The Madras High Court has upheld the amendments to the Tamil Nadu Factories Rules in November 2011 which relate to fireworks manufacturers.

Dismissing a writ petition by the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association, Justice V.Ramasubramanian said the court was primarily concerned only with the validity of the rules and compliance with procedures prescribed by law. Once this was satisfied, it was not possible to stretch the court’s jurisdiction to find out if implementation of the rules would result in hardship to the manufacturers.

“Hardship is in-built in every professional or business venture, as every venture is regulated by law. The hardship caused to society at large, due to the failure to regulate a business or professional venture, would be much more than the hardship caused to the industry by regulating it. Therefore, I am constrained not to go into the question of hardship that would be caused by the requirements,” observed Mr.Justice Ramasubramanian.

In the petition before the Madurai Bench, the association represented by its president, S.S.Vijayakumar, challenged the amendments to the factories rules by the State Government, gazetted on November 9, 2011.

The petitioner strongly opposed certain prescriptions which included that workers aged above 55 should be employed only in non-explosive areas, no manufacturing activity should be carried on in fireworks factories between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., not more than one manufacturing activity of any one item of cracker should be allowed or required to be done in any working shed at a time and in every fireworks factory, a supervisor with a minimum qualification of B.Sc (Chemistry) or Diploma in Chemical Engineering or its equivalent should be appointed. The supervisor should be fully conversant with fireworks manufacturing process and associated hazards.

The petitioner contended among other things that there is repugnancy between the requirements now prescribed by the impugned amendment and those under the Explosives Rules.

Mr.Justice Ramasubramanian said the Factories Act 1948 was also a law deemed to have been made by the Parliament. It was a law enacted subsequent to the Explosives Act 1884. Just as the Explosives Act conferred powers upon the Centre under Section 7 to issue rules, the Factories Act conferred powers upon both the Central and State Governments to make rules. Therefore, the State Government’s competence to issue rules could not be questioned as it could be traced to statutory provisions. The only area where a challenge could be made was when a rule made by the Centre under the Explosives Act was in direct conflict with a State Government’s rule under the Factories Act.

The Judge said a careful perusal of Rules 10 and 11 and various prescriptions under the Explosives Rules would show that none of them was in conflict with the impugned amendment. He said he had seen on comparison that there was no repugnancy between the rules under the Explosives Act and those under the Factories Act. Therefore, the question of conflict did not arise.

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