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Loknath Nathulal Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial;Criminal
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. No. 147 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1960MP181; [1960(1)FLR58]; (1960)IILLJ348MP
ActsMinimum Wages Act, 1948 - Sections 2, 2(E) and 18; Minimum Wages Rules - Rules 21, 22, 25 and 27
AppellantLoknath Nathulal
RespondentState of Madhya Pradesh
Advocates:B.V. Shukla and ;S. Awasthi, Advs.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredRam Narain v. State of U.P.
Excerpt:
- - it is a fact admitted by the accused that he failed to maintain registers and record as required under section 18 of the minimum wages act and rules 21, 22, 25 and 27 framed thereunder. raja nainar, air 1959 sc 432 while discussing the well-known rule of harmonious construction of statutes, as follows :it is no doubt true that if on its true construction a statute leads to anomalous results the courtshave no option but to give effect to it and leave it to the legislature to amend and alter the law. ' 5. the learned counsel for the applicant placed reliance on a number of decisions in which a question arose as to the meaning to be attached to the word 'employee' or 'worker' in other enactments like the industrial disputes act or the factories act......of the learned counsel for the applicant entirely overlooks this part of the definition of the word 'employee' as contained in the minimum wages act, according to which a person by whom the raw materials given by the employer are made up, finished, or otherwise processed for sale, has to be deemed to be an 'employee'. the words 'and includes' which precede this part of the definition signify that a case which would not otherwise fall within the ambit of the general definition has to be deemed to be within its purview. now the word 'employment' used in the schedule part i of the minimum wages act has to be construed in such a manner as not to render nugatory the definition of the word 'employee' as contained in the same enactment. it was observed by their lordships of the supreme.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P.R. Sharma, J.

1. This is a revision application against the order elated 6-2-1958 passed by the 3rd Additional Sessions Judge Jubbulpore in Criminal Revision No. 104 of 1957 -- whereby he maintained the order of conviction and sentence passed against the applicant by the First Class Magistrate Jabalpur In Criminal Case No. 1784 of 1956. The facts of the case briefly stated arc that the applicant has under an agreement Ex. D/1 contracted to supply to Mohanlal Hargovind 'Biris'. The terms of the agreement show that Mohanlal Hargovind was to supply raw materials to the applicant who in his turn was, on his own responsibility as to payment of wages, to engage workers for the purpose of getting 'Biris' prepared out of the said raw materials.

2. The supply of 'Bins' prepared by the workers employed by the applicant was subject to approval of a person to be deputed for this purpose by Mohanlal Hargovind. Mohanlal Hargovind's munim was entitled to check the stock of leaves and tobacco with the applicant. The prosecution case is that the applicant was 'an employer' in Biri making industry at Jubbulpore to which the Minimum Wages Act is applicable. It is a fact admitted by the accused that he failed to maintain registers and record as required under Section 18 of the Minimum Wages Act and Rules 21, 22, 25 and 27 framed thereunder. His contention is that the Minimum Wages Act does not apply to him.

In support of this contention the followingpoints were urged before me by the learned counsel for the applicant during the course of his arguments : (1) that the applicant was not an employerwithin the meaning of Section 2(e) of the MinimumWages Act since the relationship of a master andservant did not exist between him and the labourerswho prepared 'Biris' for him; (2) that the applicant had no tobacco manufactory. The labourers who took the caw materials from him and supplied 'Biris' which they prepared out of the said raw material at their respective places of residence could not be said to be 'in employment in any tobacco or Biri making manufactory' within, the meaning of item No. 3 of the schedule Part I of the Minimum Wages Act.

3. Section 2(g) of the Minimum Wages Act defines scheduled employment as under : 'Scheduled employment means an employment specified in the schedule or any process or branch of work forming part of such employment.' The schedule mentions at item No. 3 'employment in any tobacco (including Biri making) manufactory.' The contention of the learned counsel for. the applicant is that unless the labourers or workers performing the process of Bill-making work at a defined place, their employment could not be said to be in a Biri making manufactory. Now what is material for the purpose of Section 18 of the Minimum Wages Act is whether the persons who were receiving raw materials from the applicant and preparing Biris out of the same at their respective houses were employees within the meaning of Section 2(i) of the Minimum Wages Act. Section 2(i) runs as under :

'employee' means any person who is employed for hire or reward to do any work, skilled or unskilled, manual or clerical, in a scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed; and includes an out-worker to whom any articles or materials are given out by another person to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered, ornamented, finished, repaired, adapted or otherwise processed for sale for the purposes of the trade or business of that other person where the process is to be earned out either in the home of the out-worker or in some other premises not being premises under the control and management of that other person; and also includes an employee declared to be an employee by the appropriate Government; but does not include any member of the Armed Forces of the Union.'

4. It would be clear from the above definition that it includes an out-worker to whom any articles or materials are given out by another person to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered, ornamented, finished, repaired, adapted or otherwise processed for sale for the purpose of the trade or business of that other person even where the process is to be carried out either in the house of the out-worker or in premises not under the control and management of that other person.

The contention of the learned counsel for the applicant entirely overlooks this part of the definition of the word 'employee' as contained in the Minimum Wages Act, according to which a person by whom the raw materials given by the employer are made up, finished, or otherwise processed for sale, has to be deemed to be an 'employee'. The words 'and includes' which precede this part of the definition signify that a case which would not otherwise fall within the ambit of the general definition has to be deemed to be within its purview. Now the word 'employment' used in the schedule part I of the Minimum Wages Act has to be construed in such a manner as not to render nugatory the definition of the word 'employee' as contained in the same enactment. It was observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of Veluswami Thevar v. Raja Nainar, AIR 1959 SC 432 while discussing the well-known rule of harmonious construction of statutes, as follows :

'It is no doubt true that if on its true construction a statute leads to anomalous results the courtshave no option but to give effect to it and leave it to the legislature to amend and alter the law. But when on a construction of a statute, two views are possible one which results in an anomaly and the other not, it is the duty of a court to adopt the latter and not the former, seeking consolation in the thought that the law bristles with anomalies.'

5. The learned counsel for the applicant placed reliance on a number of decisions in which a question arose as to the meaning to be attached to the word 'employee' or 'worker' in other enactments like the Industrial Disputes Act or the Factories Act. The definitions of these words as laid down in those enactments are not in pari materia with the definition of the word 'employee' as contained in Section 2(i) of the Minimum Wages Act. Those cases some of which arc discussed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge can, therefore, have no application to the present case. It would be sufficient to quote here a passage from the decision of their Lordships in the case of Ram Narain v. State of U.P. (S) AIR 1957 SC 18.

'it is not a sound principle of construction to interpret expressions used in one Act with reference to their use in another Act. The meaning of the words or expressions used in an Act must take their colour from the context in which they appear.'

6. I do not, therefore, consider it necessary to discuss those cases here. The word 'employment' as used in item No. 3 of the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act must in view of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court, be construed in the context of the, definition of the word 'employee' as contained in Section 2(i) of the Minimum Wages Act. It is obvious from the said definition that if an outworker prepares goods at his own residence and then supplies them to the employer, he has for the purposes of the Minimum Wages Act to be treated as an employee. It would be ridiculous to suggest that though he is an 'employee' he is still not in employment of the employer. If such a person has to be treated as an employee, then the person who engages him in a scheduled employment for reward or wages must comply with the provisions of Section 18 of the Act and the Rules made thereunder.

7. If we follow the rule of harmonious construction as discussed above the word 'manufactory' used in the schedule has for the purposes of the Minimum Wages Act to be construed in such a manner as to include within its scope processes of Biri making carried on by the employees at their respective houses. The employer in this case was manufacturing Biris from the raw materials supplied to him. The fact that the persons engaged by him did not perform the entire process of manufacturing Biris at a place over which he had control cannot in view of the express terms of the definition of the word 'employee' be hold to be material for the purpose of determining the question as to the applicability of the Minimum Wages Act to the employer.

8. I do not, therefore see any force in thisrevision petition. It is accordingly dismissed.


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