09 November 1964
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 1059 of 1963






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/11/1964


CITATION:  1965 AIR 1076            1965 SCR  (1)  72

ACT: Employees  Provident  Fund  Act, 1952,  s.  1(3)  read  with Schedule  industry engaged in manufacturing brass  utensils- Whether   this   product  fell  within   entry   ’electrical mechanical   and  general  engineering  products   Therefore whether Act applicable to the industry.

HEADNOTE: The respondent firm, which ran a factory manufacturing brass utensils, filed a Writ Petition for the issue of a mandamus, restraining  the  appellant  from  recovering  contributions alleged  to be due under s. 1(3), read with Schedule  1,  of the  Employees Provident Fund Act, 1952,  contending,  inter alia,  that the manufacture of brass utensils did  not  fall within the relevant entry in Schedule 1, i.e. it was not  an industry   engaged  in  the  manufacture   of   ’electrical, mechanical or general engineering products’. The  learned Single Judge, who heard the petition,  rejected the  respondent’s  contention, holding that  brass  utensils were,  in substance, ’drums and containers’ i.e.  they  fell within item (24) and cl. (a) of the Explanation to  Schedule 1,  and  that  therefore their manufacture  was  covered  by Schedule 1. On appeal, however, the Division Bench  reversed this finding and issued a writ as prayed for. it  was  contended  on behalf of  the  respondent  that  the products  to  which the entry referred were  products  which were  useful  in,  or  meant  for,  electrical  engineering, mechanical  engineering,  or general  engineering.   On  the other  hand,  it was the appellant’s  contention,  that  the entry would take in every industry which was engaged in  the manufacture  of  products  that  were  manufactured  by   an electrical, mechanical or general engineering process. HELD  : In construing the relevant entry in Schedule  1,  it was necessary to bear in mind that this entry occurred in an Act  which was intended to serve a beneficent  purpose.   If the  words  used in the entry were capable of  a  narrow  or broad  construction,  each  construction  being   reasonably possible,  and  if it appeared that the  broad  construction would  help the furtherance of the object, then it would  be necessary to prefer that construction. [78 C-F] The  nature  of  the items included in  the  Explanation  to



Schedule  1 clearly showed that some of the items could  not reasonably be included within the restricted  interpretation canvassed by the respondent; on the other hand, the  mention of  several  of  items  would  be  redundant  if  the   wide interpretation   advocated  by  the  appellant  was  to   be accepted. [81 B-H; 82 A-F] The content of the entry ’electrical, mechanical and general engineering  products’  was  that all  products  which  were generally  known  as  electrical  engineering  products   or mechanical  engineering  products  or  general   engineering products  were intended to be covered by the entry, and  the object of Schedule 1 was to include within the scope of  the Act  every industry which was engaged in the manufacture  of electrical   engineering  products  mechanical   engineering products  or  general  engineering  products.   It  was  the character  of  the  products that helped  to  determine  the content of the entry. [82 G-H; 83A]  73 Thus  considered the manufacture of brass utensils  must  be regarded  as  an  activity  the  object  of  which  was  the manufacture of general engineering products. [83 F] Case law reviewed.

JUDGMENT: CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 1059 of 1963. Appeal  from the judgment and order dated April 10, 1962  of the Punjab High Court in L.P. Appeal No. 312 of 1959. B.   Sen and R. N. Sachthey, for the appellant. C.   B.  Agarwala,  J.  B.  Dadachanji,  O.  C.  Mathur  and Ravinder Narain, for the respondent. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Gajendragadkar, CJ.  This appeal raises a short question  as to  the  content  of the entry  "Electrical,  Mechanical  or general  engineering  products" used in Schedule  1  to  the Employees’  Provident  Fund  Act,  1952  (No.  19  of  1952) (hereinafter  called the Act).  The respondent  firm,  Shibu Metal  Works,  runs  a  factory  which  manufactures   brass utensils.   Under the Act and the scheme framed  thereunder, the employer to whose factory the Act applies is required to deposit   with   the  appellant,  the   Regional   Provident Commissioner, his share of the contribution as well as  that of  the  employees coupled with the  administrative  charges within  15 days of each succeeding month.  It  appears  that the  respondent had been making such deposits in  the  past. If  the employer makes a delayed payment, the Government  is entitled to impose damages not exceeding 25 per cent of  the amounts  payable by the employer.  In respect of the  period between  June, 1955 to October, 1955, and for the months  of June, August, September and November, 1956, delayed payments were  made  by  the respondent.   Thereupon,  the  appellant called  upon  the  respondent  to  pay  the  damages.    The respondent,  in turn, made explanations and  contended  that there  was  really  no delay in the making  of  payments  in regard  to some months, and in respect of the  others  where delay  was  admitted,  it claimed that the  same  should  be condoned.  The appellant did not accept either of the  pleas raised  by  the  respondent, and  demanded  the  payment  of damages.    That  led  to  the  present  writ   proceedings, commenced by the respondent in the High Court of Punjab. In  its writ petition filed on the 3rd November,  1958,  the respondent contended that the appellant was not entitled  to recover either the contributions alleged to be due under the Act or



Sup./65-6 74 damages alleged to be due on the ground that there was delay in payment, because the manufacture of brass utensils  which was  the work carried on in the respondents factory did  not come  within  the purview of the Act.  On this  ground,  the respondent  urged that the demand made by the appellant  was illegal,  ultra  vires and without jurisdiction.   The  writ petition  asked  for  the  issue  of  a  writ  of   mandamus restraining  the appellant from recovering any  amount  from the respondent under the Act. The appellant resisted the writ petition and urged that  the entry   "Electrical,  Mechanical  or   general   engineering products"  included manufacture of brass utensils,  and  so, the respondent’s factory fell within the purview of the Act. The appellant also urged that if the respondent  entertained any doubt as to the applicability of the Act to its factory, it should have approached the Central Government for removal of the doubt and not rushed to the court for a judgment. The  learned Single Judge who heard the writ  petition  held that  the  manufacture  of brass utensils  fell  within  the provisions of the relevant entry in Sch.  1, because, in his opinion,  the  said utensils were, in substance,  drums  and containers.   He,  therefore, held that  the  appellant  was entitled  to demand from the respondent the deposit  of  the contributions  as prescribed by the Act.  He, however,  took the  view that the demand for damages made by the  appellant was not justified.  On these findings the writ petition  was partly  allowed  in  that  a writ  was  issued  against  the appellant  restraining  him  from making a  demand  for  the payment  of  damages.  In regard to the claim  made  by  the respondent   that   it  was  not  liable  to   deposit   the contributions under the Act, the learned Judge held that the said claim was not justified. The  respondent then preferred an appeal under  the  Letters Patent  before  a Division Bench of the Punjab  High  Court. The  Letters  Patent  Bench  has  upheld  the   respondent’s contention  that the manufacture of brass utensils does  not fell  within  the entry "Electrical, Mechanical  or  general engineering products" enumerated in Sch.  1 to the Act.   In the  result, the respondents appeal was allowed and  a  writ was issued against the appellant in terms of the prayer made by the respondent in its writ petition.  The appellant  then moved  the  said High Court for a certificate and  with  the certificate  granted  to him, he has come to this  Court  in appeal.  That is how the only question which arises for  our decision  is  :  what  is the  true  content  of  the  entry "Electrical,  Mechanical  or general  engineering  products" included in Sch. 1 ,of the Act?  75 Before  dealing  with this point, it would  be  relevant  to refer briefly to the broad features of the scheme prescribed by  the Act, and its purpose.  This Act was passed in  order to  provide  for  the institution  of  provident  funds  for employees in factories and other establishments.  Section 1, sub-section  (3),  originally provided that subject  to  the provisions  contained in S. 16, the Act would apply  (a)  to every  establishment  which  is a  factory  engaged  in  any industry  specified  in  Sch.  1 and in  which  50  or  more persons  are  employed, and (b) to any  other  establishment employing 50 or more persons or class of such establishments which  the  Central Government may, by notification  in  the Official  Gazette,  specify  in that  behalf.   ’Mere  is  a proviso  to this subsection which it is unnecessary  to  set out.  Later, in 1960, the requirement that 50 workmen should



be employed has been modified and now, the employment of  20 workmen  is  enough to attract the application of  the  Act. Section   2(g)  defines  a  "factory"  a,-,  any   premises, including  the  precincts thereof, in any part  of  which  a manufacturing  process is being carried on or is  ordinarily so carried on, whether with the aid of power or without  the aid of power.  This shows that if the test prescribed by  S. 1(3) is satisfied and the undertaking is shown to be engaged in  a manufacturing process, the Act applies.  It  makes  no difference  to the applicability of the Act that in a  given factory, the manufacturing process is carried on without the aid of power.  It is the manufacturing process which is  the decisive factor.  Section (1) defines "industry" as  meaning any industry specified in Sch. 1, and includes any  industry added  to  the  Schedule by notification under  S.  4.  This definition shows how entries in Sch. 1 assume  significance. Whenever  a  question arises as to whether any  industry  is governed by the Act, the answer is to be found by looking at Sch. 1. It is also clear that additions can be made to  Sch. 1  from time to time by notification by the Central  Govern- ment.   Section  4 specifically confers this  power  on  the Central Government.  It provides that the Central Government may add any industry to Sch.  1 and it lays down that  after the notification is issued by the Central Government in that behalf,  the  industry  so added shall be deemed  to  be  an industry  specified in Sch. 1 for the purposes of  the  Act. Section   4(2)  provides  a  safeguard  by  requiring   that notifications  issued  under sub-section (1) shall  be  laid before Parliament, as soon as may be, after they are issued. Section 5 is the key section of the Act and it provides  for the institution of Employees’ Provident Fund Schemes.  It is not  necessary  for our purpose to refer to the  details  of these schemes.  It would thus be seen that the basic purpose of the Act is to 76 require that appropriate provision should be made by way  of provident  fund for the benefit of the employees engaged  in establishments to which the Act applies.  Rules made for the institution  of the funds provide for contribution  both  by the  employees  and the employers and there  can  be  little doubt that the purpose intended to be achieved by the Act is a  very  beneficent  purpose  in  that  it  assures  to  the employees  concerned  the payment of  specified  amounts  of provident fund in due time. Schedule 1 which plays a decisive role in the  determination of  the question as to whether an industry falls  under  the provisions of the Act, originally contained six entries.  It provided  that  any industry engaged in the  manufacture  or production  of the six items mentioned therein shall  be  an industry  for  the  purpose  of  the  Act.   The  words  "or production"  were deleted in 1953 and now, the entry  refers to  any  industry engaged in the manufacture  of  the  items mentioned  in  Sch. 1. Amongst the items thus  inserted  was "Electrical,  Mechanical or general  engineering  products." Just  as the requirement as to the number of  workmen  whose employment would bring the establishment within the scope of the Act has been liberalised and 50 has been brought down to 20,  so the items listed in Sch. 1 have also  been  expanded and  several additions have been made in that  behalf.   The object  of the Act clearly was to proceed to make  provision for  the  provident  fund  for  the  benefit  of  industrial employees  in  a  cautious and pragmatic  manner,  and  that explains  how and why the Central Government has slowly  and gradually but progressively, been expanding the scope of the applicability of the Act to different branches of  industry.



The  process  of  making  additions  to  Sch.   1  has  been proceeding  apace  and one has merely to look at  the  items which have been listed in Sch. 1 by several additions up  to the  15th of May, 1964 to realise how the scope of  Sch.   1 has been considerably expanded. The question as to what exactly is the content of the  entry with which we are concerned has been considered by different High  Courts  from time to time, and we would  very  briefly indicate  what the effect of these decisions is in order  to illustrate  how  the  approach  adopted  by  the  Courts  in interpreting  this entry has not been uniform.  In  Regional Provident Commissioner, U.P., Kanpur v. M/s.  Great  Eastern Electroplator  Ltd.,(1)  a Division Bench of  the  Allahabad High Court held that an electric torch case is receptacle in which the torch batteries are kept, and it is, therefore,  a container within the meaning of item (24) of the (1)  A.I.R. 1959 All 133.  77 Explanation  to  Sch. 1, and is or must be deemed to  be  an electrical,  mechanical or general engineering product.   We ought to add that in 1953, an Explanation has been added  to Sch.  1 for the purpose of indicating what items would  fall under   the   entry  "Electrical,  mechanical   or   general engineering  products".  Amongst the items listed under  the Explanation,  item  (24)  is ’drums  and  containers’.   The Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court reversed the view taken  by the learned single Judge of the said  High  Court, and came to the conclusion that an electric torch case is  a container within the meaning of item (24) in the Explanation to which we have just referred.  This decision of the  Divi- sion  Bench was brought to this Court in appeal (No. 580  of 1960,  decided on 18th December 1962), and this  Court  took the  view that the conclusion reached by the Division  Bench that  an  electric  torch case is  a  container  within  the meaning  of  item  (24) of the Explanation to  Sch.   1  was right. In  the Nagpur Glass Works Ltd. v. Regional  Provident  Fund Commissioner,  (1)  the  Bombay High  Court  has  held  that burners  or metal lamps were products which fell within  the Schedule under the entry ’Electrical, mechanical or  general engineering products’. In Haji Nadir Ali Khan and Others v. The Union of India  and Others,(2)  Falshaw J., as he then was, took the  view  that musical  instruments,  whether made of metal  or  otherwise, though not mentioned specifically in Sch. 1, fell within the scope  of the expression "electrical, mechanical or  general engineering  products".  In Hindustan Electric Co., Ltd.  v. Regional  Provident  Fund Commissioner, Punjab,  &  Anr.,(3) Grover  J.  of  the Punjab High Court  similarly  held  that stoves would fall within the expression in question. In Madras, in T. R. Raghava Iyengar and Co. v. The  Regional Provident  Fund Commissioner, Madras, (4) Jagadisan  J.  has taken  the  view  that the conversion of  metal  sheets  and circles  into vessels results in products of  metal  rolling and  re-rolling  within the meaning of the Schedule  to  the Act,  and so, an industry for the purpose  of  manufacturing vessels  and  utensils out of brass and  copper  sheets  and circles is covered by the Act. In The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Bombay v. Shree Krishna  Metal Manufacturing Co., Bhandara, and  Oudh  Sugar Mills  Ltd.,(1)  one  of  the points  which  arose  for  the decision (1) I.L.R. [1958] Bom. 444. (2) A.I.R. 1958 Pun. 177. (3) A.I.R. 1959 Pun. 27.    (4) A.I.R. 1963 Mad. 238. (5)  [1962] Supp. 3 S.C.R. 815.



78 of this Court was whether the manufacture of metal  circular sheets  fell  within  Sch. 1, and it  appears  that  it  was conceded  by both the parties that the said work would  fall within Sch.  1 of the Act; and so, the Co., carrying on  the said  work  was  a factory engaged  in  the  industry  which attracted  the provisions of the Act.  We have  referred  to these  decisions  only  to illustrate how  in  dealing  with different  products, the Courts have tried to interpret  the entry  in  question;  it appears that in  dealing  with  the products  with which they were concerned in each case,  they did not adopt a uniform approach, and the reasons given  and the  tests applied by them are not the same or similar.   It is  hardly  necessary to add that we propose to  express  no opinion on the merits of the decisions to which we have just referred. Reverting  then to the question of construing  the  relevant entry  in Sch. 1, it is necessary to bear in mind that  this entry  occurs  in  the  Act which is  intended  to  serve  a beneficent  purpose.  The object which the Act  purports  to achieve  is to require that appropriate provision should  be made  for  the employees employed in the  establishments  to which the Act applies; and that means that in construing the material  provisions  of  such  an Act,  if  two  views  are reasonably possible, the courts should prefer the view which helps  the achievement of the object.  If the words used  in the  entry  are capable of a narrow or  broad  construction, each construction being reasonably possible, and it  appears that  the broad construction would help the  furtherance  of the  object, then it would be necessary to prefer  the  said construction.    This  rule  postulates  that  there  is   a competition between the two constructions, each one of which is  reasonably  possible.  This rule does  not  justify  the straining   of  the  words  or  putting  an   unnatural   or unreasonable  meaning  on  them  just  for  the  purpose  of introducing a broader construction. The  other  circumstance which has to be borne  in  mind  in interpreting the entry is that the interpretation should not concentrate on the word "products" used in it.  If this word had  been used, say for instance in the material  provisions of  the  Sales-tax  Act,  the  decision  as  to  whether   a particular  product is liable to pay the tax,  would  depend upon  the  consideration whether the  pro-duct  in  question falls  within the scope of the said Act or not, and in  that context,  interpretation would naturally concentrate on  the character  and  nature of the product in question.   In  the -present  case, the entry takes us back to the first  clause of  Sch.   1  which refers to any industry  engaged  in  the manufacture  of  any  of  the  products  enumerated  by  the different entries in Sch.  T. So, in  79 construing the relevant entry, what we have to ask ourselves is  :  is  the industry of the  respondent  engaged  in  the manufacture of any of the products mentioned in the entry  ? It is the character of the industrial activity carried on by the  respondent’s undertaking that falls to  be  determined, and  the question is not so much as to what is  the  product produced  as  what  is the nature of  the  activity  of  the respondent’s  undertaking; is the  respondent’s  undertaking engaged  in  the manufacture of the products in  question  ? This   consideration   is  relevant  for  the   purpose   of determining the content of the entry. There  is no doubt that the establishment of the  respondent is a factory within the meaning of S. 2 (g), and it would be an   industry  within  the  meaning  of  Sch.   1   if   its



manufacturing activity is found to be an activity  connected with the products enumerated in the entry.  The entry refers to  engineering  products.  It is, therefore,  necessary  to clear  the  ground by referring to  the  word  "engineering" which qualifies the word "products".  To engineer, according to  the dictionary meaning, is to act as an engineer, or  to employ the art of the engineer upon; to construct or  manage as   an   engineer.    "Engineering",   according   to   the Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 8, in its early uses  referred specially to the operations of those who constructed engines of  war  and  executed  works  intended  to  serve  military purposes.  Such military engineer,-, were long the only ones to whom the title was applied.  But about the middle of 18th century  a  new  class  of  engineers  arose  who  concerned themselves  with works which, though they might be  in  some cases of the same character as those undertaken by  military engineers,  as in the making of roads, were  neither  exclu- sively  military  in purpose nor executed by  soldiers,  and those  men by way of distinction came to be known  as  civil engineers.  Thus, civil engineering came to be known as  the "art  of directing the great sources of power in nature  for the  use and convenience of man, as the means of  production and  of  traffic in states, both for external  and  internal trade,  as  applied in the construction of  roads,  bridges, aqueducts,  canals, river navigation and docks for  internal intercourse and exchange, and in the construction of  ports, harbours, moles, breakwaters and lighthouses, and in the art of  navigation  by  artificial power  for  the  purposes  of commerce,   and  in  the  construction  and  adaptation   of machinery,  and  in the drainage of cities and  towns".  (p. 444). Gradually, however, Specialisation set in.  The first branch of  engineering  which received recognition  as  a  separate branch,   was  mechanical  engineering.   This   branch   is concerned with 80 steam engines, machine tools, millwork and moving  machinery in general, and it was soon followed by mining  engineering, which  deals with the location and working of coal, ore  and other  minerals.  Subsequently, numerous other more or  less strictly   defined  groups  and  sub-divisions   came   into existence;  they  are  : civil,  mining  and  metallurgical, mechanical,    electrical,   chemical    aeronautical    and industrial.   There are other less clearly defined  branches of  engineering,  such as  sanitary,  structural,  drainage, hydraulic,  highway,  railway,  electric  power,  electrical communications,  steam power, internal  combustion,  marine, welding, production, petroleum production, fire  protection, safety,   architectural,   nuclear,   and   management    or administrative engineering (p. 448). It  would thus appear that the area covered  by  engineering which was originally occupied only by military  engineering, is now split up into several sub-areas which are covered  by special branches of engineering known by special names.  The entry  in  question  refers  to  electrical  and  mechanical engineering,  and  it is easy enough to determine  what  the denotation  of  these two expressions is.  In  the  context, ’general  engineering’ which is also mentioned in the  entry must not be construed in a general comprehensive sense which the words may, prima facie, suggest, because if that was the scope  of  the  said words, there was hardly  any  point  in referring   to   electrical   and   mechanical   engineering separately.   Therefore,  we are inclined to hold  that  the expression "general engineering" does not include electrical or  mechanical engineering which are specifically  mentioned



in the entry, and it also does not include other branches of engineering  which are known by specific or special  titles. These  specific  branches of engineering have  already  been indicated   by   us  by  reference  to   the   Encyclopaedia Britannica. After the first six entries had been included in Sch.  1  in 1952, an Explanation was added to it in 1953 which  purports to  indicate what items are intended to be included  in  the entry   "Electrical,  mechanical  or   general   engineering products".   This Explanation consists of four clauses;  cl. (a) enumerates the items falling under the entry with  which we are concerned in the present appeal, whereas clauses (b), (c) and (d) afford similar explanation in regard to  entries relating  to  "Iron  and  Steel",  "Paper",  and  "Textiles" respectively.  A glance at the items included in cl. (a)  of the  Explanation, as well as the items included  in  clauses (b),  (c)  &  (d)  clearly shows  that  the  object  of  the legislature  in enacting the Explanation was to clarify  the content of the respective entries   81 in Sch. 1, to illustrate them by adding specific items,  and to  enlarge their scope in some material  particulars.   The fact that an Explanation has been added with this purpose in 1953,  must  also be taken into account  in  construing  the entry in question. Mr.  Agarwala  for  the respondent has  contended  that  the learned  single  Judge  was in error  in  holding  that  the respondent’s  industry  was engaged in  the  manufacture  of drums  and containers specified as item (24)  introduced  in cl. (a) of the Explanation.  He argues that the core of  the entry  is  engineering products, and  while  construing  the entry,   the  significance  of  this  core  should  not   be overlooked.   According  to him, the entry really  takes  in engineering  products  like  machinery  and  equipment   for generation  of  electrical  energy.   He  suggests  that  in determining  the  content  of  this  entry,  we  should  ask ourselves what would this entry mean to an ordinary  citizen in  a commercial sense ? It would mean that the products  to which the entry refers are products which are useful in,  or meant for, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or general  engineering.  This entry may also take in  machines or  their parts which are similarly useful in or  meant  for electrical,  mechanical,  or general engineering.   If  this narrow construction is accepted, then, of course, production of brass utensils would be plainly outside the entry. There  are,  however, several considerations  which  suggest that  this  narrow construction cannot be accepted.   As  we have  already indicated, a glance at the items mentioned  in cl.  (a)  of  the  Explanation  and  the  extended   meaning attributed to the respective entries covered by clauses (b), (c) and (d) of the Explanation, clearly indicates that  none of the said entries can be reasonably mad in that restricted manner.  If this restricted interpretation is accepted, then several  items included in cl. (a) of the Explanation  would be  so  completely foreign to the original  content  of  the entry  that their inclusion would appear to be  unjustified. Take  for instance, item (15) in cl. (a) of the  Explanation which  is bicycles; item (17) which is sewing  and  knitting machines;  item  (22) which is safes, vaults  and  furniture made of iron or steel or steel alloys; or item (23) which is cutlery  and  surgical  instruments.   Clause  (a)  of   the Explanation provides that these items should be included  in the  entry in question, "without prejudice to  the  ordinary meaning  of  the expressions used therein".  If  the  narrow construction for which Mr. Agarwala contends is accepted, it



would  look  unreasonable that the Legislature  should  have introduced  these  items under cl. (a) of  the  Explanation. Besides, 82 this  construction  lays undue emphasis on  the  concept  of products and erroneously treats engineering products as  the core  of  the expression.  What the entry  really  means  is electrical  engineering  products,  mechanical   engineering products or general engineering products and in  determining the  content  of  the entry, we have to  hark  back  to  the relevant  consideration  that  this  entry  is  intended  to describe an industry as falling within the scope of the  Act if  the said industry is engaged in the manufacture  of  the products  in  question.  Now, if we take the  other  entries which  were initially included in Sch. 1,  the  construction for which Mr. Agarwala contends cannot obviously be  applied in  respect  of  them;  and so, we think  it  would  not  be possible to adopt the narrow construction which Mr. Agarwala has suggested for our acceptance. On the other hand, Mr. Sen for the appellant suggested  that the proper way to construe this entry would be to hold  that this entry would take in every industry which is engaged  in the  manufacture  of  products  which  are  manufactured  by electrical, mechanical or general engineering process.  This construction treats the process of production as the crux of the entry; and if this construction were accepted, the scope of  the content of the entry would be very wide indeed.   If every product whose production can be referred to one or the other  of the processes mentioned in the entry is  construed to  fall within its content, then several other  entries  in the  Schedule  would, prima facie, appear to  be  redundant, because  this entry itself would be comprehensive enough  to take them in.  In that case, Explanation (a) which has  been added in 1953 would itself appear to be without any purpose, because  most,  if not all, of the items introduced  by  the said  clause  would be included within  the  original  entry itself.  In our opinion, such a wide construction would  not be justified, because we are inclined to hold that it is not the  process which is important in construing the  entry  as the  character  of the activity with which the  industry  is concerned.   That is why we are not prepared to  accent  the very broad construction of the entry suggested by Mr. Sen. The  proper  way  to determine the  content  of  this  entry appears  to  us to be to hold that all  products  which  are generally  known  as  electrical  engineering  products,  or mechanical  engineering  products,  or  general  engineering products,  are intended to be covered by the entry, and  the object of Sch.  1 is to include within the scope of the  Act every  industry  which  is engaged  in  the  manufacture  of electrical engineering products, mechanical engineering  83 products,  or  general  engineering  products.   It  is  the character  of  the  products that  helps  to  determine  the content  of  the  entry; can. the  product  in  question  be reasonably  described as an electrical engineering  product, or   a   mechanical  engineering  product,  or   a   general engineering  product ? That is the question to ask in  every case,  and as we have already indicated, in considering  the question as to whether the product falls under the  category of  general engineering product, general engineering  should be  construed  in the limited sense which  we  have  already shown.   It  may be that in a large majority of  cases,  the products  included  within  the entry  may  be  produced  by electrical or mechanical or general engineering process; but that  is  not  the essence of the  matter.   The  industrial



activity which manufactures the three categories of products already  enumerated  by us, brings the industry  within  the scope of Sch. 1, and therefore, attracts the application  of the Act. If  we bear in mind the three broad categories of  products, the  manufacture  of which brings the  industry  within  the scope  of Sch. 1, it would be easy to appreciate  the  items enumerated  in cl. (a) of the Explanation.  Broadly  stated, items  1  to  6 can be, said to  be  electrical  engineering products;  7 to 10 may be said to be mechanical  engineering products and the rest general engineering products.  We  are free  to  confess that the inclusion of each  one  of  these items  in  cl.  (a)  of the  Explanation  cannot  be  easily explained;  but,  on the whole, it appears to  us  that  the object  of  the Explanation was to clarify,  illustrate  and expand  the content of the entry in question in  order  that there should be no doubt as to the classes and categories of industry  which  were  intended to  be  brought  within  the purview  of  the Act.  Thus considered, we  think  that  the manufacture  of brass utensils can easily be regarded as  an activity  the object of which is the manufacture of  general engineering products.  This interpretation is not as  narrow as  that  suggested by Mr. Agarwala, nor as  broad  as  that suggested to Mr. Sen, and, on the whole, it seems to fit  in with  the scheme of Sch.  1 considered in the light  of  the object  intended  to  be achieved by the  insertion  of  the Explanation  in  1953 and the subsequent additions  made  to Sch.   1  itself.   We are, therefore,  satisfied  that  the Letters  Patent Bench of the Punjab High Court was in  error in holding that the respondent’s factory did not fall within the   scope   of  the  material  provisions  of   the   Act. Incidentally, we may add that before the present controversy arose  between the respondent and the appellant, it  appears that the respondent had 84 been making deposits towards the Provident Fund as  required by the Act. The  result is, the appeal is allowed, the order  passed  by the  :,Letters  Patent Bench is set aside and  that  of  the learned single Judge restored with costs throughout. Appeal allowed. 85