The Apprentice Act was enacted in 1961 and came into effect on January 1, 1963,
in order to provide regulations and control over the training of apprentices.
The actual meaning of the word apprentice is that it means a person who is
learning a trade or profession under a skilled employer. Due to rapid
industrialization in the country, the demand for skilled craftsmen increased,
creating more employment.
The government considered in utilizing the
availability by providing training and regularizing it by establishing an Act.
The main objective of this is to provide "job training," which will lead them to
fit into suitable employment and prevent them from exploitation. The Act was
further amended in 1973 and 1986 to provide better regulations and control over
the training of apprentices.
Definitions and Application of the Act
This Act is applicable to the whole of India unless it is mentioned in the
official gazette by the central government. The Act defines an apprentice as a
person who is undergoing apprenticeship training in pursuance of a contract.
Every contract of apprentices is prescribed by the Apprenticeship Advisor, who
is appointed by the Central Government by notification in the official gazette
by the Central Apprentices Advisor or by the State Government by notification in
the official gazette as the State Apprentices Advisor.
Training and Conditions of Apprentices
A person could not be qualified as an apprentice unless he satisfied the
conditions under Section 3. To undergo apprenticeship training in any designated
trade, he should not be less than fourteen years of age and should satisfy the
standards of education and physical fitness as may be prescribed, which vary
according to the designated trade.
Without a contract of apprenticeship, a
person could not be appointed as an apprentice to undergo apprenticeship
training. If he is a minor, the guardian of the minor could enter into a
contract. The contract shall contain the period of apprenticeship training. The
contract of apprenticeship would be terminated on the expiration of the
apprenticeship training period, and it would also be terminated by either party
to the contract by making an application to the apprenticeship adviser, who
shall send a copy by post to the other party to the contract.
By considering the
contents and the objections in the application filed by the party, the
apprenticeship adviser may terminate it by passing an order in writing due to
the failure of the terms and conditions of the contract. The ratio of trade
apprentices to workers is decided by the government and published in the
official gazette after consultation with the Apprenticeship Council.
It is the
duty of the employer to provide a suitable workshop and program for the
apprentice, which should be approved by the apprenticeship adviser for the
practical and basic training of apprentices. During the period of apprentice
training, the employer, with the consideration of the Central Apprenticeship
Council, would provide related instructions to the apprentices for their
theoretical knowledge. During this period, the employer and apprentices have
some obligations to carry out as outlined in Sections 11 and 12.
The employer shall provide payment to every apprentice during their training
period, and the payment should not fall below the prescribed level or the amount
that was being paid by the employer on January 1, 1970, to the category of
apprentices under such apprentices, whichever is higher, and he is not entitled
to be paid for any piece of work, bonus, or other incentives.
The provisions of
the Factory Act are also applicable to the health, safety, and welfare of the
apprentice. The working hour of the apprentice is limited by law, and no
apprentice is required to work more than the prescribed working hour unless it
is permitted by the apprenticeship adviser in the interest of the person. If any
injury happens during the course of the training program, the employer is fully
liable to pay the compensation in accordance with the provisions of the
Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923. where it is the duty of the apprentice to
follow the rules and regulations prescribed.
The apprentices who are all
undergoing apprenticeship training are considered trainees, and they do not fall
under the category of workers. Any provisions relating to labor do not attract
apprentices. The employer is bound to maintain the records and returns of each
apprentice, and at the time of any dispute between the employer and apprentices,
the apprentice adviser decides the decision.
After the completion of the apprentice training period, each apprentice can
appear for a test conducted by the National Council to determine his proficiency
in the trade. The progress of the apprentice in training of every graduate or
technical apprentice shall be assessed by the employer from time to time. There
is no obligation for the employer to offer any employment to the apprentice
after the completion of the apprenticeship training, and the apprentice is also
not bound by any condition to accept any offer made to him by the employer after
the successful period of the apprenticeship training.
Authorities under this Apprentice Act:
There are various authorities under this act; they are:
- The National Council
- The Central Apprentice Council
- The State Council
- The State Apprentices Council
- The All India Council
- The Regional Board
- The Board or State Council of Technical Education
- The Central Apprenticeship Adviser
- The State Apprenticeship Adviser
Further, the government may appoint any suitable person as an additional, joint,
regional, deputy, or assistant apprenticeship adviser to assist and perform the
functions assigned under this Act.
Under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, all the apprenticeship advisers and
additional, joint, regional, deputy, and assistant apprenticeship advisers shall
be deemed to be public servants.
The Central Apprenticeship Adviser or any person not below the rank of an
Assistant Apprenticeship Adviser or any person authorized by the Central
Apprenticeship Adviser has certain powers in the following:
Offences and Penalties for Disobedience and Exploitation:
- At any reasonable time, he could enter and examine any establishment.
- Could examine any apprentice employed and could call for the production of a
register or any other related document that may be considered important for the
proceedings under this Act.
- Would make any other examination and inquiry as he thinks fit under the scope of
- And they could exercise other powers as prescribed.
If an employer appoints an apprentice who is not qualified as an apprentice,
fails to carry out the terms and conditions of a contract of apprenticeship, or
contravenes any of the provisions of the Act, then he is punishable with a term
of six months imprisonment or a fine, or with both a fine and imprisonment.
If the employer did not cooperate with the proceedings by:
- Refusing or neglecting to furnish the information
- Furnishing any information falsely that is knowingly not to be true
- Refusing to answer or providing the wrong answer for a necessary question required to be furnished
- Preventing any authorized officer from his duty of making an entry, inspection, examination, or inquiry under this Act
- Makes an apprentice work more than the prescribed working hour without the approval of the apprenticeship adviser.
- Providing work to an apprentice that is not related to him
- Providing payment to an apprentice on the basis of piecework
- Providing any output bonuses or incentives to the apprentice
Any person who contravenes any of the provisions in the Act for which punishment
is not provided shall be punishable with a fine that will be not less than a
thousand rupees and may extend to three thousand rupees.
If a company commits an offense under this Act, then the persons who are in
charge of it and were responsible for it shall be deemed to be guilty of that
offense and will be liable to be proceeded with and punished accordingly, but it
is provided that nothing contained in this shall render any such person liable
to punishment under this Act. If he proves that the offense was committed beyond
his knowledge or if he has done all due diligence to prevent that offense,
Without the written complaint of the apprentice adviser or the officer of the
rank of deputy apprentice adviser and above, the court shall not take cognizance
of any offense under this Act.
No suit, prosecution, or other legal proceedings can be filed against any person
for the things done in good faith under the meaning of the Act.
Government Powers to Create and Amend Rules:
Central Government, after consulting the Central Apprenticeship Council, could
make rules relating to this Act by notification in the Official Gazette. Any
contravention of such rules shall be punishable. Every rule made under Section
37 shall be laid before each House of Parliament while it is in session for a
total period of thirty days, which may be comprised in one session if both
houses agree to make any modifications to the rule or both houses disagree that
the rule should be made. Then the rule shall have effect only after such
modifications or have no effect, and such modifications shall be done without
The need for this Act is indispensable, which enhances the protection of the
apprentice. But there are no clear provisions to sort out their problems. Due to
the rapid development of industrialization, these provisions are becoming
outdated. By improving and raising awareness, these provisions would be more
effectively applicable and prevent workers from exploitation.