Industrial employment (standing orders) Act, 1946

What are Standing Orders?
Section 2(g) “Standing orders” means rules relating to matters set out in the Schedule;

‘Standing Orders’ means rules of conduct for workmen employed in industrial establishments.

The object of the Act is to require employers in industrial establishments to formally define conditions of employment under them.

Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946



1. Classification of workmen, e.g. whether permanent, temporary, apprentices, probationers, or badlis.

2. Manner of intimating to workmen periods and hours of work, holidays, pay-days and wage rates.

3. Shift working.

4. Attendance and late coming.

5. Conditions of procedure in applying for, and the authority which may grant, leave and holidays.

6. Requirement to enter premises by certain gates, and liability to search.

7. Closing and re-opening of sections of the industrial establishment, and temporary stoppages of work and the rights and liabilities of the employer and workmen arising therefrom.

8. Termination of employment, and the notice thereof to be given by employer and workmen.

9. Suspension or dismissal for misconduct, and acts or omissions, which constitute misconduct.

10. Means of redress for workmen against unfair treatment or wrongful exactions by the employer or his agents or servants.

11. Any other matter, which may be prescribed.

[section 1(3)]. Applicability of the Act - The Act is applicable to all ‘industrial establishments’ employing 100 or more workmen.

Provided that the appropriate Government may, after giving not less than two month’s notice of its intention so to do, by notification in the official Gazette, apply the provision of this Act to any industrial establishment employing such number of persons less than one hundred as may be specified in the notification.

‘Industrial establishment’ means (i) an industrial establishment as defined in section 2(i) of Payment of Wages Act (ii) Factory as defined in section 2(m) of Factories Act (iii) Railway (iv) Establishment of contractor who employs workmen for fulfilling contract with owner of an industrial establishment. [section 2(e)].

The term ‘industrial establishment’ includes factory, transport service, construction work, mines, plantation, workshop, building activity, transmission of power etc.

Nothing in this Act shall apply to.

(i) Any industry to which the provisions of Chapter VII of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946 (Bombay Act II of 1947) apply; or

(ii) Any Industrial establishment to which the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961 (Madhya Pradesh Act 26 of 1961 apply:

Provided that notwithstanding anything contained in the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961 (Madhya Pradesh Act, 26 of 1961), the provision of this Act shall apply to all industrial establishments under the control of the Central Government.]

Section 14. Power to exempt

The appropriate Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, exempt conditionally or unconditionally, any industrial establishment or class of industrial establishment from all or any of the provisions of this Act.

“Wages” and “workman” have the meanings, respectively assigned to them in  Sec. 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947).

Section 13B. Act not to apply to certain Industrial establishments

Act not to apply to certain Industrial establishments. Nothing in this Act shall apply to an industrial establishment in so far as the workmen employed therein are persons to whom the Fundamental and Supplementary Rules, Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, Civil “Services (Temporary Service) Rules, Revised Leave Rules, Civil Service Regulations, Civilians in Defence Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules or the Indian Railway Establishment Code or any other rules or regulations that may be notified in this behalf by the appropriate Government in the official Gazette, apply.]

Approval of Standing Orders - Every employer covered under the Act has to prepare ‘Standing Orders’, covering the matters required in the ‘Standing Orders’. Five copies of these should be sent to Certifying Officer for approval. [section 3(1)]. ‘Certifying Officer’ means Labour Commissioner and any officer appointed by Government to be ‘Certifying Officer’. [section 2(c)].

The Certifying Officer will inform the Union and workmen and hear their objections. After that, he will certify the ‘Standing Orders’ for the industrial establishment. [section 5].  Till standing orders are certified, ‘Model Standing Order’ prepared by Government will automatically apply. [section12A].

Standing order should be displayed in English and local language on special notice boards at or near entrance of the establishment. [section 9]. Modifications of Standing Order shall be done by following similar procedure. [section 10].

Once the ‘Standing Orders’ are certified, they supersede any term and condition of employment, contained in the appointment letter. If there is inconsistency between ‘Standing Order’ and ‘Appointment Letter’, the provisions of ‘Standing Order’ prevail - Eicher Goodearth Ltd. v. R K Soni - (1993)

Standing orders are binding on employer and employee. These are statutorily imposed conditions of service. However, they are not statutory provisions themselves (meaning that the ‘Standing Orders’ even when approved, do not become ‘law’ in the sense in which Rules and Notifications issued under delegated legislation become after they are published as prescribed.) - Rajasthan SRTC v. Krishna Kant - AIR 1995

Model Standing Orders - The Act has prescribed Model Standing Orders. These are automatically applicable till employer prepares his own ‘Standing Orders’ and these are approved by ‘Certifying Officer’. [section 12A].

Disciplinary Action - The most important use of ‘Standing Orders’ is in case of disciplinary action. A workman can be punished only if the act committed by him is a ‘misconduct’ as defined under the ‘Standing Orders’. The ‘Model Standing Orders’ contain such acts like insubordination, disobedience, fraud, dishonesty, damage to employer’s property, taking bribe, habitual absence or habitual late attendance, riotous behaviour, habitual neglect of work, strike in contravention of rules etc. as misconducts. The ‘Certified Standing Orders’ may cover other acts as ‘misconduct’, if approved by ‘Certifying Officer’.

Subsistence Allowance – Where a workman is suspended by employer pending investigation or enquiry into complaints or charges of misconduct against him, the workman shall be paid subsistence allowance equal to 50% of wages for first 90 days of suspension and 75% of wages for remaining period till completion of disciplinary proceedings. [section 10A(1)]. - - ‘Wages’ has same meaning as under section 2(rr) of Industrial Disputes Act. [section 2(i)].


Below shown sample pictures are of the Standing Orders of the Honourable High Court. these are uploaded only for illustration purpose, to show students how the Standing Orders looks like and make them understand what it is contains.