A.H. Khan, J.
1. Miscellaneous Applications Nos. 139 and 140 of 1955 are consolidated and are being disposed of by a single order because the point for decision in both is a common one, namely, whether a worker's monthly remuneration is covered by the word 'wages' as used in the Payment of Wages Act (Act No. 4 of 1936).
2. The facts giving rise to these applications are that Brijnandan Bajpai, who is getting a salary of Rs. 120/- per month, and, Har Bhajan Tiwari, who is drawing a salary of Rs. 125/- per month, were employed in the Modern Printing Press, Lashkar. Both the employees presented an application under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act before the Authority appointed under Section 15 of the Act complaining that some deductions have been made from their wages wrongfully. On a notice being issued to the employer, among other pleas raised by him, one was that the applicants were being paid a monthly salary and that therefore their remuneration is not wages and that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain the claim of the employees.
The Tribunal rejected the contention and held that the remuneration given to the employees was covered by the term 'wages' and that he was therefore competent to enquire into the matter. Against this decision, the employer, Bhimsen Saxena, Manager, Modern Printing Press, Lashkar, has filed two petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution, praying that it be held that the dispute is beyond the jurisdiction of the authority appointed under Section 15 of the Act.
3. The question to be considered in this case is whether or not the monthly salary of an employee is covered by the term 'wages' under the Payment of Wages Act?
4. The learned counsel for the employer, Mr. P. L. Dubey has contended that a fixed monthly salary is not covered by the term 'wages' and that 'wages' is remuneration for work done for a period of less than one month.
5. The term 'wages' has been defined in Clause 6 of Section 2 of the Payment of Wages Act. A perusal of it would show that the term 'wages' is an omnibus term and is designed to embrace everything which a workman would get if he fulfilled all the conditions of the work he has contracted to do. In this view of the matter, the applicants who are workmen in the Press get wages from the employer. The main contention, however, i.s that because the wages are paid monthly therefore they are not wages under the Act. In advancing this argument, Section 4 of the Payment of Wages Act appears to have been overlooked. Section 4 runs thus :
'4(1) Every person responsible for the payment of wages under Section 3 shall fix periods (in this Act referred to as wage-periods) in respect of which such wages shall be payable.
(2) No wage-period shall exceed one month.' A perusal of the section would show that an employer is bound to fix wage-periods and that no wage-period shall exceed one month. In other words, wages cannot be fixed as payable quarterly, half-yearly or yearly but they may be fixed as payable daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The argument of the learned counsel that wages is 'remuneration paid for work done for a period less than a month' is not acceptable because Section 4 (2) of the Act says that the wage-period shall not exceed one month.
As a proposition of common sense one month is neither less than a month as contended by the counsel for the petitioner, nor does it exceed one month, the limit laid down in the Act : one month is one month as understood by all and sundry.
6. The learned counsel for the applicant in support of his contention relies upon a decision reported in K.V.V. Sarma, In re, AIR 1953 Mad 269. No doubt that only one of the Judges who constituted the Full Bench has let fall an observation to the effect that 'his impression is that the term 'wages' is not intended to apply to persons who received a fairly good sum of money as monthly salary.' But this case was considered by another Bench of the same High Court Managing Director, T. S. T. Company Ltd. v. Rule Perumal Naidu, AIR 1958 Mad 25, in which it was said that the above observations were obiter and was not followed.
I find myself in respectful agreement with the view expressed in AIR 1958 Mad 25, because the main point involved in AIR 1953 Mad 269, referred to an offence committed under Section 92 of the Factories Act and it was therefore necessary to consider the term 'wages' in the case.
7. The learned counsel for the opposite side Las referred us to A.V. D'Costa v. B. C. Patel, (S) AIR 1955 SC 412 in which the following passage occurs :
'In our opinion the scheme of the Act (Payment of Wages Act) as set forth above shows that if an employee were to state that his wages were, say Rs. 100/- per month, and that Rs. 10/- has been wrongly deducted ......... that would bea straight case within the purview of the Act and the Authority appointed under Section 15 could entertain the dispute.'
In this case, their Lordships of the Supreme Court appear to have placed it beyond the pale of controversy that even a monthly wage-earner could come within the purview of the Payment of Wages Act. This point was also considered in Mani Bhusan v. Sunil Kumar Roy, (S) AIR 1957 Assam 162, and it was held that the definition of 'wages' even applies to monthly payment and that a monthly wage-earner would come within the ambit of the Act.
8. For reasons stated above, I would dismiss both the applications under Article 227 of the Constitution and hold that the authority under the Act has jurisdiction to enquire into the matter. The applicant shall pay Rs. 50/- as costs in each application to the counsel of the opponents.
H.R. Krishnan, J.
9. I agree.