What is the Effect of Non- Registration of Apprenticeship Contract with Apprenticeship Adviser?

As per Indian employment laws, sub-Section (4) of Section 4 read with Rule 6 of the The Apprentices Act, 1961 requires that every contract of apprenticeship shall be sent by the employer to the Apprenticeship Adviser for registration within three months of the date on which it was signed. Therefore, the question at hand is, in case the contract of apprenticeship is not sent to the Apprenticeship Adviser for registration what will be the effect thereof?

In U.P. State Electricity Board V/s Shri Shiv Mohan Singh & Anr., 2004 the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India opined that The Apprentices Act was a welfare legislation and should be construed liberally. It held that, “If the contract of apprenticeship is to be treated as a mandatory and contract is not sent (for registration to the Apprenticeship Adviser) the effect will be that the Apprentice will not be entitled to any benefit flowing from the Act…”

The Court further held that, “Therefore, the expression “shall” appearing in Sub-section (4) of Section 4 (‘Every contract of apprenticeship entered into under Sub-section (1) shall be sent by the employer within such period as may be prescribed to the Apprenticeship Adviser for registration’) does not appear to be mandatory. Had that to be construed to be mandatory it will be doing a great violence to the intention of the Act as well as to the interest of the apprentices/trainees. If the non- registration is to result in the breach of a contract resulting in to invalidity & unenforceable then in that case it will be oppressive to the interest of the apprentices as the employer can get away by seeking a declaration that the apprentice contract was not registered therefore he is not under an obligation to abide by the terms of the contract..”

Finally in the above matter, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that, “We are, therefore, are of the considered view that non-registration of the contract of apprenticeship would not render the same nugatory…”

Non registration of Contract of Apprenticeship, therefore, does not render the Contract nugatory.