The article is written by Tushar Singh Samota, a law student from University Five Year Law College, Rajasthan University. The article discusses the concept of the shops and commercial establishments legislation with special reference to the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act of 1960. The discussion will be supported by various provisions of the Act in the state of Kerala.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.

Table of Contents


The employment of employees working in firms is frequently governed by an employment agreement, which protects the employees. On the other hand, employees working in shops and commercial businesses frequently do not sign an employment agreement. As a result, it is critical to understand whether there is any regulation that protects employees in such situations. The statutes on shops and commercial establishments, which are state-by-state laws, govern the employment of employees in shops and commercial establishments across the country. The legislation on shops and establishments acts governs the majority of Indian enterprises and their employees. There is no centralised labour law for shops, in contrast to the Factories Act, of 1948. Based on a model code, each state has its own shop legislation. The Department of Labour of that particular state controls the locations where any trade, business, or profession is practised.

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In this article, the author has tried to discuss various provisions related to the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960 by discussing the relevant provisions of the Act. The article will also touch upon various judicial rulings in the state of Kerala related to the Act.

Provisions related to the Kerala Shops and Commercial  Establishments Act, 1960

The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) was put into effect to codify the laws governing the terms of employment and work in stores and other commercial establishments in the state of Kerala as well as to safeguard workers rights. The Act outlines requirements for business registration, employer responsibilities, salary payment, work schedules, breaks, overtime, forbidden employment for children, cleanliness, ventilation, and lighting, as well as penalties for noncompliance. It also regulates salary payment, terms of service, work hours, rest intervals, overtime work, opening and closing hours, closed days, holidays, leaves, maternity leave and benefits, work conditions, laws for child employment, record keeping, and so on.

The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Workers Welfare Fund Board was established to promote the well-being and relief of self-employed individuals and workers covered under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act of 1960. It also focuses on providing pensions to these employees and safeguarding their well-being.

Important definitions under the Act

Commercial establishment

Section 2(4) of the Kerala shop and commercial establishment Act defines “commercial establishment” as a commercial or industrial or trading or banking or insurance establishment, an establishment or administrative service in which the employees are primarily engaged in office work, a hotel, restaurant, boarding or eating house, cafe or any other refreshment house, a theatre or any other place of public amusement or entertainment, and any other establishment that the government declares to be a commercial establishment but does not include.          


Section 2(7) of the Act defines an employer as a person who is an establishment’s owner or has ultimate authority over its operations and includes any manager, agent, or other person operating in that capacity under the Act.


It refers to a store or a commercial establishment, restaurant, dining house, theatre, or another place of public enjoyment or entertainment, as defined by the State government under Section 2(8) of the Act.


Shop as defined under Section 2(15) refers to any location where a trade or business is conducted or where customers are served and includes offices, storerooms, godowns, or warehouses used in connection with such trade or business, whether on the same premises or elsewhere. However, it excludes commercial establishments and shops attached to factories where employees are not entitled to the benefits provided for workers under the Factories Act of 1948.

Exemptions provided under the Act

Section 3 of the Act specifies the following exceptions to which the provisions of this Act do not apply:

  1. Individuals in administration positions in any company;
  2. People whose primary job requires travel, as well as canvassers and caregivers whose names do not show on the muster records;
  3. Establishments run by the Central or State governments, municipal governments, the Reserve Bank of India, and cantonment authorities;
  4. Implantation in mining and oil fields;
  5. Installations in bazaars in areas where temporary fairs or festivals are conducted for no more than fifteen days at a time;
  6. Establishments that, although not factories within the definition of the Factories Act, 1948, are controlled by separate legislation now in force in the State of Kerala in respect of the topics dealt with in this Act.

Registration process under the Act

The registration process of an establishment(s) as defined under Section 5A of the Act states that every business’s employer must apply for a registration certificate for the establishment to the competent authority that the government may designate in this regard in the appropriate form and upon payment of the appropriate fees. Within 60 days after the start date of this Section, the aforementioned application must be submitted. As long as the establishment was founded after the start of this Section, the application must be submitted within 60 days after the establishment’s first day of operation. 

The following details must be included in the application:

  1. The employer’s and, if any, the manager’s names;
  2. The establishment’s postal address;
  3. The establishment’s name, if any;
  4. The establishment’s category, i.e., if it is a shop or a restaurant
  5. Business establishment;
  6. The number and names of the establishment’s workers;
  7. Any additional information that may be required.

On receipt of an application, the competent authority shall register the establishment and issue to the employer a registration certificate in the prescribed form, which shall be conclusive evidence that such establishment is duly registered under this Act if it is satisfied that the application follows the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder. A registration certificate issued under this Act is only good for the year in which it is issued. However, it may be renewed on an annual basis.

An application for the renewal of a registration certificate issued under this Act must be submitted at least thirty days before the expiration of the period for which it is valid, along with any applicable fees. If such an application is submitted, the registration certificate is deemed to remain in effect until it is renewed or, as the case may be, is rejected. The competent authority must be satisfied that the requirements of this Act and the rules issued thereunder have been substantially complied with before it can award or renew a registration certificate.

If it appears to the competent authority that an employer has violated or neglected to comply with any of the provisions of this Act or the rules made there under, or that a registration certificate granted or renewed under this Act was obtained through misrepresentation or fraud, the competent authority may, by order, cancel or suspend the registration certificate after providing the holder with an opportunity to be heard.


Provision for appeal has also been provided under Section 5B of the Act which states that any person who is aggrieved by an order of the competent authority refusing to grant or renew a registration certificate, or cancelling or suspending the same, may appeal to the District Labour Officers on payment of costs within sixty days of receiving the order prescribed.

Duties of employer

Section 5C of the Act specifies the various duties of the employer such as

  1. It shall be the duty of the employer to conspicuously display the registration certificate issued or renewed under this Act.
  2. The employer must within seven days of the change notify the competent authority and the Inspector having jurisdiction over the area in which the establishment is located in the prescribed form of any change in any of the particulars contained in his application under sub-section (1) of Section 5A.
  3. A notification issued under subsection (2) must be accompanied by the required fee.
  4. Upon receipt of a notification under sub-section (2) and the necessary fees, the competent authority shall, if satisfied that the notice is correct, register the modification and modify the registration certificate or issue a new registration certificate.
  5. It shall also be the duty of the employer that within ten days of shutting his establishment, he must notify the relevant authorities and the Inspector with jurisdiction over the region in which the enterprise is located.
  6. Upon receipt of a notification under sub-section (5), the competent authority should, if satisfied that the notice is correct, remove the name of such business from the register and invalidate the registration certificate.

Duplicate registration certificate application:

If a registration certificate is lost, stolen, or destroyed, the employer must immediately notify the relevant authorities and apply for the issuance of a duplicate registration certificate, together with the necessary price.

Registration  Mandatory
Deadline for registration: 60 days
Renewal Period:30 days before the expiry of the registration period

Hours of work 

Hours daily and weekly Any employee at a place of business is not allowed to be compelled to work more than eight hours per day and 48 hours per week. Except for stock taking and other special occasions, the total number of hours worked each day, including overtime, should not exceed ten. (Section 6)
Extra pay for extra work An employee who works in any establishment for eight hours on any given day or for more than forty-eight hours in any given week is entitled to receive twice the regular rate of pay for such overtime labour. (Section 7)
Weekly holidays Per person employed in a store or a commercial enterprise is entitled to a one-day holiday every week.
Intervals for rest An employee must have at least one hour of rest before starting a four-hour shift at a workplace. (Section 8)

Closing of shops 

Every store must close completely on one day of the week, and a sign indicating the day must be displayed there year-round. Shops in the area that have been granted government exemptions are not affected by this as provided under Section 11 of the Kerala Shops and Establishment Act.

Holidays and leave 

Section 13 talks of the concept of annual leave with wages and thus mentions in subsection(1) that every employee in an establishment has the right after twelve months of continuous service in that establishment to twelve days of paid vacation in the following twelve months if such paid vacation is to be accumulated up to a maximum of 24 days.

During every twelve months of continuous service every employee in an establishment is also entitled as mentioned in subsection(2) of Section 13 to be:

  • Granted leave with pay for a period not to exceed twelve days due to any illness or accident suffered by him, and 
  • To unpaid leave for a period not exceeding twelve days for any reasonable reason.

If an employee entitled to any holidays under sub-section (1) is discharged by his employer before the holidays are granted or if he quits his job after applying for and being denied the holidays it is the duty of the employer to pay him the amount payable under this Act for the holidays as mentioned in subsection(3) of Section 13.

Whereas subsection(4) provides that if an employee entitled to any leave under sub-section (2) is discharged by his employer while sick or injured as a result of an accident it is the duty of the employer to pay him the amount payable under this Act for the period of leave to which he was entitled at the time of his discharge along with the addition to the amount payable to him under sub-section (2),(3).

Subsection(5) provides that if an employee is deemed to have completed a period of twelve months of continuous service under this Section regardless of any interruption in service during those twelve months.

  • By sickness, accident, or authorised leave but not exceeding ninety days or
  • Through a lockout or
  • Through a strike that is not an illegal strike or
  • By intermittent periods of involuntary unemployment not exceeding 30 days in total and authorised leave shall be deemed not to include any weekly holidays permitted under this Act that occur at the start or end of an interruption caused by the leave.

Subsection(6) talks of that if an employee in a hostel attached to a school or college or in an establishment kept in a boarding school in connection with the boarding and lodging of students and resident masters are granted the privileges referred to in subsection (1) to (5) reduced however proportionately to the period for which he was employed continuously in the previous year or to the period for which he will be employed continuously in the current year along with the other privileges also.

Wages during leave period

Section 14 of this Act talks of the provisions of wages during the leave period, it states that 

  • Employees who are granted leave under Section 13 or Section 13A are paid at a rate equal to the daily average of their full-time total earnings, along with the dearness allowance and the cash equivalent of any benefits received from the employer’s sale of foodgrains and other items at discounted rates for the days the employee worked during the month but it should be excluded from any overtime earnings and bonuses.
  • The sum payable to an employee for leave granted under Section 13A shall be paid only upon submission of a certificate from a competent authority also indicating that the employee has undergone sterilisation surgery.

Apart from this, the inspector can file procedures on behalf of any employee to collect any payment due to an employer which is not paid by the employer as mentioned in Section 15 of this act.

Dismissal notice 

As mentioned under Section 18 of the Act, no employer may terminate an employee who has been employed continuously for at least six months, unless there is a justifiable reason, and without providing the employee with at least one month’s notice or pay instead of such notice, which is not required when the employee’s employment is terminated due to a charge of misconduct that is supported by sufficient evidence documented at an inquiry held for that purpose.

Appeal provision on dismissal 

The appeal provision on dismissal as provided under Section 18(2) of this Act states that any employee whose services are terminated may file an appeal with such authority and within such time as may be stipulated, either because there was no legitimate basis for terminating his services or because he was not guilty of misbehaviour as determined by the employer.

After giving notice to the employer and the employee in the prescribed manner, the appellate authority may dismiss the appeal or direct the reinstatement of the employee with or without wages for the period he was kept out of employment, or direct payment of compensation without reinstatement, or grant such other relief as it deems appropriate in the circumstances of the case.

When ordering the reinstatement of an employee, the appellate authority must additionally order the payment of such compensation as he specifies if the employer fails to restore the employee in line with the orders. The judgement of the appellate authority shall be final and binding on both parties and shall not be subject to review in any court of law and will be implemented within the period stated in the appellate authority’s order. 

Employment of women and children 

Prohibition on employment of children:

A child under the provisions of Section 19 of this Act may not be forced or permitted to work in any company unless they are an apprentice performing a job that the government may specify.

Prohibition of employment of women and persons below seventeen years during the night: 

Section 20 of the Act states that no woman or anyone under the age of seventeen may be forced or permitted to work as an employee or in any other capacity in any establishment before the hours of six in the morning or after seven in the evening.

Health and safety 

For the health and safety of the workers, the following provisions are provided in the Act:

Cleanliness, ventilation, and illumination:

Section 21 of the Act states that every institution must keep its premises free of any effluvia from drains, urinals, or other annoyances. Cleaning must be done at all times by using lime washing, colour washing, painting, varnishing, disinfecting, and deodorising. 

Every establishment’s premises must be ventilated in line with the requirements and must be adequately lit during all working hours. Every establishment’s premises must be ventilated in line with the norms and ways that may be set.

If an inspector believes that the premises of any establishment under his jurisdiction are not adequately maintained in terms of cleanliness, lighting, or ventilation, he may serve the employer with a written order and require them to be completed by a certain date.

Precaution against fire

Fire safety procedures must be performed at every facility following any applicable regulations as stated in Section 22 of the Act.

In addition to this, Section 24 discusses the distribution of expenses incurred for health and safety. It states that if any person whether the owner or the occupier of an establishment alleges that the entire or a portion of the expense should be borne by any other person with an interest in the premises then he may apply to the Munsiff’s court having jurisdiction over the area in which the establishment is located and any order issued under this Section may require that any such contract as aforesaid may cease to have effect in so far as it conflicts with the conditions of the order including the terms of any contract between the parties to be just and equitable.

Enforcement and inspection 

The government may appoint any person(s) as inspectors under Section 25 within such local limits as the government assign to them respectively and these inspector(s) are deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and can demand all such registers, records and notices as required and such inspector shall have following powers and duties:

  1. He can access any location that is or that he has reason to suspect is an establishment at any reasonable time, with any helpers, who are individuals working for the government or any local authority, that he deems appropriate;
  2. He can also do any necessary site inspections, review any required registers, records, and notices, and gather any evidence of any individual that he deems essential to carry out the purposes of this Act.
  3. He can also use any additional authority required to carry out this Act’s objectives but this provision will obligate nobody.


Whoever violates the terms of the Act or Rules is penalised under Section 29 of the Act, and for this purpose,

Subsection 1 states that any violation of Chapter 1A’s Sections 5A and 5C is punishable by law and includes the following:

  • After conviction for the initial violation with a fine that may reach 250 rupees and in the event of a subsequent violation with a fine that may reach 10 rupees per day of continued violation, or 
  • With a fine that could reach ten rupees for each day the violation persists after being given the notice to stop by the appropriate authority.

Anyone who violates any of the rules in Sections 6, 8, 9 to 11, 13, on conviction, the following offences: 14, 18, 21 and 22 shall be subject to a fine that, for a first offence, may reach 250 rupees, and, for a second or any subsequent offence, may reach 500 rupees.

Subsection 2 states that anyone found guilty of violating any of the terms of Sections 7, 19, 20, 28, or 30 faces a fine that could reach fifty rupees. Whereas subsection 3 provides that unless a complaint is made, no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable by this Act or any rule or order made thereunder.

  • Within three months of the date the alleged offence was committed, either by the employee of the establishment alone or through the union to which he belongs; or
  • By the Inspector within sixty months of the date he first learns of the alleged offence.

No offence punishable by this Act or any rules or orders made thereunder shall be tried in a court lower than that of a Magistrate of a Second Class as stated in subsection 4 of this Section. 

Aside from this penalty clause, Section 35 of the Act states that the government has the power to suspend Act provisions by notice and to stop all or any of the Act’s provisions from being in effect during any special event connected to a fair, festival or a series of public holidays for a predetermined period of time.

Need for an amendment to the Act 

The majority of employees working in shops and commercial establishments in Kerala are hired through security firms temporarily. They are not covered by this legislation and hence do not receive any benefits. As a result, the government has decided to change the definition of employee under the said legislation, authorising the government to notify any class of individuals as workers to bring them within the purview of the said act and to extend the benefits provided by the act to such persons as well.

Due to enormous complaints from employees, trade unions, and social workers about the absence of sitting areas at work, the government has decided to change the Kerala shops and commercial establishment legislation to include rules for providing employees with resting areas. By respecting the notion of gender equality, women employees who want to work at night are permitted to do so from 9 am to 6 pm, subject to specific requirements set to safeguard their safety. Employees working in stores and other enterprises can now take weekly leave only on certain days of the week. Employees are also calling for the restrictions requiring the mandatory closure of businesses on a specific day of the week to be removed.

Given the current economic climate and shifting consumer purchasing habits, the government believes it is preferable to enable establishments covered under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act. To be open on all days with efficient monitoring to ensure that all employees get weekly off. The amendment also wants to improve the enforcement mechanism and also as the government intends to provide arrangements for the computerised maintenance of registers and records.

The Kerala Shops And Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2018 

The Kerala Government adopted an ordinance, the Kerala Shops and Establishments (Amendment) Bill, to further amend the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960. The aforementioned Bill makes various modifications, some of which are given below:

Amendment of Section 2

An amendment has been made to Section 2 of the Act. Under it, clause 6, Section 2 has been substituted. Now “employee” is a person entirely or largely engaged in connection with any establishment and includes apprentices or any other class of individuals as the government may determine.

Amendment in Section 11 

Section 11 of the Act was amended. The substitution of this Section provides for the allocation of weekly holidays in the following manner- 

  1. Firstly, every person employed in a shop or commercial enterprise should be permitted a holiday of one complete day each week; however, this will not apply to any individual whose total term of employment in the week including leave day is less than six days.
  2. Secondly, it was changed that no deduction from an employee’s pay shall be made for a day on which a holiday has been granted except if the employee is hired on the basis that he would not normally receive pay for that day, he shall nonetheless be paid for that day the wages he would have received had the holiday not been granted on that day.

Amendment of Section 20

In a recent amendment in this Section, it was held that no woman or anyone under the age of seventeen shall be forced or permitted to work either as an employee or in any other capacity in any establishment before 6 A.M. or after 9 P.M. 

However, an employer may hire women between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. with their consent if no female employees are hired during those times unless they are part of groups of at least five people in which at least two of whom must be female, and they are given adequate protection for their safety, dignity, and freedom from sexual harassment, as well as access to transportation from the store or establishment to their homes.

Insertion of new Section 21B

A newly added provision for seating facilitations has been inserted which states that in every shop and establishment, suitable arrangements for sitting shall be provided for all workers in order to prevent “on the toes” situations throughout the duty time and to ensure that they take advantage of any opportunity to sit that may arise in the course of their work.

Amendment of Section 29 

The punitive provisions in Section 29 of the Act have been modified to increase the fine amount. Like previously, anybody who violated Sections 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 18, 21, and 22 of the Act was penalised with 500 rupees, but this has now been increased to fifty thousand rupees. Second, obstructing an inspector in the exercise of any of its powers is now punishable by a punishment of one lakh rupees.

Amendment of Section 30 

The registers, records, and notice displays must be kept in both physical and electronic form, according to Section 30 of the Act.

The recently enacted regulation provides equal employment possibilities for women in the state of Kerala while also ensuring their safety and protection. Furthermore, the state Bill strives to provide comfort to workers by providing appropriate seating arrangements. Stricter fines have been introduced in order to ensure compliance with the Act’s requirements.

Case laws 

Anamalais Bus Transport Private v. D. Ramakrishna Pillai And Anr. (1967)

The issue in this O.P. was whether Section 18 of the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act 1960 is inconsistent with, or repugnant to, the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1981. Anamalais Bus Transport Ltd’s Manager is the petitioner. The first respondent was a contract worker for the petitioner. The 2nd respondent, the appellate authority under Section 18 of the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act 1960, found that the 1st respondent’s service had been illegally terminated and ordered the 1st respondent’s reinstatement with a payment of Rs. 250 in lieu of back wages for the period for which he was kept out of employment. In the event of a default, the petitioner was ordered to pay the first respondent an additional payment of Rs. 500 in lieu of reinstatement and all other claims by a stated date.

As a result, the writ petition was dismissed in the case of Anamalais Bus Transport Private v. D. Ramakrishna Pillai and Anr. (1967) and it was determined that there is no provision in the Motor Transport Workers Act 1981 that corresponds to Section 18 of the Kerala Act. It was further argued that because the Motor Act dealt particularly with the terms of service of motor transport employees, it would preclude the Kerala Act from addressing the conditions of service of workers in other stores and commercial businesses.

V. Sasidharan v. Peter and Karunakar, (1984) 

In this case, according to the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act of 1960, the appellant chose to appeal respondent No. 1’s decision to terminate his employment with a law firm. Because Respondent No. 1’s firm was not considered a commercial establishment under the Act, Respondent No. 1 made the preliminary objection that the appeal could not be maintained. The preliminary objection was upheld by the appellate authority, who also dismissed the appeal. His writ petition and Letters Patent appeal to the High Court challenging the Appellate Authority’s decision were similarly denied. Therefore, the appellant approached the Supreme Court, which was asked to decide whether the office of a lawyer or a legal firm is or is not a commercial establishment under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act in the case of V. Sasidharan v. Peter and Karunakar (1984). 

The Supreme Court ruled that there is no need for a compelling reason to support the judgement that a lawyer’s office or a legal firm’s office is not a “shop.” It is a given that, traditionally, lawyers do not operate a business or trade and do not provide services to clients, regardless of what the general public may believe about the function of today’s lawyers and the purported closing of the gap between a profession and a business or trade.

C.V. Raman, Etc v. Management Of Bank Of India, (1988)

An employee of the Bank of India, a nationalised bank, filed a writ petition to challenge Section 18 of the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960, against a decision made by the Bank dismissing him from service following a domestic investigation in the case of C.V. Raman, Etc v. Management Of Bank Of India, (1988). The appellant-Bank made a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the appeal on the grounds that because it is an establishment under the Central Government as defined by Section 3(1)(c) of that Act, none of the provisions of that Act, including Section 18, under which the appeal was preferred, apply to it.

However, the Appellate Authority rejected this objection, and the bank then brought an original petition to the High Court to appeal the Appellate Authority’s decision. The High Court rejected the appellant-argument Bank’s and dismissed the original petition; as was already mentioned, it is this judgement that is being appealed in this civil appeal.

Mohini K. v. General Manager, Syndicate Bank, (1994)

The question of whether an alternative remedy through a referral to the labour court is a bar to the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India did not arise in the case of  Mohini K. v. General Manager, Syndicate Bank,(1994). In that case, their Lordships were considering the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, the Andhra Pradesh Shops And Establishments Act, and the Kerala Shops and Establishments Act in relation to their application to nationalised banks and the State Bank of India. However, no such question arises in the present case, nor does it involve the interpretation of any such local act for determining the validity of the employee’s dismissal.

Sarangadharan v. Asst. Labour Officer, (2001)

It was argued in this case of Sarangadharan v. Asst. Labour Officer, (2001) that a school is neither a shop where items are sold to customers nor a place of business where any kind of transaction involving commerce takes place. There is no commercial activity carried out within an educational institution; instead, the main goal is to educate the students. There have been some claims made that paying high school tuition, accepting gifts, and incurring additional costs are all examples of commercial activity because these schools are not conducted for charitable purposes.

In the case of educational institutions, some form of business transaction is almost certainly involved. With a simple reading and interpretation of the phrases “shops and commercial establishments”, it is possible to conclude that no trade or commercial business is carried out by educational institutions that have a nexus with clients. The Court relied on Ramanathan v the State of Kerala (1995), in which the Court stated that, while the government has statutory authority to declare anything as a part of this Act, it must nevertheless fall within the description of commercial enterprises before the statute’s application is extended. Thus, it was decided that there was in no way any trade or business going on that was commercial. Thus, the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act 1960 would not apply to educational institutions.

Critical analysis of the Act 

As the Shops and Establishment Act is a state statute, each state has developed its own set of rules and regulations, which offer various meanings and interpretations. After examining the Kerala Shop and Commercial Establishment Act, it is possible to infer that different states have instilled diverse meanings in terminologies such as commercial establishments and shops. Even state courts have provided differing interpretations on whether educational institutions are covered by the legislation or not. For example, the concept of business establishment is restricted in states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It excludes establishments recognised under the Societies Act or created as charity organisations. States like Delhi and Maharashtra, however, have expressly added those establishments within the scope of their shop and establishment Act.

Different governments have offered their own interpretations and points of view. Being a state law, it stands to reason that the state administration and the judiciary will come to different conclusions about its meaning and applicability. But in reality, the Kerala State Government, in my opinion, has made its legislation that differs somewhat from state to state. But the fundamental aim and underlying notion remain the same in nearly every state’s statute.


The State-specific Shops and Commercial Establishment Acts give employees in retail and commercial establishments across the nation several significant rights. India has a high unemployment rate and a dense population, which makes labour readily available at reduced costs. Workplace health and safety are frequently jeopardised in such circumstances. The largest problem is these employees’ lack of understanding, which allows their bosses to take advantage of them.

These employees are frequently forced to work long hours with no breaks, are not granted as many leaves as they are entitled to, are forced to perform overtime without pay, and, most crucially, are dismissed suddenly at the will of their employer without pay. And these folks endure in silence. As a result, it was deemed necessary to enact legislation in support of workers’ rights. The inefficient execution remains the Act’s restriction, and the only way to improve the issue is to raise awareness.

Frequently asked questions 

Is a shop or establishment licence required in Kerala?

The Shop and Establishment Act of 1960 requires all commercial establishments and manufacturers to register. This registration is required for all commercial establishments, including offices, who must apply for an online licence granted by the labour department of the relevant state.

What exactly is the Kerala Shops and Establishments Act?

It is an Act to consolidate and revise the legislation governing the regulation of working conditions and employment in Kerala’s Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960.

Does the Shops and Establishments Act differ by state?

The Shop and Establishment Act is governed by state law, and each state has its own set of laws and regulations. Rules differ from state to state since they are framed by the state government. As a result, the requirements of the state in which registration is to be obtained must be observed.

What is the goal of the Shops and Establishments Act?

Every Indian state has implemented laws and regulations governing working conditions. The goal is to ensure equal benefits for employees working in a variety of enterprises, ranging from stores, commercial establishments, and residential hotels to restaurants, theatres, and other public amusement or entertainment venues.

To whom does the Shop Act application apply?

An Application for Shops Act is required in some situations for enterprises that qualify as an “Establishment” under the Shops and Establishment Act. So, if you own a business in Kerala, you must get a Shop Act Licence under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960.

Does the Act apply to Central government and State government establishments?

All provisions of the Act apply to the creation of the Central government and the State government.


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