Under section 2 (J) of the Industrial Disputes Act, the office of Controller General of Patents, Designs And Trademarks is an industry: Delhi HC

Under section 2 (J) of the Industrial Disputes Act, the office of Controller General of Patents, Designs And Trademarks is an industry: Delhi HC

Case Title: Union of India vs. Raj Kumar Shah 

Case Number: WP (C) 3495/2015 

Quorum: Justice C Hari Shankar 

The Hon’ble Delhi HC here on Monday held that the office of a controller general of Patent, Design and Trade Mark is an industry under Section 2 (j) of the Industrial Dispute Act and it directed reinvestment of workers illegally retrenched from their service.

Key Features 

  • Every function which is performed by the government is not a sovereign.
  • All the sovereign functions are not completely protected under Section 2 (j) of the ID Act. 
  • Sovereign functions which is the core, inalienable and thus the term “Strictly Sovereign, alone, Escapes the clutches of Section 2(j).

High Court Verdict

The judges laid importance on the case of Chief Conservator of Forest vs. Jagannath Maruti Kondhare (1996) 2 SCC 293 where it was held that Strict Sovereign Function alone is exempted from the ambit of Section 2(j) of the Act.

It was also held in the case of Umadevi vs. State of Karnataka ( 2006) 4 SCC 1 that it does not impact the powers of the labours court or power of the judicial review of the high court under Section 227 of the Constitution to order to the reinstatement of the victims of the unfair labour practices.

Hon’ble Justice Hari Shankar held the sovereign function has become an inalienable sovereign only when it becomes impossible to delegate them to any other authority. In the present case, the grant of the patent was not a function that could not be delegated or entrusted to any other entity. 

The court also considered the case of State of Bombay vs. Hospital Mazdoor Sabha (1960) 2 SCR 866, in there the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that if a business or activity could not be carried on by a private individual it could not be a industry, on the other hand, if it could be it might fall within the scope of industry.

The Court held that the function such as the collection of the tax, maintained of public law and order, external relations which have at all times to be performed by the government and the government alone would qualify as “strictly and inalienably” sovereign functions and therefore cannot be termed as an industry. 

Edited by Vartika Gajendra Singh

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Shubhang Gomasta
I am Shubhang Gomasta currently pursuing my master's in Law from MATS University, Raipur. I am a law graduate from Tamil Nadu National Law University. Not a book worm exactly but an enthusiastic writer and a blogger. I have a deep interest in areas such as Arbitration, Competition Law and Securities Law. In my free time, my activities include analyzing current affairs especially governmental policies and decisions.