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Nathuram Shukla Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial;Criminal
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. No. 146 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1960MP174; 1960CriLJ832; [1960(1)FLR476]; (1960)ILLJ784MP
ActsMinimum Wages Act, 1948 - Sections 2
AppellantNathuram Shukla
RespondentState of Madhya Pradesh
Advocates:B.V. Shukla, Adv.
DispositionRevision allowed
Excerpt:
- .....madhya pradesh gazette notification no. 584-451 xxiii dated 2 march 1956 that the minimum rates of wages fixed under sections 3(1)(b) and 10(2) of the act refer to 'wages per thousand bidis' made by an employee. therefore, at the relevant time, minimum wages were not fixed for persons employed in the manufacture of bidis otherwise than as bidi-makers. this is, therefore, a case in which the state government chose to fix minimum wages for persons employed in only one branch of the work of manufacture of bidis and the persons employed in other branches of the work were not entitled to the minimum wages fixed under the act, the question is whether, in respect of the latter class of persons, the person who employed them was an 'employer' within the meaning of the act, even though he had no.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.L. Pandey, J.

1. This application in revision is directed against the conviction of the applicant (Nathuram under Section 22 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (XI of 1948) (hereinafter called the Act) for which he was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 20/- or to suffer, in default, simple imprisonment for one week.

2. The facts of the case are not in dispute. Nathuram is the manager of 'Radhakishan Narayandas Bidi Karkhana' situate at 280, South Miloniganj Road, Jabalpur, in which, at the material time, 19 persons were employed. In that establishment, Bidis were not actually made but Bidis made by contractors were received, sorted out, paid for, baked and packed for the market.

3. Nathuram admitted that, on 3rd September 1956, when B. Section Thakur, Inspector under the Act, visited the establishment, he had not maintained the records and registers required by Section 18 of the Act and Rules 21, 22, 25 and 27 of the Rules framed thereunder.

4. The prosecution case was that Nathuram was an employer of a scheduled, employment, namely, the making of Bidis to which the Act applied. The defence was that the Act did not apply to the establishment where Bidis were not actually made.

5. A.K. Banerji, Magistrate First Class, Jabalpur, accepted the prosecution case, repelled the defence and convicted Nathuram, whose revision was also dismissed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jabalpur,

6. The point arising for consideration is whether Nathuram was an employer with the meaning of the Act in respect of the employment in which workers in the Radhakishan Narayandas Bidi Karkhana were engaged. According to Clause (g) of Section 2 of the Act, a scheduled employment means an employment specified in the Schedule, or any process or branch of work forming part of such employment. ''Employment in any tobacco (including bidi making manufactory)' is specified in Part I of the Schedule. Reading the two together, the employees working in the Karkhana must be regarded as employed in a scheduled employment, namely the manufacture of Bidis. It is, however, clear from the Madhya Pradesh Gazette Notification No. 584-451 XXIII dated 2 March 1956 that the minimum rates of wages fixed under Sections 3(1)(b) and 10(2) of the Act refer to 'wages per thousand bidis' made by an employee. Therefore, at the relevant time, minimum wages were not fixed for persons employed in the manufacture of Bidis otherwise than as bidi-makers. This is, therefore, a case in which the State Government chose to fix minimum wages for persons employed in only one branch of the work of manufacture of Bidis and the persons employed in other branches of the work were not entitled to the minimum wages fixed under the Act, The question is whether, in respect of the latter class of persons, the person who employed them was an 'employer' within the meaning of the Act, even though he had no obligation to pay to them minimum wages fixed under the Act.

7. The definition of employer occurring in Section 2e. of the Act is as follows:--

'(e) 'employer' means any person who employs, whether directly or through another person, or whether on behalf of himself or any other person, one or more employees in any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act, and includes, except in Sub-section (3) of Section 26,--

(i) in a factory where there is carried on any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act, any person named under Clause (f) of Sub-section (1) of Section 7 of the Factories Act, 1948 (LXIII of 1948) as manager of the factory;

(ii) in any scheduled employment under the control of any Government in India in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act, the person or authority appointed by such Government for the supervision and control of employees or where no person or authority is so appointed, the head of the Department;

(iii) in any scheduled employment under any local authority in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act, the person appointed by such authority for the supervision and control of employees or where no person is so appointed, the chief executive officer of the local authority;

(iv) in any other case where there is carried on any scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed under this Act, any person responsible to the owner for the supervision and control of the employees or for the payment of wages;'

In my view, a person employing persons in any scheduled employment is not an employer within the meaning of that Act, unless, in respect of that employment, minimum wages have been fixed under the Act. By parity of reasoning, if minimum wages have not been fixed for any branch of work of any scheduled employment, the person employing workers in such branch is not an employer within the meaning of the Act. In this view, Nathuram was not an employer within the meaning of the Act in respect of the persons employed in his Jabalpur Karkhana and he could not be convicted under Section 22 of that Act.

8. The revision succeeds and is allowed. The conviction of Nathuram and the sentence awarded to him are set aside and he is acquitted. The fine, if paid, shall be refunded.


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