The Factories Act

Introduction to Factories Act, 1948

Production of goods is an inevitable part of a country or economy. Undoubtedly, if production is important then everything related to production is important. Hence, Factory forms an important part of the economy. It is such a wide term that it requires special provisions to carry on all activities smoothly.  In this article, we will look at various definitions under the Factories Act, 1948.

Introduction to Factories Act

In general terms ‘Factory’ is a building or buildings where people use machines to produce goods. But whenever a thing becomes extremely complex and important, general terms are no longer valid.

Hence, in 1948, the Factories Act, 1948 came into existence. Factories Act, 1948 does not only define things related to factories but also solves certain confusions.

Factories Act

What is a Factory (Under Factories Act, 1948)?

According to Sec 2(m), “factory” means any premises including the precincts thereof—

(i) whereon ten or more workers are working or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, or

(ii) whereon twenty or more workers are working or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on-

but does not include a mine subject to the operation of [the Mines Act, 1952 (35 of 1952)], or [a mobile unit belonging to the armed forces of the Union, a railway running shed or a hotel, restaurant or eating place].

We need 3 important clarifications here:

Clarification 1 Clarification 2 Clarification 3
In order to calculate the number of workers in the industry, we need to consider all the workers in different relays and groups on a particular day. In case, if there is no manufacturing taking place in any premise then we cannot consider such a premise as ‘factory’ even if the Electronic Processing Unit or Computer Unit is installed in such premise. Precincts’ means a space enclosed by walls. What will come under precincts of particular premises will depend on the instances of each case.

Various Judgements regarding Definitions

(a) The establishment of a hotel would not fall for classification as a factory under section 2(m) of the Act, [Lal Bovta Hotel Aur Bakery Mazdoor Union vs Ritz Private Ltd 2007]

(b) All the workers employed by the construction company would squarely attract the definition of the term “workmen” a found in Section 2(l) of the Act as they are working for remuneration in the manufacturing process carried out by the project[Lal Mohammad v Indian Railway Construction Co Ltd]

Learn more about Allied Provisions Act, 1948 here in detail.

(c) Commercial establishment receiving the products in bulk and other unpacking such as bulk products pack them according to the customer’s requirements and dispatch such products to customers. Such an act is the manufacturing process within the meaning of section 2(k). [Parry co Lt, Presiding Officer, II Additional Labor Court, Madras, 1998]

Other Important Definitions (Under Factories Act, 1948)

Term Definition Section
Adult An ‘Adult’ means a person who has completed his eighteenth year of age. Sec.2(a)
Adolescent An “Adolescent” means a person, who completes his fifteenth year of age but not his eighteenth year. Hence, he is someone who crosses the age of a child but is not an adult yet. Sec. 2(b)
Child A ‘child’ means a person who has not completed his 15th year of age. Sec. 2 (c)
Competent Person A “competent person”, in relation to any provision of this Act, means a person or an institution recognized as such by the Chief Inspector for the purposes of carrying out tests, examinations and inspections required to be done in a factory Sec. 2(ca)
Calendar year ‘Calendar Year’ means the period of 12 months beginning with the first day of January in any year. Hence, it is different from the Financial Year (starts from 1st April). Sec.2(bb)
Day It means a period of 24 hours beginning at midnight. Sec. 2(e)
Week It means a period of seven days beginning at midnight on Saturday night or such other night (which CIF certifies). Sec. 2(f)
Transmission machinery It means any shaft, wheel, drum, pulley, a system of pulleys, coupling,
clutch, driving belt or other appliance or device by which the motion
of a prime mover reaches any machinery or appliance.
Sec. 2 (i)

More Definitions

Term Definition Section
Worker “Worker” means a person employed, directly or by or through any agency (including a contractor) with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, in any the manufacturing process, or in cleaning any part of the machinery or premises used for a manufacturing process, or in any other kind of work incidental to, or connected with, the manufacturing process, or the subject of the manufacturing process but does not include any member of the armed forces of the union. Sec. 2(l)
Shift and relay Where work of the same kind is carried out by 2 or more sets of workers working during different periods of the day, each of such sets is called a ‘relay’ and each of such periods is called a ‘shift’. Sec. 2(r)
Manufacturing Process “Manufacturing process” means any process for—
(i) Making, altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing, oiling,
washing, cleaning, breaking up, demolishing, or otherwise treating or adapting any article or substance with a view to its use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal, or
(ii) Pumping oil, water, sewage or any other substance; or;
iii) Generating, transforming or transmitting power; or
(iv) Composing types for printing, printing by letterpress, lithography,
photogravure, other similar process or bookbinding;
(v) Constructing, reconstructing, repairing, refitting, finishing or breaking up ships or vessels; (Inserted by the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1976, w.e.f. 26-10-1976.)
(vi) Preserving or storing any article in cold storage
Sec. 2(k)

Solved Question on Factories Act

Question: What is the definition of ‘Prime Mover’ under the Factories Act, 1948?

Answer: Prime Mover means any engine, motor or other appliance which generates or otherwise provides power.

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