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Advantages of Registered Trade Union and Immunity given to trade union

A trade union has to perform a several trade function to achieve its objectives. It is the reason that the various action of the trade union Act 1926 providing several rights to the registered trade union.

The main rights of the registered Trade union are as follows:
  1. After the registration, trade union becomes a body corporate - the first benefit or right of a Registered Trade Union is becoming a body corporate.
    Section 13 of the Trade Union Act 1926, provides the following:
    1.  Such trade union can become a body corporate
    2. Obtain a common succession - it doesn't terminate on the date of any matter.
    3. It has a common seal.
    4. It can buy and retain movable and immovable property in its own name.
    5. It can contract through its agents.
    6. It can sue or be sued in its own name.
  2. Right to Represent - any trade dispute could be represented only by a registered Trade Union. Such union or its office bearers can only represent in such disputes. The right of collective bargaining is also only to the registered trade union.
  3. Right to create Funds - a registered trade union can create a fund for spending money on objects mentioned in section 15 of this act, which is related to the general funds. Similarly, a registered trade union can create a political fund for the collection of money to spend on achieving political objects.
  4. Immunity from Criminal Conspiracy
  5. Immunity from Civil Suits
  6. Right to inspect Documents Books - section 20 of the Act provides the office bearers and members of a registered trade union the right to inspect the account books of the trade union.
  7. Right to obtain membership - section 21 of the Act provides every minor person above the age of 15 years the right to become a member of a registered trade union, but they shall not become an office bearer of a trade union until they attain the age of 18 years.
  8. Right to change the Name - Section 23 provides the trade union the right to change its name. Such can be done by the consent of at least 2/3 members of the trade union.
  9. Right to Amalgamation - section 24 provides that two or more registered trade unions can amalgamate into one trade union, but it requires that such members of the trade union who have the right to vote, at least half of such members shall record their vote and at least 60% of such votes shall be in favor of such a proposal.
  10. Right to dissolve - the members of the registered trade union have the right to dissolve the trade union according to the procedure mentioned in section 27 of the Act.
  11. Right to collect fees - the members and office bearers of a registered trade union have the right to collect the required fees.

Immunity Given To Trade Union
Ans. A trade union has to perform several functions for the security, welfare and support of the member of. Some acts are such which sometime fall within the limits of criminal acts or civil liability. If they would be considered as criminal acts or civil liabilities then the trade union shall not be able to achieve their objective. This is reason that section 17 and 18 of the of trade union act, 1926 provides for immunities from criminal and civil matter to be registered trade union.
  1. Immunity from criminal conspiracy
  2. Immunity from civil suits.

Immunity from criminal conspiracy:
Section 17 of the trade union act, 1926 provides for immunity to registered trade union from criminal conspiracy. Section 17 of the act says that:

Where an agreement or combination of two or more members of the registered union to do or cause to be done any act in furtherance of a trade dispute the nit hall not be considered as criminal conspiracy under section 120(B) of IPC 1860 until it fall in the category of an offence. This means that if the trade union or its members do not agree to do an offence, but can do a trade agreement which may seem to be an offence but actually not an offence.

The best example of it is strike. The member of trade union may agree to do strike or impel the workmen or employees to not to perform their work these work come under the right of the trade union therefore it shall not be considered to be criminal conspiracy.

Above analysis shows that the immunity provides to the trade union is of partial nature. This immunity is in respect of such agreements which are made for the purpose mentioned in section 15. If such agreement is other then the criminal conspiracy then such right shall not be provided.

Immunity from civil suits
Section 18 of trade union act 1926, deal with the immunity from civil proceedings afforded to a registered trade union and to its members or office bearer. A person is liable in a tort for deliberately bringing about a breach of contract of employment between the employers and employees. But a registered trade union and its members and office bearer are protected from being sued for inducing a person to break his contract of employment or for interfering with the trade business or employment such inducement is in contemplation or furtherance of the trade union.

Section 18(1) says:
According to section 18(1) no suits or legal proceedings shall be maintainable in any civil court against any registered trade union or any office bearer or member thereof in respect of an act done in contemplation or furtherance of trade dispute to which the member of the trade union is party on the ground only that such act induces some other person to break a contact of employment or that it is an interference with the trade business or employment of some other person or with the right of some other person to dispose off his capital or his labor so he wills.

Section 18(2) says:
According to section 18(2) a registered trade union shall not be liable in any suit or other legal proceedings in any court in respect of any tortuous act done in the contemplation or furtherance of trade dispute by an agent of the trade union or it is proved that such person acted without the knowledge of or contrary to express instructions given by the executive of the trade union.

Thus section 18 provides immunity to registered trade union from civil liability in following matters:
  1. Implement to breach of contract of employment
  2. Interference with the trade, business, or employment of some other person
  3. Interference with the right of some other person to dispose of his capital or labor as he wills

Case law: Rohtaz industry staff union v/s state of Bihar
The Patna highs court held that the employers has no right under industrial disputes act 1947 to have any civil proceedings for contemplation against the employees engaged in invalid strike but permanent injunction can be issued to prevent the employees from being involved in unfair labour practices.

Case law: Reserve Bank of India V/s Ashish kusum AIR 1969 Kolkata HC
It was held that the enticement for breach of contract is required to be done by people and lawful measures. Invalid measurer's doesn't fall within limit of immunity.

Case law: Western India Cine Employees Federation v/s Filmalaya Pvt. Ltd.
It was held that every trade union is free to perform its action peacefully. Mere demonstration or agitation is not invalid on their own.

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