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Ram Prakash Agnihotri Vs. the Union of India (Uoi) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2517 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1967All228; (1967)IILLJ353All
ActsPayment of Wages Act, 1936 - Sections 7, 15, 15(2) and 22
AppellantRam Prakash Agnihotri
RespondentThe Union of India (Uoi)
Appellant AdvocateAmbika Prasad, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateJagdish Swarup and ;V.K.S. Chaudhary, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....- sections 7, 22 (d), 16 and 15(2) of payment of wages act, 1936 - suit filed for recovery of wages - deduction made during the period of dismissal - such deduction not authorized by provision of section 7 - employee has a right to claim under section 15section 22(d) requires filling of application under section 16 - held, suit barred by provision of section 15 and 22. - - thus the reason given for non-payment of the wages for those days was not a good reason and was, therefore, an unjustified deduction from the wages of the plaintiff. wherever wages are due and they are withheld for some reason or the other it is clearly a case of deduction of wages and if the reason for deducting the wages is not an authorised reason under section 7 then the employee has a remedy under section..........court below but has been dismissed by the lower appellate court as barred under section 22 of the payment of wages act. this second appeal was, therefore, filed by the plaintiff and it was heard by a learned single judge of this court who has referred following question for our consideration.'whether the suit was barred by the provisions of sections 15 and 22 of the payment of wages act?'2. section 15(1) of the said act provides for appointment of a commissioner etc. as the authority for deciding such cases. sub-section (2) of section 15 of the payment of wages act is relevant and is as follows:'where contrary to the provisions of this ac i any deduction has been made from the wages of an employed person. .. .. .. .. suchperson himself, or any legal practitioner, or am official of a.....
Judgment:

Bishambhar Dayal, J.

1. This is a plaintiff's second appeal. The plaintiff was employed by the Western Railway and he was dismissed by an order dated 2-5-1949, but he was reinstated on 18-4-1950. He was again dismissed on 19-8-1950 and was again reinstated on 3-2-1951. For both these periods the plaintiff was not paid his salary as this period was treated 'dias non.' The plaintiff, therefore, filed the present suit in the civil court for the recovery of the salary. The suit was decreed by the court below but has been dismissed by the lower appellate court as barred under Section 22 of the Payment of Wages Act. This second appeal was, therefore, filed by the plaintiff and it was heard by a learned single Judge of this Court who has referred following question for our consideration.

'Whether the suit was barred by the provisions of Sections 15 and 22 of the Payment of Wages Act?'

2. Section 15(1) of the said Act provides for appointment of a Commissioner etc. as the authority for deciding such cases. Sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act is relevant and is as follows:

'Where contrary to the provisions of this Ac I any deduction has been made from the wages of an employed person. .. .. .. .. suchperson himself, or any legal practitioner, or am official of a registered trade union authorised in writing to act on his behalf, or. any Inspector under this Act, or any other person acting with the permission of the authority appointed under Sub-section (1), may apply to such authority for a direction under Sub-section (3) '

3. There are provisions for the hearing of such an application and the granting of the relief. This section, therefore, provides for an application being made for the recovery of wages wherein deduction has been made from the wages contrary to the provisions of thisAct. Now Section 7 authorises certain deductions to be made from the wages. Admittedly, the deduction made in the particular case before us is not covered by any authorised deduction under Section 7 of the Act. The position, therefore, was that the Railway deducted from the wages of the plaintiff certain amounts on the ground that during the period under dispute the plaintiff was not working and treated the period as 'dias non'. On a plain reading of Section 15, therefore, the plaintiff had a right under Sub-section (2) to claim this deduction by an application under Sub-section (3) of Section 16 of the Payment of Wages Act.

4. The contention of the learned counsel for the plaintiff is that this non-payment of his wages does not amount to a deduction from his wages but is non-payment of the whole salary and is, therefore, not covered by Section 16(2) quoted above. We are unable to agree with this line of argument. When the plaintiff after once being dismissed from service was reinstated by the authority itself the authority by necessary implication admitted that his service continued and as such he would normally be entitled to his wages. But the authority did not pay the wages either fully or partly for some reason which they described as for period 'dias non'. By using this term the Railway obviously means that those days are not to be counted because the defendant did not work. There is no such rule which may be said to be a part of the agreement with the plaintiff that on any date on which the plaintiff did not work he would not be entitled to his wages. Thus the reason given for non-payment of the wages for those days was not a good reason and was, therefore, an unjustified deduction from the wages of the plaintiff. Wherever wages are due and they are withheld for some reason or the other it is clearly a case of deduction of wages and if the reason for deducting the wages is not an authorised reason under Section 7 then the employee has a remedy under Section 16 of the Payment of Wages Act.

5. Section 22 of the Payment of Wages Act then provides:

'No Court shall entertain any suit for the recovery of wages or of any deduction from wages in so far as the sum so claimed-

(a) .. .. .. .. .. ..

(b) .. .. .. .. ..

(c) .. .. .. .. ..

(d) could have been recovered by an application under Section 16.'

6. We are, therefore, of opinion that the present suit being for the recovery of the deductions made from the wages of the plaintiff is barred under Section 22(d) of the Payment of Wages Act. 1936.

7. The only case directly on the point cited before us is Anant Ram v. District Magistrate, Jodhpur, AIR 1956 Raj 145 where a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court came to the same conclusion and we respectfully agree with this view.

8. Our answer to the question referred tous, therefore, is that the suit was barred bythe provisions of Sections 15 and 22 of thePayment of Wages Act, 1936.


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