1. The facts in this revision petition are few and beyond dispute. The decree-holder (respondent before me) filed an execution petition under Order XXI, Rules 46 and 48, civil Procedure Code, for attachment of the bonus of the petitioner (judgment-debtor) declared as due to him by the Andhra cement Company, Ltd., Vijayawada (hereinafter referred to as 'the company '), for the year 1965, by the issue of a prohibitory order. It was resisted by the Judgment-debtor on the ground that bonus is not liable to attachment under Section 60(1)(h), civil Procedure Code. The Judgment-debtor is admittedly an unskilled workman, getting a monthly remuneration of Rs. 164 including all allowances. As per the starting orders of the company, he is not entrussed with any clerical or technical work, requiring exercise of powers of intellect or skill, and his services are utilized only for doing manual labour. It has been found by the learned District Munsif. and it has not been disputed before me. that the remuneration paid to the judgment-debtor every month is ' wagss of labour' within the meaning of Section 60(1)(h) of the civil Procedure come. Tne argument on behalf of the decrae-holder, which found favour with the District Masaif, was that the bonus for the year 1965 declared by the company is not a part of ' wages' and, therefore, not exempt from attachment. Certain decisions were oited by him before the learned District Muasif. but he chose to follow the definition of ' salary ' or ' wage' given in Section 2(21) of the Payment of Bonus Act (61 of 1965) (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') and held that the word 'wage' in Civil Procedure code does not include ' bonus ' and therefore bonus is not exempt from attachment, and accordingly ordered execution to proceed in respect of the bonus.
2. Aggrieved by this decision. the Judgment-debtor has preferred this revision petition.
3. Sri M. Subramanyam, the learned Counsel for the petitioner (Judgment-debtor), contends that the view of the lower Court is unsustainable.
4. Section 60(1)(h) of the civil Procedure Code enacts that the wages of labourers and domestic servants, whether payable in money or kind, are not liable to attachment or sale, but the civil Procedure Code has not defined the word ' wages.' The words ' wage ' and ' bonus ' are, no doubts defined in other Acts, but the definition in each Act has been given only for the purpose of that Act, and cannot be imparted into the Civil Procedure Code, which has used the word 'wages' in a general sense.
5. In A. Munuswami v. T. Viswanatha Nair 1858 -I L.L.J. 232, Ramaswami, J. has collected the definitions of the words ' wages ' and 'bonus' from all legal dictionaries and decided cases, and it is not necessary to reproduce all of them. Suffice it to say that It is well-settled that ' bonus ' is not a regular part of ' wages ' deferred or otherwise, and, in essence, is an ex gratis payment, but by reason of an agreement between the employer and the employee, or by statute, payment of bonus can assume permanence, and become part of the wages,
6. The Supreme Court In Muir Mills Company, Ltd. v Suti Mills Mazdoor Union 1955-1 LLJ1 referred to the definition of the word 'bonus' in the New English Dictionary and held that the primary meaning of that word is:
A been or gift over and above what is nominally due as remuneration to the receivers and which is sherefore something wholly to the good.
It was pointed out that the word ' bonus' imports the conception of a boon, a gift or a gratuity otherwise described as an 'ex gratia ' payment,
7. We are not concerned in this case with the prisoipiss on which bonus is granted, as illustrated in the several cases referred to by the Supreme Court, it is enough to state that the Supreme Court is its decision pointed out that bonus is not a deferred wags, because if it were so, it would necessarily rank for precedence before dividends.
8. The next question arising for consideration is, whether, in the instant case, the bonus declared by the company remained only an 'ex gratia' payment, or is one declared under a statute, and acquired permanence as a part of the wage.
9. As already pointed not the lower court proceeded on the assumption, and it has not been disputed before me, that the bonus in the instant case was declared only pursuant to the provisions of the Act. It is also clear from Section 10 of the Act that every employer is bound to pay to every employee, in an accounting rear, a maximum bonus of 4 per cent of the salary or wages earned by the employee during the accounting year, or Rs. 40 whichever is higher, whether there are profits in the accounting year or not. There can, therefore, be no doubt that the bonus declared in the present case is in discharge of the statutory obligation under Section 10 of the Act. That being so, it cannot be said to be an 'ex gratia ' payment.
10. If it is not an 'ex gratia' payment, would it not become a part of the wages ?
11. That question was considered by Ramaswami, J. in A. Munuswami v. T. Viswanatha Nair 1958-1 L.L.J. 232 already of (sick)t d. and it was held that by statute or by agreement boons can assume permanency and become part of the wages, and that Section 60, civil Procedure Code, covers only a limited class of wsge-earners. viz., labourers who earn their daily bread by personal manual labour or in occupations which require little or no Article skill or previous education, and if these conditions are fulfilled, bonus will stand protected under Section 60. On the facts of that case is was held that the bonus sought to be attached was not declared it her by statute or by agreement, and had not assumed permanency so as to become part of the wages, and hence is was held that bonus in that case was liable to attachment.
12. A Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court In Badlu Prasad v. Tirjuji Sitaram 1985-II L.L.J. 666, Tare and Krishnan, JJ., held that the inclusion of exclusion of such payment as bonus and gratuity in the definitions of ' wagas ' in different enactments is not quite uniform, for the reason that each of those enactments was made with a special purpose of giving the employee certain amount of protection in regard to periodical payment and welfare contributions, and it is not this aim of any one of these enactments to guarantee to the employee everything that will be payable to him under agreement or statute, or regular practice in the bnssiness, but only to guarantee certain specific payments, most often of a periodic nature. It was also held that the very fact that bonus and gratuity are excluded from the definition of ' wages' in these Acts, would indicate that without these wages might include the categories of payment thus acceded, and that the civil procedure code speaks of 'wages' of laborers and leaves it to the courts to laboures and leaves it to the courts to understand by 'wages' what in the context of the particular casess before them it would connot. The position was fiaslly summed up thus:
Thus we have what can be called ' wages' in general or the genus of wages which included all payments made to a employee arising out of the relationship. and 'wages' in the narrower or special sense which is a periodical payment. Differnt enactmints deal with wages of the latter kind, that is wates as species; but the civil Procedure Code which has no qualification and no explanation in this regard speaks of wages as genus. No doubt the use of the same in these two different senses may at first eight cause some confusion; but if the context and the purport of the enacstment is remembered, the confusion will mostly clear by itself.
13. From the foregoing discussion, the following principles can be deduced:
(1) The Civil procedure Code has not defined 'wages.' The word 'wages' is used in a general sense or as genus of wages, without any qualification, including all payments made to an employee arising out of the relationship, but wages, has also a narrower or special meaning, connoting petiodical payment. The phrase ' wagss' of labour ' has to be understood in the context of the particular casa before the Court.
(2) ' Bouns' paid to a labourer is an 'ex gratia' payment, and is not a wage deferred or otherwise, and as such cannot be a part of wages which has a permanence and a periodicity.
(3) The definition of ' wages ' in enactments of a special nature made with a special purpose for giving the employee certain amount of protection cannot be imported by reference into Section 60(1)(h) of the civil Procedure Code.
(4) Payment of bonus may also assume permanence and periodicity if it is the result of an agreement between the employer and an employee or is the result of a statute.
(5) Bouns declared under the Payment of bouns Act, 61 of 1965, being the result of a statute,acquires permanence and periodicity, and is a part of wages within the meaning of the Civil Procedure Code.
14. Reliance cannot, therefore, be placed on the definition under Section 2(21) of the Act for deciding the meaning of the word 'wages' in Section 60, Civil Procedures Code. Definition in Section 2(21) was provided for the purposes of the payment of Bonus Act. Under that Act, wages must necessarily exclude bonus, as bonus payable to a particular employee has to be determined in relation to his wages. For all these reasons, I hold that 'bonus' payable to an employee under the Payment of Banns Act is 'wages' underS. 60(1)(A) of the Civil Procedure code and not liable to attachment. The order of the court, below is therefore, unsustainable in the result the revision petition is allowed with costs and the extortion petition is dismissed.