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1. Short title, extent and commencement.

2. Definitions


3. Appointment of Registrars

4. Mode of registration

5. Application for registration

6. Provisions to be contained in the rules of a Trade Union

7. Power to call for further particulars and to require alterations of names.

8. Registration

9. Certificate of registration

10. Cancellation of registration

11. Appeal

12. Registered office

13. Incorporation of registered Trade Union

14. Certain Acts not to apply to registered Trade Unions


15. Objects on which general funds may be spent

16. Constitution of a separate fund for political purposes.

17. Criminal conspiracy in trade disputes

18. Immunity from civil suit in certain cases

19. Enforceability of agreements

20. Right to inspect books of Trade Union

21. Rights of minors to membership of Trade Unions

2 I A. Disqualifications of office-bearers of Trade Unions

22. Proportion of officers to be connected with the industry

23. Change of name

24. Amalgamation of Trade Unions.

25. Notice of change of name or amalgamation.

26. Effects of change of name and of amalgamation

27. Dissolution

28. Returns


29. Power to make regulations

30. Publication of regulations


31. Failure to submit returns

32. Supplying false information regarding Trade Unions.

33. Cognizance of offences



1. Title and application

2. Definitions

3. Application for registration

4. Register of Trade Unions

5. Certificate of registration

6. Cancellation of registration

7. Unions registered with 3 State Registrars

8 Fees

9. Amendment of rules.

10. Appeals

11. Funds of a dissolved Trade Union

12. Return

13. Auditors

14. Exception

15. Audit

16. Audit of political funds

17. Inspection

FORM A-Application for Registration of Trade Union.

FORM B-Register of Trade Union.

FORM C-Certificate of Registration of Trade Union.

FORM D-Annual Return.



Trade Unionism has made its headway owing to growth of industrialization and capitalism. Trade Unionism asserts collectively the rights of the workers. In industrially advanced countries trade unionism has made a great impact on the social, political and economic life. India, being an agricultural country, trade unionism is restricted to industrial areas and it is still in a stage of growth. The earliest known trade unions in India were the Bombay Millhand’s Association formed in 1890, the Amalgamated Society of railway servants of India and Burma formed in 1897, Printers' Union formed in Calcutta in 1905, the Bombay Postal Union which was formed in 1907, the Kamgar Hitwardhak Sabha Bombay formed in 1910. Trade Union movement began in India after the end of First World War. After a decade following the end of First World War the pressing need for the coordination of the activities of the individual unions was recognised. Thus, the All India Trade Union Congress was formed in 1920 on a National Basis, the Central Labour Board, Bombay and the Bengal Trades Union Federation were formed in 1922. The All India Railwaymen's Federation was formed in the same year and this was followed by the creation of both Provincial and Central federations of unions of postal and telegraph employees. The origin of the passing of a Trade Unions Act in India was the historic Buckingham Mill case of 1940 in which the Madras High Court granted an interim injunction against the Strike Committee of the Madras Labour Union forbidding them to induce certain workers to break their contracts of employment by refusing to return to work. Trade Union leaders found that they were liable to prosecution and imprisonment for bona fide union activities and it was felt that some legislation for the protection of trade union was necessary. In March, 1921, Shri N. M. Joshi, then General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, successfully moved a resolution in the Central Legislative Assembly recommending that Government should introduce legislation for the registration and protection of trade unions. Opposition from employers to the adoption of such a measure was, however, so great that it was not untill 1926 that the Indian Trade Unions Act was passed. The Indian Trade Unions Bill, 1925 was introduced in the Central Legislative Assembly to provide for the registration of Trade Unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions in Provinces of India.


This Bill has been prescribed in response to the following Resolution which was adopted by the Legislative Assembly on 1st March, 1924:

"This Assembly recommends to the Governor-General in Council that he should take steps to introduce, as soon as practicable, in the Indian Legislature, such legislation as may be necessary for the registration of Trade Unions."
The question was examined in detail by the Government of India and local Governments were consulted and public opinion was invited. In the light of opinions received a draft Bill was prepared and published in September, 1924. The Government of India, after considering the criticisms received on that Bill, see no ground for modifying the general principles underlying the Bill, and except for minor alterations, the present Bill is a reproduction of the Bill previously published.
The general scheme of the Bill is that a Trade Union making the necessary application will, on compliance with certain stated conditions designed to ensure that the Union is a bona fide Trade Union, and that adequate safeguards are provided for the rights of its members, be entitled to registration. The Union and its members will thereupon receive protection in certain cases in respect of both civil and criminal liability. No restriction is placed upon the objects which a registered Trade Union may pursue, but the expenditure of its funds must be limited to specified Trade Union purposes. The legal position of Trade Unions which do not register will be unaffected by the Bill.

ACT 16 OF 1926

The Indian Trade Unions Bill, 1925 having been passed by the Legislature received its assent on 25th March, 1926. It came into force on 1st June, 1927 as the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 (16 of 1926). By section 3 of the Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1964 (38 of 1964) the word "Indian" has been omitted and now it is known as THE TRADE UNIONS ACT, 1926 (16 of 1926).


1. The Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1928 (15 of 1928).

2. The Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937.

3. The Repealing and Amending Act, 1942 (25 of 1942).

4. The Indian Independence (Adaptation of Central Acts and Ordinances) Order, 1948.

5. The Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950.

6. The Part B States (Laws) Act, 1951 (3 of 195I).

7. The Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1960 (42 of 1960).

8. The Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1964 (38 of 1964).

9. The Central Labour Laws (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Act, 1970.

(16 of 1926)1

[25th March, 1926]
An Act to provide .for the registration of Trade Unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions 2[***]
WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for the registration of Trade Unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions 2[***].
It is hereby enacted as follows:-

1. Short title, extent and commencement :-(1) This Act may be called the 3[***] Trade Unions Act, 1926.

4[(2) It extends to the whole of India 5[***].

(3) It shall come into force on such date6 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

2. Definitions.-In this Act 7["the appropriate Government" means, in relation to Trade Unions whose objects are not confined to one State, the Central Government, and in relation to other Trade Unions, the State Government, and], unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,-
(a) "Executive’ means the body, by whatever name called, to which the management of the affairs of a Trade Union is entrusted;

(b) "8[office-bearer]" in the case of a Trade Union, includes any member of the executive thereof, but does not include an auditor;

(c) "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;

(d) "registered office" means that office of a Trade Union which is registered under this Act as the head office thereof;

(e) "registered Trade Union" means a Trade Union registered under this Act;

9[(f) "Registrar" means-

1. For Statement of Objects and Reasons, see Gazette of India, 1925, Pt. V, p. 8, and for Report of

Select Committee, see Gazette of India, 1925, Pt. IV, p. 197.

2. The words "in the Provinces of India" omitted by Act 42 of 1960, sec.2.

3. The word "Indian" omitted by Act 38 of 1964, sec.3.

4. Subs. by the A.O. 1950, for the former sub-section (2).

5. The words "except in the State of Jammu and Kashmir" subs. for the words "except Part B States"

by Act 3 of 1951, sec.3 and Sch. and were omitted by Act 51 of 1970, sec. 2 and Sch.

6. Came into force on 1-6-1927, see Gazette of India, 1927, Pt. I, p.467.

7. Ins. by the A.O. 1937.

8. Subs. by Act 38 of 1964, sec.2, for "officer" (w.e.f. 1-4-1965).

9. Subs. by Act 42 of 1960, sec.3, for original clause (f)

(i) a Registrar of Trade Unions appointed by the appropriate Government under section 3, and includes any Additional or Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions, and

(ii) in relation to any Trade Union, the Registrar appointed for the State in which the head or registered office, as the case may be, of the Trade Union is situated;]

(g) "trade dispute" means any dispute between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers which is connected with the employment or non-employment, or the terms of employment or the conditions of labour, of any person, and "workmen" means all persons employed in trade or industry whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises; and

(h) "Trade Union" means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers or between workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more Trade

Provided that this Act shall not affect-

(i) any agreement between partners as to their own business;

(ii) any agreement between an employer and those employed by him as to such employment; or

(iii) any agreement in consideration of the sale of the goodwill of a business or of instruction in any profession, trade or handicraft.


(i) Only the persons engaged in trade or business can form trade unions; Rangaswami v. Registrar of Trade Unions, AIR 1962 Mad 231.

(ii) Primary purpose of a trade union is collective bargaining; Bank of India Employees'

Association V. Reserve Bank of India, (1983) 2 LLN 872 (Bom).

3. Appointment of Registrars.-1[(1)] 2[The appropriate Government] shall appoint a person to be the Registrar of Trade Unions for 3[each state].

4[(2) The appropriate Government may appoint as many Additional and Deputy Registrars of Trade Unions as it thinks fit for the purpose of exercising and discharging, under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar, such powers and functions of the Registrar under this Act as it may, by order, specify and define the local limits within which any such Additional or Deputy Registrar shall exercise and discharge the powers and functions so specified.

1, Section 3 re-numbered as sub-section (1) thereof by Act 42 of 1960, Sec.4.

2. Subs. by the A. 0. 1937, for "Each L.G."

3. Subs. by the A.O. 1937, for "the Province".

4. Ins. by Act 42 of 1960, sec.4.

(3) Subject to the provisions of any order under sub-section (2), where an Additional or Deputy Registrar exercises and discharges the powers and functions of a Registrar in an area within which the registered office of a Trade Union is situated, the Additional or Deputy Registrar shall be deemed to be the Registrar in relation to the Trade Union for the purposes of this Act.]

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