closure of shop on one day. This decision was followed in Ramdhandas vs. State of Punjab. (1962) 1 SCR 852 = AIR 1961 SC 1559 upholding the restriction placed on the opening and closing hours of the shop. Both these decisions were followed in Collector of Customs,. Mad .....

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P.M. Aney. AIR 1979 SC 233 = 1979 (3) SCO 220 whereunder compulsory payment of minimum statutory bonus even in the years of loss was held to be valid and reasonable under Article 19(6) of the Constitution. Coming now to some decisions of the High Courts, we may mention that the Bombay High Court in State of Bombay vs. V.M. Jawadekar, 62 Bombay Law Report 183, has already upheld the provisions of Section 9(1) of the C.P. & Berar Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 (as amended in 1955) which p .....

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Act were upheld in Bhanwarlal and others vs. State of Rajasthan and other, AIR 1959 Rajasthan 257; the restrictions placed under Madras Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 were held to be reasonable in Sadasivam vs. State of Madras, AIR 1957 Madras 144. So also the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Grandhi Mangaraju, Manager, Brothers Shop and Branches, Rajam, Srikakulam District vs. Assistant Labour Inspector. Srikakulam and another, AIR 1959 A.P. 604 and a Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High .....

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other sectors. It was pleaded that the outlook towards labour has undergone a drastic change since the enactment of the Parent Act in 1958. The contention of the appellants that the increase in holidays would result in the loss Of production was refuted by the State on the ground that the power to Increase production required healthy labour force. Some recreation and rest would make the labour more fit and capable of doing their work more efficiently and satisfactorily which would result in mor .....

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public sector in Kerala ranged from seven to twenty one days and in private sector, from seven to seventeen days. It was also noticed that the Government of India had declared sixteen holidays while Government of Kerala had declared eighteen holidays for the year 1990 which were repeated in 1991. Having regard to the factors enumerated in the counter-affidavit as also to the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in Article 43, we are of the opinion that the Act by which the national and .....

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