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Settappa Gudlyappa Parashetti Vs. Basappa Sangappa Karikatti - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMiscellaneous First Appeal No. 305 of 1966
Judge
Reported in[1968(17)FLR143]; (1967)IILLJ621Kant; (1967)1MysLJ636
ActsWorkmen's Compensation Act, 1923 - Sections 2(1), 5 and 30
AppellantSettappa Gudlyappa Parashetti
RespondentBasappa Sangappa Karikatti
Excerpt:
.....hotels co. ltd., the transaction between assesses and m/s indian hotels co. ltd. is in the nature of lease and the income from such hotel building is business income - 100 per month is included, the real purpose of the act would be defeated......2. therefore, it is contended by sri malimath that he does not come within the definition of the word 'workman' as defined in s. 2(1)(n) of the act. his contention is that the respondent not being employed on monthly wages, is not entitled to have the benefit of the act. he relies in support of his contention on the terms of the definition of the word 'workman' which is as follows : 'workman' means any person (other than a person whose employment is of a casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's trade or business) who is (i) * * * (ii) employed on monthly wages not exceeding four hundred rupees in any such capacity as is specified on sch. ii ....' 3. the argument of sri malimath looks quits plausible if we confine our attention to a purely.....
Judgment:

Per Gopivallabha Ayyangar, J.

1. This appeal filed under S. 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, is against the order dated July 7, 1966 passed by the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation, Belgaum, in Workmen's Compensation Application No. 14 of 1962 on his file. It is found by the Commissioner that the appellant was the employer and the respondent was an employee, employed on daily wages of Rs. 2. The employee suffered an injury on June 12, 1961 and as a result of which his right forehand had to be amputated. The Commissioner has directed the employer to pay Rs. 3,024 by way of compensation to the employee; he also directed that the aforesaid sum should be deposited in Court within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of the order and that that amount should be deposited in the postal savings bank and the applicant (respondent herein) should be paid by monthly instalment of Rs. 40, the payment to start from July 1966.

2. Under S. 30 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, an appeal lies only if a substantial question of law is involved. Therefore, Sri Malimath, the learned counsel for the appellant, urged only one question of law for our consideration. It is undisputed that in this case the respondent was an employee getting a daily wage of Rs. 2. Therefore, it is contended by Sri Malimath that he does not come within the definition of the word 'workman' as defined in S. 2(1)(n) of the Act. His contention is that the respondent not being employed on monthly wages, is not entitled to have the benefit of the Act. He relies in support of his contention on the terms of the definition of the word 'workman' which is as follows :

'workman' means any person (other than a person whose employment is of a casual nature and who is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's trade or business) who is

(i) * * *

(ii) employed on monthly wages not exceeding four hundred rupees in any such capacity as is specified on Sch. II ....'

3. The argument of Sri Malimath looks quits plausible if we confine our attention to a purely grammatical construction of the words in Clause (ii) of the definition of the word 'workman.' But this clause has been the subject-matter of interpretation in several decisions commencing from the one reported in City and Hall Lines v. Assis Thomas [A.I.R. 1938 Bom. 110], in which the learned Chief Justice Beaumont made the following observations, after quoting the definition of the word 'workman' and referring to S. 5 of the Act, as it then existed :

'It is said that this workman was not employed on monthly wages but in my opinion the reference to employment on monthly wages in S. 2(1), Sub-clause (n), means employment at wages which do not exceed an average of Rs. 300 a month. It means to me quite impossible, reading this Act as a whole, to say that it was limited to workmen who are employed by month so that it would not include workman employed by the say or by the week or by the year. If that were the meaning of the Act, every employer could get out of it by employing his workman otherwise than by the month. I feel no doubt whatever that the meaning of the expression 'monthly wages not exceeding three hundred rupees' means wages which do not exceed on an average of Rs. 300 a month.'

4. This decision has been followed in a series of decisions of other High Courts. The decision in Cooling Equipment Company v. Zainab Bibi [A.I.R. 1943 Lah. 52] takes the same view. In Bachia v. Shanti : AIR1946All473 , their lordships have followed the decision of the Bombay High Court in City and Hall Lines v. Assis Thomas [A.I.R. 1938 Bom. 110] (vide supra). At p. 476 their lordships refer to the incongruity which, the acceptance of the argument of the appellant in this case would lead to. If a person employed for instance on Rs. 300 per quarter is to be excluded from the definition, whereas a person employed on Rs. 100 per month is included, the real purpose of the Act would be defeated. Therefore, all the decisions that have been cited before us have taken the view that the real purpose of the insistence on employment on monthly wages not exceeding Rs. 300 (now Rs. 400) is merely to fix a financial upper limit of means in the case of the deceased workman. If we look at the legal provision from that point of view it would not make any difference whether the employee had been paid daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.

5. This view gets full support from S. 5 of the Act in which the meaning of 'monthly wages' is incorporated. Section 5 states :

'In this Act and for the purposes thereof the expression `monthly wages' means the amount of wages deemed to be payable for a month's service (whether the wages are payable by the month or by whatever other period or at piece-rates) and calculated as follows ...'

6. Now, adopting the meaning of 'monthly wages' as given in this section to the word 'monthly wages' as used in the definition of the word 'workman', the relevant portion of the definition would read as follows :

'`workman' means any person ... who is employed on the amount of wages deemed to be payable for a month's service (whether the wages are payable by the month or by whatever other period or at piece-rates) ...'

7. Therefore, to determine whether the employee is a 'workman' who comes within the definition of the word under the Act, we have to see what the amount is to be deemed to be the wage payable for the month to the employee for the services rendered by him during the month. If we read the definition of the word 'workman' substituting the meaning of the term 'monthly wages' as given in S. 5, there would be no difficulty in holding that the employee in this case is a workman entitled to the benefit of the provisions of the Act.

8. Therefore, we are unable to accept the contention of Sri Malimath that the respondent in this case is not a 'workman' with the meaning of the term under the Act. There is no decision taking a contrary view and in support of the appellant's contention. Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, was amended in the year 1939 and the object of the amendment was to remove doubts and it is for that purpose that formal definition of the expression 'monthly wages' was proposed in the amendment.

9. For these reasons this appeal is dismissed. Each party will bear his own costs.


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