Industrial Employment Act,
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This article is written by Kabir Jaiswal, a student of National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi (NUSRL).

What is a Standing order?

Standing orders are defined in accordance with Section 2(g) of the Industrial Employment Act, 1946, which means rules on matters laid down in the schedule. It deals with rules of conduct for industrial establishments employed workers. Both employer and employee are bound by standing orders. These are statutory service conditions. They are not statutory provisions themselves (which means that even when the’ standing orders’ are approved, they do not become ‘law’ in the sense that the rules and notifications issued under delegated legislation are published as required) –Rajasthan SRTC v. Krishna Kant.

Approval of a Standing order

  • Approval of Standing OrdersEach employer covered by the Act must prepare’ standing orders,’ which cover the matters required by the’ standing orders.’ Five copies of those should be forwarded to the certification officer for approval. [section 3(1)]
  • The certification officer informs the Union and its employees and hears their objections. He will then certify the “standard orders” for the industrial establishment. [section 5]
  • Until standing orders are certified, the ‘Model Standing Order’ prepared by the government will apply automatically. [section 12A]

Can a standing order be modified?

Changes to the Standing Order shall be effected by a similar procedure as above. [section 10] Section 10 deals with the duration and modification of standing orders, which states that standing orders finally certified under the Industrial Employment Act, 1946 cannot be changed Except on agreement between the employer and the employees or a trade union or other representative body of the employees before the expiration of 6 months from the date on which the Standing Orders or last amendment became operational. The purpose of the time limit was to give the standing orders or their modification a fair trial.

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Who can apply for Modification?

Before 1956, the right to apply for amendments was only granted to the employer, but later, through the 1956 amending act, it allowed both the employer and the workers to apply for amendments to the Standing Orders. Later in 1982– amendment also included the trade union or other eligible employee representatives who can apply for amendments.

Section 10 (2)

“Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1), an employer or workman [or a trade union or other representative body of the workmen] may apply to the Certifying Officer to have the standing orders modified and such application shall be accompanied by five copies of [***] the modifications proposed to be made, and where such modifications are proposed to be made by agreement between the employer and the workmen [or a trade union or other representative body of the workmen] a certified copy of that agreement shall be filed along with the application.”

In Indian Express Employees Union v. Indian Express (Madurai) Ltd It was concluded that if 2 trade unions are one major minor, then if a minority union requests modification, the majority union may object to such an amendment. Kerala High Court also held that, since there is no time limit in Section 19(2) for making an application for amendments, after the expiration of 6 months from the last amendment. Even after a decade, a modification application can be made.
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Procedure for Modification- Section 10(2)

The application for amendment shall be accompanied by 5 copies of the proposed amendment and, where such amendment is proposed by agreement between the employer and the workmen, a certified copy of that agreement shall be submitted together with the application. This provision applies to the rest of India except in Gujrat and Maharashtra State (Section 10(4)). 

Right of employer

Each employer covered by the Industrial Employment Act of 1946 must prepare and send five copies of the orders to the certifying officer for approval.

A right of employee or employer to appeal

An aggrieved party may appeal to the appeal authority within thirty days of the date on which the certifying officer sent him copies of the standing orders. The authority’s order shall be final.

Section 6(1) empowers the appellate authority to do only two things:

  • Confirm the orders in the form certified by the certification officer.
  • Confirm standing orders by making the necessary amendments or additions after they have been amended.
  • The certified standing orders shall be enforceable at the expiration of 30 days from the date on which the certifying officer sends the authenticated copies of the same to the parties.
  • If an appeal has been filed, it shall enter into force at the expiration of seven days from the date on which copies of the appeal authority’s order are sent to the parties.

Conditions, Hearing & Appeal: Standing order 

  • An employer must submit 5 copies of the draft standing orders proposed by him or her for adoption in an industrial establishment to the certifying officer. An employer will make provision in such draft for every matter set out and such provision would be applicable to the industrial establishment. The draft standing orders to be submitted shall be accompanied by a declaration stating the specified details of the workers employed in the industrial establishment, including the name of the trade union to which they belong.
  • A request for the certification of joint standing orders shall be made in the form prescribed and the number of copies of the joint draft standing orders, equivalent to the number of trade unions of which the workers working in such industrial establishments are members, plus five, would be accompanied, and would also be accompanied by the details indicated.
  • The employer shall provide such number of copies of the joint draft standing orders as he or she may deem necessary in the circumstances, in English or in the language commonly spoken to such workers within a period of fortnight or such a prolonged period as the certifying officer may permit.

Authentication of standing order and modification of order

  • A standing order must be authenticated by signing and sealing the certifying officer’s office or the appeal authority and such officer or authority should forward to the employer by registered letter within a week of authentication and to the trade union or, as the case may be, to the workers ‘ representatives elected in accordance with the law.
  • A certified standing order shall not be subject to change unless it is agreed between the employer and the workers or between a trade union or other representative body of the workers until the expiry of six months from the date of entry into operation of standing orders or the last modifications thereof.

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