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All India Reporter Karamchari Sangh & Ors Vs. All India Reporter Limited & Ors [1988] INSC 127 (2 May 1988)

Venkataramiah, E.S. (J) Venkataramiah, E.S. (J) Ojha, N.D. (J)

CITATION: 1988 AIR 1325 1988 SCR (3) 774 1988 SCC Supl. 472 JT 1988 (2) 244 1988 SCALE (1)990

ACT:

Working Journalists and other Newspapers Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (Act No. 45 of 1955)-Whether law reports-All India Reporter, Criminal Law Journal, Labour and Industrial Cases, Taxation Law Reports, Allahabad Law Journal, U.P. Law Tribune published by All India Reporter Ltd. are newspapers as defined-in-And whether employees of All India Reporter Limited engaged in production of publication of these law reports are entitled to benefits conferred upon employees of newspaper establishments by the above Act.

6 The question which arose for consideration in this case was whether the law reports, namely, All India Reporter, Criminal Law Journal, Labour and Industrial Cases, Taxation Law Reports, Allahabad Law Journal and U.P. Law Tribune, published by the respondent No. 1, All India Reporter Limited, were newspapers as defined in the Working Journalists and other Newspapers Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 ('the Act') and whether the employees of the 1st respondent engaged in the production or publication of the said law reports were entitled to the benefits conferred upon the employees of the newspaper establishments by the Act.

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 13AA and section 13DD of the Act, the Central Government constituted two Tribunals with Justice Palekar as Member of each of the two Tribunals to make recommendations in respect of fixing or revising wages of the working journalists as well as non- working journalists. Justice Palekar made his recommendations on 12.8.1980. In exercise of its powers under section 12 of the Act, the Central Government accepted a part of the recommendations and made an order thereon on 26.12.1980 and then accepted the remaining part of the recommendations and made another order thereon on 20.7.1981.

The 1st respondent had not been served with any individual notice by the Tribunal before it passed its award. The 1st respondent also had not sent a reply to the questionnaire issued by the Tribunal, nor had it 775 given any evidence before the Tribunal in respect of the matters referred to therein.

The Deputy Labour Commissioner wrote to the 1st respondent asking it to file its written statements in the matter of non-implementation of the Palekar Award, as the orders of the Central Government made under section 12 of the Act were popularly called. The 1st respondent submitted its reply inter alia contending that it was not running a newspaper establishment and its publications were not newspapers and as such the Palekar Award was not applicable to it. The Deputy Labour Commissioner again wrote to the 1st respondent saying that the 1st respondent was liable to implement the order of the Central Government made on the recommendations of the Palekar Tribunal since the 1st respondent was a newspaper establishment. Upon receipt of this notice, the 1st respondent filed a writ petition in the High Court, questioning the validity of the notice served on it by the Deputy Labour Commissioner, calling upon it to implement the orders of the Central Government-The Palekar Award. The High Court accepted the plea of the 1st respondent and declared that the law reports were not newspapers within the meaning of section 2(b) of the Act and that the demand made by the Deputy Labour Commissioner for compliance with the orders made by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations of Justice Palekar was unsustainable. Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court, the appellants moved this Court for relief by special leave.

Allowing the appeal, the Court,

HEAD NOTE:

HELD:

The Court was concerned with the narrow question whether the six law reports aforementioned being published by the 1st respondent were newspapers within the meaning of the Act and whether the employees engaged in their production or distribution were entitled to the benefit of the orders made by the Central Government on the basis of the Palekar Award. [781F] In order to be a newspaper, a work must be

(i) a printed work,

(ii) a periodical, and

(iii) should contain public news or comments on public news.

Any other class of printed periodical work as may, from time to time, be notified in this behalf by the Central Government in the official Gazette, may also be a newspaper. There was no dispute in this case that the law reports are printed works and that they are periodicals. The only question which remained to be considered was whether they contained public news or comments on public news, Newspapers and 776 books are no doubt shown as separate items in Entry 39 of List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, but the distinction between them sometimes becomes very thin or totally vanishes. [781G-H;782A-B] The law reports being published by the 1st respondent are reports of recent decisions of the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts in India, which are supplied to it by its agents appointed at New Delhi and other places where the High Courts are situated. These decisions are of public importance. The law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all the Courts in India, as provided by Article 141 of the Constitution. The decisions of the Supreme Court-a court of record-constitute a source of law as they are judicial precedents of the highest court of the land. They are binding on all the courts throughout India. The decisions of every High Court being judicial precedents are binding on all the Courts situated in the territory under the jurisdiction of the High Court. The decisions of the Supreme Court and High Courts are almost as important as statutes, rules and regulations passed by the competent legislatures and other bodies. The decisions of the superior courts, while they settle the disputes between the parties to the proceedings, are sources of law in so far as all others are concerned. As soon as a decision is rendered, the members of the public would be interested in knowing it; lawyers and others connected with the courts and judicial proceedings are interested in knowing the contents and effects of the decisions. The 1st respondent and other publishers of law reports, in the interests of their own business, vie with each other to publish the judgments of the Supreme Court or the High Courts as early as possible in their law reports, published periodically-weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They believe the faster the decisions are published in their reports, the larger will be the number of subscribers. The contents of these law reports constitute news in so far as the subscribers and readers of these reports are concerned.

By reading these law reports, they come to know of the latest legal position prevailing in the country on any question decided in the decisions reported in the said reports. Hence, it was difficult to agree with the submission of the 1st respondent that the law reports did not carry any news and that the public was not interested in them. Any decision published in the law reports of the 1st respondent contains information about the recent events which have taken place in the Supreme Court or the High Courts which are public bodies and these are matters in which public is interested. The Court found it also difficult to agree with the submission of the 1st respondent that since the law reports are going to be preserved by the lawyers as reference books after getting them rebound subsequently, they should be treated as books. The decisions contained in these law reports may 777 cease to be items of news after some time, but when they are received by the subscribers, they do possess the character of works containing news. [782G-H; 783A-H] Strong reliance was placed by the 1st respondent on the decision of the High Court of Orissa in P.S.V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Orissa, AIR 1960 Orissa 221, but the Court found it difficult to agree with that decision since the High Court had omitted to take into consideration that information about recent decisions of the Courts of record could be news in which the public was interested. The fact that a law book could be used as a reference book at a later stage was not sufficient to hold that the law report did not contain public news when it was received by the subscriber. [784A, G-H] It is sufficient that the expression 'newspaper' as defined in the Act includes not merely 'public news' but also 'comments on public news'. Every law report contains the editorial note and also comments on some of the recent decisions. The law Reports also contain newly enacted Acts, Rules and Regulations, book reviews and advertisements relating to law books, handwriting and finger print experts, etc., speeches made at conferences in which the legal fraternity is interested, etc. Though the publication of these items by itself may not occupy a substantial part of a law report to make it a newspaper, the publication of the recent judgments itself is sufficient to make a law report a newspaper which may after some time cease to be a newspaper and become a book of reference. [786G-H; 787A-B] The Act is a beneficient legislation which is enacted for improving the conditions of service of the employees of the newspaper establishments, and even if it is possible to have two opinions on the construction of the provisions of the Act, the one which advances the object of the Act and is in favour of the employees for whose benefit the Act is passed has to be accepted. [787B-C] The Law Reports published by the 1st respondent are newspapers and the employees employed by the 1st respondent in their production or publication should be extended the benefit of the orders passed by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations made by the Palekar Award.[787C-D] The judgment of the High Court was set aside and the writ petition filed by the 1st respondent before the High Court was dismissed. [787D] 778 P.S.V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Orissa, AIR 1960 Orissa 221; T.V. Ramanath & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., [1975] Labour and Industrial Cases 488; L.D. Jain v. General Manager, Government of India Press and Others, ILR 1967 Punjab and Haryana 193; Ex Parte Stillwell, [1923] 29 V.L.R. 413 and Commissioner of Sales Tax v. M/s. Express Printing Press, AIR 1983 Bombay 191, referred to.

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 8440 of 1983.

From the Judgment and Order dated 22.4.83 of the High Court of Bombay in Writ Petition No. 2388/82.

M.K. Ramamurthy and A.K. Sanghi for the Appellant.

Dr. Y.S. Chitale, P.H. Parekh, R.K. Dhillon, Ms. Sunita Sharma and Dr. D. Chandrachud for the Respondents.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by VENKATARAMIAH, J. The question which arises for consideration in this case is whether the law reports namely, All India Reporter, Criminal Law Journal, Labour and Industrial Cases, Taxation Law Reports, Allahabad Law Journal and U.P. Law Tribune published by the 1st respondent, All India Reporter Limited, are newspapers as defined in the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (Act No. 45 of 1955) (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') and whether the employees of the 1st respondent engaged in the production or publication of the said law reports are entitled to the benefits conferred upon the employees of newspaper establishments by the Act.

The Act was enacted on 20th December, 1955 with the object of regulating certain conditions of service of working journalists and other employees employed in the newspaper establishments. The expression "newspaper" is defined by section 2(b) of the Act as follows:

" "Newspaper" means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news and includes such other class of printed periodical work as may, from time to time, be notified in this behalf by the Central Government in the Official Gazette." 779 A "newspaper employee" is defined by section 2(c) of the Act as any working journalist, and includes any other person employed to do any work in, or in relation to, any newspaper establishment. "Newspaper establishment" is defined by section 2(d) of the Act as an establishment under the control of any person or body of persons, whether incorporated or not, for the production or publication of one or more newspapers or for conducting any news agency or syndicate. The expression "working journalist" is defined by section 2(f) of the Act as a person whose principal avocation is that of a journalist and who is employed as such, either whole time or part-time, in or in relation to, one or more newspaper establishments and includes an editor, a leader-writer, news editor, sub-editor, feature-writer, copy-tester, reporter, correspondent, cartoonist, news- photographer and proof-reader, but does not include any such person who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity, or being employed in a supervisory capacity, performs, either by the nature of the duties attached to his office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature. A "non- journalist newspaper employee" means any person employed to do any work in, or in relation to, any newspaper establishment, but does not include any such person who is a working journalist, or is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity or being employed in a supervisory capacity, performs, either by the nature of the duties attached to his office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature as stated in section 2(dd) of the Act.

Chapter II of the Act deals with certain conditions of service of the working journalists. Those provisions relate to the retrenchment, payment of gratuity, hours of work, leave, fixation or revision of wages etc. Chapter IIA of the Act deals with similar conditions of service of non- journalist newspaper employees.

Section 9 of the Act authorises the Central Government to appoint a Wage Board consisting of two persons representing employers in relation to newspaper establishments; two persons representing working journalists; and three independent persons, one of whom shall be a person who is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court or of the Supreme Court and who shall be appointed by that Government as the Chairman thereof for the purpose of making recommendations with regard to fixation or revision of wages of working journalists. Similarly, section 13C of the Act provides for the constitution of a Wage Board for the purpose of making recommendations regarding the fixation or revision of the rates of wages in respect of non- journalist news- 780 paper employees. Section 13AA which was inserted by Act 6 of 1979 provides for the constitution of a Tribunal for fixing or revising rates of wages in respect of working journalists where the Central Government is of opinion that the Board constituted under section 9 for the purpose of fixing or revising rates of wages in respect of working journalists under the Act has not been able to function effectively.

That Tribunal has to consist of a Judge of the High Court or of the Supreme Court. Similarly section 13DD of the Act empowers the Central Government to constitute a Tribunal where it is of opinion that the Board constituted under section 13C of the Act has not been able to function effectively. Section 13AA and section 13DD of the Act came into force with effect from January 31, 1979. In exercise of the powers conferred by section 13AA and section 13DD of the Act the Central Government constituted under two separate notifications two Tribunals on 9.2.1979 with Justice Palekar, a former Judge of the Supreme Court, as the member of each of the two Tribunals to make recommendations in respect of fixing or revising wages of working journalists as well as non-working journalists. Justice Palekar made his recommendations on 12.8.1980. In exercise of its powers under section 12 of the Act the Central Government accepted a part of the recommendations and made an order thereon on 26.12.1980 and accepted the remaining part of the recommendations and made another order thereon on 20.7.1981.

The 1st respondent, All India Reporter Limited, was not served with any individual notice by the Tribunal before it passed its award. The 1st respondent also did not send a reply to the questionnaire issued by the Tribunal nor it gave any evidence before the Tribunal in respect of the matters referred to therein. However on 15.7.1981 and 3.8.1981 the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Nagpur wrote to the 1st respondent asking it to file its written statements in the matter of non-implementation of the Palekar Award as the orders of the Central Government made under section 12 of the Act were popularly called. The first respondent submitted its reply in October, 1981 inter alia contending that it was not running a newspaper establishment and publications published by the company were not the newspapers and as such the Palekar Award was not applicable to it. Again on 18th November, 1982 the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Nagpur wrote a letter to the Manager of the 1st respondent informing him that the 1st respondent was liable to implement the order of the Central Government made on the recommendations of the Palekar Tribunal in respect of its employees since the Ist respondent was a newspaper establishment. Immediately after the service of the said notice the Ist respon- 781 dent filed a writ petition on the file of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench in Writ Petition No. 2388 of 1982 questioning the validity of the notice served on it by the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Nagpur calling upon it to implement the orders of the Central Government on the basis of the award of the Palekar Tribunal. Initially the State of Maharashtra, the Commissioner of Labour and the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Nagpur had been impleaded as respondents. Thereafter during the pendency of the Writ Petition the Indian Federation of Working Journalists and the All India Reporter Karamachari Sangh were impleaded as respondents in the writ petition.

It was urged before the High Court on behalf of the Ist respondent, All India Reporter Limited, that the law reports publised by it were not newspapers as defined in the Act and therefore the order made by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations of Justice Palekar were not applicable to its establishment. The High Court accepted the plea of the Ist respondent and declared that the law reports were not newspapers within the meaning of section 2(b) of the Act and that the demand made by the Deputy Labour Commissioner to comply with the order made by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations of Justice Palekar was unsustainable by its judgment dated 22nd April, 1983. Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court the appellants have filed this appeal by special leave.

The Ist respondent, All India Reporter Limited, publishes in addition to the law reports referred in the first paragraph of this judgment several other books commentaries, digests and manuals. But we are concerned in this case with the narrow question whether the six law reports which are being published by the Ist respondent are newspapers within the meaning of the Act and whether the employees engaged in their production or distribution are entitled to the benefit of the orders made by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations of the Palekar Tribunal.

The definition of the expression "newspaper" has already been set out above. In order to be a newspaper a work must be a (i) printed work; (ii) a periodical; and (iii) should contain public news or comments on public news.

Any other class of printed periodical work as may, from time to time, be notified in this behalf by the Central Government in the Official Gazette may also be a newspaper.

There is no dispute in the present case that the law reports are printed works and that they are periodicals. The only question which remains to be 782 considered is whether they contain public news or comments on public news.

Entry 39 of List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution reads thus: "Newspapers, books and printing presses." Newspapers and books are no doubt shown as separate items but the distinction between them sometimes becomes very thin or totally vanishes. In this connection it is necessary to reproduce a passage from the Report of the Royal Commission on the Press (1947-49) appointed by the British Government and presided over by Sir William David Ross. It reads thus:

"The newspaper and periodical Press of Great Britain consists of over 4,000 publications ranging from newspapers famous throughout the world to the journals of obscure societies. Its limits are ill-defined, for there is no definition of either `newspaper' or `periodical' which enables each to be infallibly distinguished from the other and from publications which are properly speaking neither. The term `newspaper' is usually applied (except so far as concerns the important class of trade newspapers) to publications devoted mainly to recording current events, and `periodicals' to magazines, reviews, and journals which, in so far as they are concerned with current events at all, are concerned to comment rather than to report; but newspapers merge into advertising sheets, periodicals into books and pamphlets, and both into one another; ....." The expression "news" is not defined in the Act.

Several definitions of the expression "news" collected from the different dictionaries and digests have been cited before us. It is enough if we refer to the meaning of the word "news" given in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary for purposes of this case. It says that "news" means tidings, new information of recent events; new occurrences as a subject of report or talk. The law reports which are being published by the Ist respondent are reports of recent decisions of the Supreme Court of India and of the High Courts in India which are supplied to it by its agents appointed at New Delhi and other places where High Courts are situated. It cannot be disputed that these decisions are of public importance. Article 141 of the Constitution provides that the law declared by Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India. Even apart from Article 141 of the Constitution the decisions of the Supreme Court, which is a court of record, constitute a 783 source of law as they are the judicial precedents of the highest court of the land. They are binding on all the courts throughout India. Similarly the decisions of every High Court being judicial precedents are binding on all courts situated in the territory over which the High Court exercises jurisdiction. Those decisions also carry persuasive value before courts which are not situated within its territory. The decisions of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts are almost as important as statutes, rules and regulations passed by the competent legislatures and other bodies since they affect the public generally. It is well- known that the decisions of the superior courts while they settle the disputes between the parties to the proceedings in which they are given they are the sources of law in so far as all others are concerned. As soon as a decision is rendered the members of the public would be interested in knowing it. At any rate lawyers and others connected with courts and judicial proceedings who constitute a substantial section of the public are interested in knowing the contents and the effect of the decisions. The Ist respondent, All India Reporter Limited, and other publishers of law reports in the interests of their own business vie with each other to publish the judgments of the Supreme Court or of the High Courts as early as possible in their law reports which are published periodically either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. They believe that faster the decisions are published in their reports, larger will be the number of subscribers. Infact we have a law report which is published from Delhi which publishes the judgments rendered by the Supreme Court within a day or two. The contents of these law reports constitute news insofar as the subscribers and the readers of these reports are concerned. It is by reading these law reports they come to know of the latest legal position prevailing in the country on any question decided in the decisions reported in the said reports. Hence it is difficult to agree with the submission made on behalf of the Ist respondent that the law reports do not carry any news and that the public is not interested in them. We are of the view that any decision published in the law reports of the Ist respondent contain information about the recent events which have taken place in the Supreme Court or in the High Courts which are public bodies and these are matters in which the public is interested. We find it also difficult to agree with the submission made on behalf of the Ist respondent that since the law reports are going to be preserved by the lawyers as reference books after getting them rebound subsequently they should be treated as books.

It may be that the decisions contained in these law reports may cease to be items of news after some time but when they are received by the subscribers they do possess the character of works containing news.

784 Strong reliance was placed on behalf of the Ist respondent on the decision of the High Court of Orissa in P.S.V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Orissa, AIR 1960 Orissa 221 in which the question that arose for consideration was whether a law journal-Cuttack Law Times, which was a non-official monthly journal containing the decisions of the Orissa High Court, the Orissa Board of Revenue and also of the Supreme Court was a newspaper and if it was a newspaper whether it was competent for the Legislature of the State of Orissa to levy sales tax on the sale of the said journal. The said question arose in that form in view of the language of Entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution which read as follows:

"54. Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers, subject to Entry 92-A of List I." The language of Entry 92 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution which conferred on Parliament alone the power to tax sale or purchase of newspapers was in the following terms:

"92. Tax on the sale or purchase of newspapers and on advertisements published therein." After referring to the definition of the expression `newspaper' in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, the Indian Post Offices Act, 1898, the Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1956, the Delivery of Books and Newspapers Act, 1956 the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956, etc. the High Court of Orissa held that the Cuttack Law Times was not a newspaper because according to it the necessary pre-requisite of a periodical in order to make it a newspaper was that it should contain mainly public news or comments on public news and that books containing authoritative reports for future reference could, by no means, be said to contain news so as to become newspaper. Accordingly, the High Court of Orissa held that the sale of Cuttack Law Times, which according to it was not a newspaper, could be taxed by the State Legislature under Entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. We find it difficult to agree with the above decision since the High Court of Orissa omitted to take into consideration that information about recent decisions of courts of record could be news in which the public was interested. The fact that a law report could be used as a reference book at later stage was not sufficient to hold that the law report did not contain public news when it was received by the subscriber.

785 The High Court of Madras declined to follow the above decision of the Orissa High Court in its decision in T.V. Ramnath and Another v. Union of India and Others, [1975] Labour and Industrial Cases 488 in which the Madras Law Journal, a law report published from Madras, was held to be a newspaper and the establishment in which the said law report was being published was a newspaper establishment which attracted the provisions of that Act. We agree with the following observations made in the said decision by Ismail, J. (as he then was):

"Similarly, the publications of the petitioner in the second writ petition can be said to contain `public news' or `comments on public news' since it contains reports of the judgments of the Courts as well as comments on such judgments. Even though, the same may be primarily intended for that section of the public which is concerned with law and the administration of law, in the present days, nothing prevents any educated individual taking interest in such publications and the news themselves being of interest to such persons.

Therefore I am clearly of the opinion that the expression `public news' is of sufficiently wide amplitude to cover the publications of both the petitioners in question." It is seen that the editor of the law report containing the above decision has appended an editorial comment on this stating that this decision is wrong and that the Orissa High Court's decision was right. Justice A.N. Grover, who later became a Judge of the Supreme Court of India and the Chairman of the Press Council, as a Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court held in L.D. Jain v. General Manager, Government of India Press and Others, I.L.R. 1967 Punjab and Haryana 193 that the Gazette of India which was the official publication of all kinds of news and information was a newspaper within the meaning of section 2(b) of the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 and that it was not essential for a newspaper to conform strictly to the usual pattern of a daily or weekly or monthly newspaper or a magazine containing news which members of the public ordinarily read in order to get reports of recent events, comments on them etc. In doing so, he distinguished the decision of the Australian Court in Ex Parte Stillwell, [1923] 29 V.L.R. 413 in which the Bradshaw's Guide was held to be a book of reference which lacked every element of what could be called a newspaper on which the Orissa High Court had relied.

The Ist respondent cannot derive any assistance from the deci- 786 sion of the High Court of Bombay in Commissoner of Sales Tax v. M/s. Express Printing Press, AIR 1983 Bombay 191 in which the Bombay High Court held that the two publications by name `Jocker' and `Jabara' which contained predictions or forecasts of lucky numbers were not newspapers since those publications had nothing to do with any recent event which had taken place.

In the Annual Report of the Registrar of Newspapers for India, 1957 there is an interesting discussion of certain specific cases in which the question whether the publications involved were newspapers or not. In the course of the said report it is obversed thus:

"In this connection the Press Registrar scrutinised reports published in certain foreign countries regarding their own Press and it was noticed that in the catalogues prepared by them specialised newspapers such as the one under consideration were not excluded from the list of newspapers. Even technical journals such as medical periodicals, journals related to sciences, arts etc., were included. A catalogue of Yugoslav newspapers and magazines, for instance, includes publications relating to the following subjects:

Political information; economics; law and states administration; education; philology;

natural sciences; medicine; agriculture;

technology; geography; ethnography history;

archives; archaeology; literature; music; applied art; film; chess; photography; tourism; stamp collecting; physical culture and sport; humour and religion.

In a catalogue of Russian papers for 1958 all the above categories of newspapers and periodicals have been included in addition to many others which deal exclusively with party affairs." It is significant that the expression `newspaper' as defined in the Act includes not merely `public news' but also `comments on public news'. Every law report contains the editorial note at the commencement of the decisions printed therein and also comments on some of the recent decisions. Law reports also contain, newly enacts Acts, Rules and Regulations, book reviews and advertisements relating to law books handwriting and finger print experts etc., speeches made at conferences in which the legal fraternity is interested etc. Though the 787 publication of these items by itself may not occupy a substantial part of a law report to make it a newspaper, the publication of the recent judgments itself is sufficient to make a law report a newspaper which may after some time cease to be a newspaper and become a book of reference.

The Act in question is a beneficent legislation which is enacted for the purpose of improving the conditions of service of the employees of the newspaper establishments and hence even if it is possible to have two opinions on the construction of the provisions of the Act the one which advances the object of the Act and is in favour of the employees for whose benefit the Act is passed has to be accepted.

We are of the view that the law reports published by the Ist respondent are newspapers and the employees employed by the Ist respondent in their production or publication of the said law reports should be extended the benefit of the orders passed by the Central Government on the basis of the recommendations made by the Palekar Award. We, accordingly, allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the High Court and dismiss the writ petition filed by the Ist respondent before the High Court. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

S.L. Appeal allowed.

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