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Bethany Rubber Estate Vs. Industrial Tribunal, Quilon and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 32 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1958Ker271; (1958)IILLJ74Ker
ActsIndustrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Sections 2; Minimum Wages Act, 1948 - Sections 3
AppellantBethany Rubber Estate
Respondentindustrial Tribunal, Quilon and ors.
Appellant Advocate K.P. Abraham,; E.M. Jacob and; T.K. Kochu Thommen, A
Respondent Advocate Govt. Pleader, for Respondents 1 and 3 and; M.M. Abdul Kadir, Adv. for Respondent 2
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredSouth India Estate Labour Relations Organisation v. State of Madras
Excerpt:
- - 100/- torespondents 1 and 3 together, and a like amountto respondent no......of the workmen.3. the minimum rates of wages payable to such workmen had been fixed under the minimum wages act, 1948 (act 11 of 1948) and the contention of the petitioner is that asa result the reference of issue no. 3 for adjudication by the government under section 10 of the industrial disputes act, 1947 (act 14 of 1947) and the award of the tribunal thereon are without jurisdiction and should be set aside. paragraph 7 of the affidavit in support of the petition states the contention as follows :'the finding on issue no. iii of the award being ultra vires of the provisions of the minimum wages act (act 11 of 1948) and the reference itself being ultra vires of the powers of the government the above original petition is filed to quash the finding on issue no. ill of the award.....
Judgment:

M.S. Menon, J.

1. The petitioner is a Superintendent of the Bethany Rubber Estate, Ranni. The 1st respondent is the Industrial Tribunal, Quilon, the 2nd, the Ranni Plantation Labour Union and the 3rd, the State of Kerala.

2. Certain disputes between the Management of the Rubber Estate and their Workmen were referred for adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The third of the five issues referred was in the following terms.

'Should the time rate of system of payment of wages to the workers now prevalent in the Estate Be changed?'

The Tribunal considered the question in paragraphs 22 to 25 of the award dated 30-9-1957 and found the issue in favour of the workmen.

3. The minimum rates of wages payable to such workmen had been fixed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (Act 11 of 1948) and the contention of the petitioner is that asa result the reference of issue No. 3 for adjudication by the Government under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (Act 14 of 1947) and the award of the Tribunal thereon are without jurisdiction and should be set aside. Paragraph 7 of the affidavit in support of the petition states the contention as follows :

'The finding on issue No. III of the Award being ultra vires of the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act (Act 11 of 1948) and the reference itself being ultra vires of the powers of the Government the above Original Petition is filed to quash the finding on issue No. Ill of the Award passed by the Industrial Tribunal in Industrial Dispute No. 5 of 1957 and all proceedings relating thereto by the issue of a writ of Certiorari and to stay the implementation of the Award in respect of the finding on issue No. III by a Writ of prohibition and/or by any other appropriate Writ or Order'.

4. We see no merit whatsoever in the contention urged by the petitioner. The fact that minimum rates or wages payable to the employees concerned had been fixed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, cannot possibly mean that there can he no 'industrial dispute' regarding the proper wages to be paid to those employees within the meaning of that expression as defined in Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. A contention similar to the one urged before us was raised and negatived in South India Estate Labour Relations Organisation v. State of Madras, (S) AIR 1955 Mad 45 (A).

5. The Madras High Court summarised the contention as follows :

The contention of Mr. K. Rajah Aiyar, learned advocate for the petitioner is that the Industrial Disputes Act 14 of 1947 is a statute dealing with Industrial Disputes in general, whereas the Minimum Wages Act 11 of 1948 deals with one of the topics comprised therein; the fixation of wages in the trades specified in Part I of the schedule to the Act; that, being a latter enactment dealing with a particular matter, Act 11 of 1948 supersedes 'eo extanti' the earlier enactment, Act 14 of 1947; and that fixation of wages cannot therefore be a matter oF reference under the latter Act. The question for determination then is whether Act 14 of 1947 can be held to have been repealed by implication by Act 11 of 1948.' and emphasised the 'vital differences between the two enactments, both as regards their purpose and their scope'. It then pointed out that the 'law does not favour repeal by implication', quoted with approval Maxwell's statement :

'The language of every enactment must be construed as far as possible in accordance with the terms of every other statute, which it does not in express terms modify or repeal'. (Interpretation of Statutes, 10th Edition, p. 160) and said:

'So construing the two statutes the position that emerges might thus be stated. The object of Act 11 of 1948 is to ensure the pay-ment of living wages to workmen. The fixation is made from the point of view of the workmen. The capacity of the employer does not enter into the calculation. It may be that he cannot afford to pay at the rate fixed and may even be obliged to close down; but so long as he continues to employ, he cannot pay less. Vide Section 22.

A rate fixed under those conditions has to be the 'minimum', and that is why its determination is entrusted to administrative authorities. After wages are fixed under Act 11 of 1948, it may happen that the workmen are content to accept them, in which case no further question would arise. But if they do not accept it and ask for more, then there is an industrial dispute; and under Section 10 of Act 14 of 1947, the Government gets jurisdiction to refer it for adjudication by a Tribunal.'

6. In view of our conclusion that the reference and the award suffer from no infirmity as alleged by the petitioner, it is unnecessary to consider the contention of the 2nd respondent to the effect that the petitioner is precluded from raising the question of implied repeal before us in view of the fact that he did not raise it before the Tribunal but chose to submit to its jurisdiction and take a decision.

7. The petition fails and is hereby dismissed with costs, advocate's fee Rs. 100/- torespondents 1 and 3 together, and a like amountto respondent No. 2.


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