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P.C. Velayudhan Vs. the Authority Under the Payment of Wages Act and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1972)IILLJ304Ker
AppellantP.C. Velayudhan
RespondentThe Authority Under the Payment of Wages Act and anr.
Cases ReferredChacko v. Varkey
Excerpt:
- .....the second respondent's claim was one arising out of 'delay in payment of the wages of a person employed in the establishment', and he is, therefore, entitled to apply under section 15(2) of the payment of wages act for an order directing the payment of the said wages. the petitioner was a 'person employed'; and what he claimed is delayed wages. these two requirements are sufficient to attract the application of section 15. counsel for the petitioner refers me to section 1(4) of the payment of wages act; and contends that the act would not apply to an ex-employee. section 1(4) reads:(4). it applies in the first instance to the payment of wages to persons employed in any factory and to persons employed (otherwise than in a factory) upon any railway by a railway administration.....
Judgment:

M.U. Isaac, J.

1. This writ petition has been filed by an employer who has been directed by the first respondent, the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act, Kerala, by its order, Ext. P-1, dated 24th July, 1969, to pay to his dismissed employee, the second respondent, a sum of Rs. 468 being the wages payable to him in respect of the period from 1-4-1968 to 15-10-1968. This order has been made on an application made under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

2. The second respondent was admittedly an employee of the petitioner, who dismissed him on 15-10-1968, after conducting an enquiry against him for misconduct. The second respondent filed an application under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960, questioning the dismissal, and claiming reinstatement with back wages. That application is pending. The petitioner contended before the first respondent that the second respondent's application under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, was not maintainable, since at the time of presenting that application, the second respondent was not an employee, as he had been already dismissed from his employment. That contention was rejected by the first respondent. In this writ petition, the petitioner questions the correctness of that decision. He has also raised another contention, viz., that the application before the first respondent was not maintainable as the second respondent was prosecuting another proceeding for the same relief under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960.

3. In support of the first contention that an ex-employee is not entitled to relief under the Payment of Wages Act, counsel for the petitioner relies on a single Bench decision of the Madras High Court in Wakcfield Estate v. Maruthan Uchi and Ors. 1959-I L.LJ. 397. That decision holds that the summary remedy available under the above Act is available only for a person who is in employment, and that an ex-employee is not entitled to any relief under the Act. This decision certainly supports the petitioner. But the above view has been dissented from by This Court in Chacko v. Varkey (1961) K.L.T. 840. Counsel for the petitioner submits that the decision of This Court arose under the Minimum Wages Act; and that, therefore, that decision does not apply to the instant case. I am unable to accept the above contention. It is true that the decision of This Court arose under the Minimum Wages Act, but the decision states the reasons for not accepting the view taken by the Madras High Court. I am in full agreement with the reasons stated in the said decision.

4. The second respondent's claim was one arising out of 'delay in payment of the wages of a person employed in the establishment', and he is, therefore, entitled to apply under Section 15(2) of the Payment of Wages Act for an order directing the payment of the said wages. The petitioner was a 'person employed'; and what he claimed is delayed wages. These two requirements are sufficient to attract the application of Section 15. Counsel for the petitioner refers me to Section 1(4) of the Payment of Wages Act; and contends that the Act would not apply to an ex-employee. Section 1(4) reads:

(4). It applies in the first instance to the payment of wages to persons employed in any factory and to persons employed (otherwise than in a factory) upon any railway by a railway administration or, either directly or through a sub-contractor, by a person fulfilling a contract with a railway administration.

I am unable to agree with the argument that the expression 'persons employed' means only persons in employment, and that it would not take in persons who were employed. 1 do not also find any reason why in the matter of enforcement of a claim for wages wrongly deducted or delayed, an ex-employee should be treated differently from a person in employment. The Act is intended to give a speedy remedy for recovery of wages due to an employee ; and as I read the relevant provision in the Act, I do not find anything therein to exclude anex-employee from the benefits thereof.

5. There is do force in the contention that the second respondent's claim under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act is not maintainable in view of the action which he has taken under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960, which includes the claim for back wages. The latter proceeding is for a larger relief; and the only effect of the action taken by the second respondent under Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act is that he would not be entitled to get any relief in respect of that matter in the action taken by him under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.

6. In the result, this writ petition is dismissed. The petitioner will pay the costs of the second respondent.


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