1. This is a revision from a decree of a Court of Small Causes. The plaintiff came to Court on the allegation that he was employed as a compositor in the defendant's press at a salary of Rs. 17 per month and that he was dismissed on the 20th of January, 1925, without notice. He claimed the pay for the 20 days ha served and an additional pay for 15 days as he was dismissed without previous notice. The suit was contested by the-defendant and all liability was denied. The learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes has granted the plaintiff a decree for his pay for twenty days and dismissed the rest of the claim.
2. The findings which I must accept are as follows : The plaintiff worked in the defendant's press up to the 20th of January, on which date at about 12 o'clock, ho, having got fever, disappeared from the press without applying for leave. He did not turn up for 5 or 6 days, and as he had disappeared without leave or sanction, and had left the work, the defendant was much irritated and dismissed him. The Court below finds that the plaintiff committed default and the defendant was justified in dismissing him. In spite of this finding it has granted the plaintiff a decree for his wages for 20 days.
3. As I have said, it was admitted by the plaintiff in the plaint that he was engaged on a monthly salary of Rs. 17. On the findings ho left the work without leave and without sanction of the defendant and did not turn up for 5 or 6 days. The defendant was justified in dismissing him If the conduct of the plaintiff was such that it justified the defendant in dismissing him before the expiry of the month the plaintiff, in my opinion, was not entitled to his salary for even the broken period for which he had served.
4. In the case of Raghoonath Doss v. Mr. T. Ealle 16 W.R. 60, although the claim of the servant for wages for the broken period during which he had served was allowed it was pointed out that he would not have got it if the master could prove that the dismissal was justifiable.
5. In the case of Ralli Brothers v. Ambiha Prasad (1913) 35 All. 132, Tudball, J., held that an office clerk engaged on a monthly salary was not entitled to any salary for the broken portion of a month in the course of which he left the service without the consent of his employer.
6. The present case is certainly distinguishable inasmuch as the plaintiff here did not actually leave the service, but left the work, which justified the master in dismissing him. But the English Law governing the rights and liabilities of master and servant is to be found in Smith's Law of Master and Servant, sixth edition, pages 169-172. In the absence of any statutory provisions in India the Common Law of England would prevail. It is there laid down that 'when a servant, whose wages are due periodically, so conducts himself that the master is justified in discharging him without notice, he is not entitled to be paid any wages for that portion of time during which he has served since the last payment of wages. That is to say, if a servant, whose wages are only due yearly, abscond from his master, or is rightfully discharged before the expiration of the year, he could recover nothing for services rendered previous to such departure or discharge. And the same principle would apply to the case of a quarterly, monthly or weekly hiring.' The governing principle seems to be that the contract is that the servant should perform his part of the contract for the whole period for which wages are paid, and that if he fails to perform his part of the contract, or is rightfully discharged at any intervening period between the dates when his wages are due, he can recover nothing for the broken period of service. The learned author cites several English eases where it was held that servants who have been rightly discharged and have afterwards sued their late masters for wages have failed to recover anything.
7. I am, therefore, of opinion that in view of the findings of the Court below that 'the default was committed by the plaintiff and that his master was justified in dismissing him the plaintiff was not entitled to recover the wages for even twenty days during which he had served. The judgment of the Court below therefore is not according to law. I allow the revision and set aside the decree of the Court below, and dismiss the suit. As the applicant professes to have contested the suit mainly on principle, I direct that the parties should bear their own costs of this application and in the Court below.