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Town Municipal Council (by Chief Officer), Nippani Vs. Ramachandra Dattatraya Patil and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Petition No. 17 of 1966
Judge
Reported in(1969)ILLJ645Kant; (1968)2MysLJ407
ActsMinimum Wages Act, 1948 - Sections 20, 20(2) and 20(3)
AppellantTown Municipal Council (by Chief Officer), Nippani
RespondentRamachandra Dattatraya Patil and ors.
Excerpt:
- constitution of india articles 226 & 227; [s. abdul nazeer, j] writ jurisdiction discretionary power decision making process judicial review held, if the decision is vitiated by mala fides, unreasonableness and arbitrariness, the court must exercise its discretionary power under article 226 of the constitution of india. the said power under article 226 shall be exercised with the great caution and also in furtherance of public interest and not merely on the making out of a legal point. on facts, held, it is clear from the undisputed facts that the leasing of the factory on lease, rehabilitated, operate and transfer scheme is in the interest of the farmers, workers and employees, financial institutions and the state government and also in the public interest. the state..........of art. 102 of sch. i to the indian limitation act, 1908, which does be more than to prescribe period of limitation for a suit. 8. it is true that the period of limitation within which a claim could be made for the recovery of wages under the minimum wages act is shorter than the period of limitation prescribed for a suit. but that does not mean that the period which could be condoned in the exercise of the plenary power conferred by proviso (2) to s. 20(2) of the act could be restricted on the basis of the period of limitation for a suit prescribed by the limitation act. while art. 102 of the limitation act to which sri narasimhamurthi made an appeal prescribes only a period of limitation, we are concerned with the question as to what is the period which could be condoned when there.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Somnath Ayyar, J.

1. We are asked in this civil petition presented by the Town Municipal Council, Nippani, in the district of Belgaum, to quash an order made by the authority functioning under the Minimum wages Act, 1948, under S. 20(3) of that Act directing the municipal council to pay a sum of Rs. 7,959.54 to its employees as overtime wages. The application for that direction was made by the employees who were working as scavengers under the municipal council on 21 November, 1960 and overtime wages were claimed for the period between October, 1956 and 14 July, 1958.

2. Under proviso (1) to S. 20(2) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, which will be referred to as the Act, an application for payment of such overtime wages under Sub-section (1) of that section could be presented within six months from the date on which the wages became payable. But proviso (2) authorized the authority functioning under that section to condone the delay in the presentation of the application for sufficient cause. The employees appealed to this proviso for the condonation of the delay in the presentation of their application, and the delay was condoned by the authority.

3. In this civil petition it is contended by Sri Narasimhamurthi appearing for the municipal council that there was no sufficient cause for the condonation of the delay, and that in any event, a delay exceeding a period of three years which is the period prescribed by Art. 102, in Sch. I of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, for a suit for the recovery of wages, could not be condoned, under proviso (2) to Sub-sec (2) of S. 20 of the Act.

4. The undisputed facts are that the employees of the municipal council had claimed in an application which they had previously made overtime wages for the period between 1 April, 1955 and 30 September, 1956. The authority functioning under the Act gave them those wages by an order made on 25 July, 1958. But, for the subsequent period to which the second application relates the claim was not made until 21 November, 1960, and, when that claim was made, the period of six months prescribed by proviso (1) to S. 20(2) of the Act had expired. So it was that the municipal council pleaded limitation and opposed the application for condonation of delay.

5. The explanation offered by the employees for the delay in the presentation of the claim was that immediately after the decision on the earlier application was rendered by the authority, there was a claim made for payment of overtime wages even for the subsequent period and that an assurance was given by the municipal council that their claim would be favourably considered. It was alleged that the municipal council then referred the matter to its various subcommittees and asked the employees to await its decision on that matter. The authority accepted the explanation and recorded a finding that the assurance given by the municipal council was what was responsible for the delay in the presentation of the application.

6. We do not accede to the contention of Sri Narasimhamurthi that the tribunal did not accept the explanation offered by the employees. It is clear from the order made by the authority that the explanation was completely accepted, although in one part of its order the tribunal did, as pointed out by Sri Narasimhamurthi, observe that in support of the allegation made by the employees there no other documentary or oral evidence. But the tribunal did place complete reliance of the affidavit which accompanied the application for the condonation of delay, and pointed out in Sitaram Ramcharan and others v. Nagrashna (M.N.) (Authority under the Payment of Wages Act for Ahmedabad Area and others [1960 - I L.L. J. 29] in which the condonation of delay was refused under proviso (2) to S. 15(2) of the Payment of Wages Act, 1939, the provisions of which similar to proviso (2) to S. 20(2) of the Act, the finding of the authority functioning under the Act as to the existence or other wise of sufficient cause for the condonation of delay is a finding of fact interference with which is impossible in the High Court or in the Supreme Court. The finding in the case before us was that there was sufficient case for not making the claim within the prescribed by proviso (1) to S. 20(2) that finding is impervious to criticism is this Court.

7. The argument that the authority could not have condoned the delay in excess of three years which is the period prescribed by Art. 102 of Sch. I to the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, does not appear to us sustainable Proviso (2) to S. 20(2) places no limitation on the power of the authority to condone the delay in making a claim. So, it is not right for us to import into that provides words which it does not contain or appeal to the provisions of Art. 102 of Sch. I to the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, which does be more than to prescribe period of limitation for a suit.

8. It is true that the period of limitation within which a claim could be made for the recovery of wages under the Minimum Wages Act is shorter than the period of limitation prescribed for a suit. But that does not mean that the period which could be condoned in the exercise of the plenary power conferred by proviso (2) to S. 20(2) of the Act could be restricted on the basis of the period of limitation for a suit prescribed by the Limitation Act. While Art. 102 of the Limitation Act to which Sri Narasimhamurthi made an appeal prescribes only a period of limitation, we are concerned with the question as to what is the period which could be condoned when there is a delay in the presentation of a claim under the Minimum wages Act. The one has therefore nothing to do with the other.

9. Although there is an observation in the decision of the High Court of Madras in Sri Gandhiban Bus Service, Chingleput (by proprietor, A. Vedachala Mudaliar v. Labour Court and others [1964 - I L.L.J. 709] which does lend some support to the argument of Sri Narasimhamurthi, it seems to us, if we may say so with great respect, that we should dissent from the elucidation made in that case. The enunciation that the delay which could be condoned under the Minimum wages Act could not exceed the period of limitation prescribed by the Limitation Act, depended almost entirely upon the decision of the Privy Council in Hansraj Gupta v. Official Liquidators of Dehra Dun, Etc., Company [I.L.R. 54 All. 1067] in which the question was whether an order could be made under S. 186(1) of the Indian Companies Act, 1930, directing a contributory to pay a debt, suit for the recovery of which had become time-barred. The Privy Council explained that since S. 186(1) of the Indian Companies Act created a special procedure for recovering monies which are due from a contributory and did not create a new foundation on which a claim for payment could be based, that section could not be allowed to so operate as to deprive a defence based upon the provisions of the Limitation Act. But unlike S. 186(1) of the Companies Act to which the Privy Council referred, the proviso to S. 20(2) of the Minimum Wages Act does authorize the condonation of delay in the presentation of a claim and the ambit of the power for such condonation was not discussed by the Privy Council for the obvious reason that that question did not arise.

10. In our opinion, the power created by the Minimum Wages Act for the condonation of delay is not controlled by the period of limitation prescribed by the Limitation Act for a suit, and the authority functioning under the Minimum Wages Act has in its discretion plenary power to condone the delay in the presentation of a claim.

11. We therefore dismiss this civil petition with cost. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.


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