The Bombay High Court has held that the 'appropriate government' for the Tata Memorial Centre is the Central Government.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Sandeep V Marne observed that, "After considering the overall conspectus of the evidence on record, I am of the view that though Tata Memorial Centre is not ‘under control’ of Government of India, the Central Government undoubtedly exercises control over TMC. It cannot be stated that TMC is completely free from the control of the Central Government. It receives grants from the Central Government, most of its operations are carried out from the grants received from the Central Government. Its accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Several decisions qua i ts operations as well as service conditions of employees are taken by the Central Government. There is a heavy presence of officials of Central Government on the Governing Council of TMC. The inescapable conclusion that emerges is that the Central Government exercises control over TMC. In my view, therefore TMC would be covered by the provisions of amended definition of the term ‘appropriate government’ under Section 2(a)(i) as it satisfies the conditions of ‘autonomous bodies controlled by the Central Government’."

Senior Counsel Sudhir Talsania, along with others, appeared for the petitioners, while Counsel Ashok D Shetty, along with others, appeared for the respondents.

Four petitions were filed by Tata Memorial Centre challenging the decisions of the Industrial Court, which held that the appropriate government for Tata Memorial Centre is the State Government. Tata Memorial Centre argued that, being an autonomous body owned and controlled by the Central Government, the appropriate government for it is the Central Government.

Tata Memorial Hospital and Indian Cancer Research Centre were merged into Tata Memorial Centre, which was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and as a public trust under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. The dispute arose from questions about the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court and the appropriate government oversight for Tata Memorial Hospital, raised by the Tata Memorial Hospital Workers Union. The Labour Court initially ruled in favor of the Central Government's jurisdiction, but the Industrial Court later reversed this decision, siding with the State Government's jurisdiction. Tata Memorial Hospital argued that while it receives funding and oversight from the Central Government, it still maintains significant autonomy in its operations.

The Court observed that, "What is used between the two words “owned” and “controlled” is ‘or’. Therefore, it is not necessary to enquire whether TMC is ‘owned’ by the Central Government. Even if it is ‘controlled’ by the Central Government, it would satisfy the test for determination of Central Government as its appropriate Government. I am therefore of the view that the appropriate Government for TMC in the light of the amended definition would be the Central Government. The impugned orders passed by the Industrial Court are thus totally unsustainable."

In light of the same, the High Court held that the appropriate government for Tata Memorial Hospital is Central Government and the complaints filed by the Workers-Union, would not be maintainable.


Petitioner: Senior Counsel Sudhir Talsania, Counsels Agnes Careneiro, Vaibhav Shah

Respondents: Counsels Ashok D Shetty, Shailesh K More, Rita Kirit Joshi

Cause Title: Tata Memorial Centre & Ors. vs Tata Memorial Hospital Workers Union & Anr.

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