G.C. Mathur, J.
1. Several persons including respondents 2 to 5 filed separate applications under Section 16(3) of the Payment of Wages Act against the petitioner-company complaining that the petitioner-company had made some unauthorized deduction from their wage bills and prayed that the company be directed to repay those amounts to those persons together with compensation admissible under the Act.
2. The City Magistrate of Rampur who was the authority under the Payment of Wages Act found the cases of respondents 2 to 5 established and directed the petitioner-company to refund the amount and to pay compensation.
3. With regard to Mulkh Raj, respondent 2, the City Magistrate found that a 100-watt electric bulb had been supplied to him and that in spite of a notice being served upon him to return the bulb he had failed to do so. With regard to Mathur Singh, respondent 3, the City Magistrate found that he had been given three drills and even though a notice was served upon him to return the drills otherwise the cost of the drills would be deducted from his wages; he had failed to do so. With regard to Bam Kishan, respondent 4, the City Magistrate has found that he was responsible for the breakage of a tap of 3/16 inch and that after giving him an opportunity of showing cause the deduction was made. With regard to Mahboob Husain, the City Magistrate has found that he was given a drill which he had left somewhere and one Raise Doolah started operating it with the result that it got broken. The management deducted half of the bill from the wages of Mahboob Husain after giving him a show-cause notice and after making a proper enquiry.
4. In spite of these findings against these four persons the City Magistrate still allowed their claims on the ground that the deductions made by the petitioner-company were not permitted by Sub-section (2)(c) of Section 7 of the Act. This provision stands thus:
7. (2) Deductions from the wages of an employed person shall be made only in accordance with the provisions of this Act, and may be of the following kinds only, namely:
(b) deductions for absence from duty;
(c) deductions for damage to or loss of goods expressly entrusted to the employed person for custody; or for loss of money for which he is required to account, where such 'damage or loss is directly attributable to his neglect or default.
5. The City Magistrate found that the articles given to these four employed persons were not goods 'as contemplated by this provision.' He was further of the view that by giving these articles to the employed persons for use it could not be said they had been ' expressly entrusted ' to their custody. He has observed that tools did not form part of the goods and they are not entrusted for custody. It is against this decision of the City Magistrate that this writ petition has been filed.
6. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has contended that the electric bulb and the tools supplied to these employed persons were goods and that these goods were expressly entrusted to these employed persons and as such, the management was justified in making the deductions under Section 2(c) of the Act. There is considerable force in this argument. Goods have not been defined in the Payment of Wages Act. As such this word must be deemed to have been used in the sense in which it has been used in the Sale of Goods Act. The word ' goods ' cannot be confined to what the company manufactures. The word ' goods ' must mean as defined in the Sale of Goods Act, every kind of movable property. I am, therefore, of the view that the electric bulb and the tools entrusted to the employed persons were ' goods ' as contemplated in Section 7(2)(c) of the Act.
7. The expression ' expressly entrusted to the employed persons for custody ' was considered by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court in State of Madras v. K. Ramaswami 1958-II L.L.J. 228. In that case the question was whether a bus which had been given to the person employed as a driver for being piled on the road was expressly entrusted to his custody within the meaning of Section 7(2)(c) of the Act. The Madras High Court was of the view that It was so entrusted. It held that the term 'expressly' In the context only means clearly and the term 'custody' merely denotes keeping at care. Their lordships of the Madras High Court held that since the bus had clearly been given to the care of the driver there was an express entrustment to his custody. With respect, I agree with the interpretation put by the learned Judge of the Madras High Court on this expression.
8. In the present case also the electric bulb and the tools had been clearly entrusted to the care of respondents 2 to 5. The view of the City Magistrate that since the entrustment was for using the electric bulb and the tools it cannot be said to be entrustment for custody is patently erroneous, ' for custody ' does not mean for safe custody. The goods do not cease to be entrusted to the, charge or to the care of the employed persons simply because they are entrusted to their charge or care for using them. I am accordingly of the view that the deductions made by the petitioner-company in respect of these four employed persons were justified under Section 7(2)(c) of the Act and as such the City Magistrate had no jurisdiction to direct the petitioner-company to refund the deductions made and to pay the compensation.
9. I accordingly allow this writ petition and quash the order of the City Magistrate dated 12 July 1960 in so far as it relates to respondents 2 to 5. There will be no orders as to costs.