Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
An important stage was reached with the passing of the Indian Trade Unions Act in 1926. This Act differs from British and Dominion Legislation on the subject mainly in the fact that the application of its provisions is confined to those unions which seek registration under it. Registered unions incur certain obligations; the most important of these are the requirement to furnish audited accounts and the necessity of including in the executive a majority of actual workers. At the same time registration confers on trade unions and their members a measure of immunity from civil suits and criminal prosecutions; the provisions in this respect follow approximately the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Trade Disputes and Trade Combinations that sat in England in 1905. We shall return to some of the provisions of the Act in our recommendations, but would remark here that the stimulus given by the Act to trade unionism resulted, not so much from any rights or liabilities that it created, as from the enhanced status given by the recognition of trade unions in the statute book.
Registered unions in particular have gained in the eyes of the public and of employers, and even unregistered unions have benefited from the greater confidence given to the movement as a whole. Up to the end of 1929, 87 unions were registered, with 183, 000 members; these are a minority of the existing unions, but include the majority of the vigorous organisations.