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The State of Rajasthan and ors. Vs. Duduwala and Company - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Special Appeal Nos. 13 and 219 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1985(1)WLN715
AppellantThe State of Rajasthan and ors.
RespondentDuduwala and Company
Cases ReferredIn The State of Maharashtra v. Mohan Lal Devi Chand Shah
Excerpt:
constitution of india - schedule vii, list iii, entry 24 and minimum wages act, 1948--section 9, 9a and minimum wages (rajasthan amendment & validation) act, 1962--notification dated 31-7-1965--amending act is covered by entry 24 of concurrent list it purports to remove defects in constitution of advisory board--parliament and state legislature can make laws for welfare of labour including fixation of minimum wages and conditions of work--held, provisions of amending act are valid regarding composition of advisory board--provisions not applicable to labour employed in mines & quarries.;the amending act is covered by entry 24 of the concurrent list of the seventh schedule, as it purports to remove the defects or irregularity in the constitution of the advisory boards, constituted.....dwarka prasad gupta, j.1. in both these appeals, a question about the validity of minimum wages (rajasthan amendment and validation) act, 1969 (here in after referred to as 'the amending act') has been raised.2. m/s duduwala and company bhilwara and m/s rajasthan mineral and company, bhilwara filed two separate writ petitions in this court challenging the validity of the provisions of the amending act. the learned single judge by his orders dated september 24. 1971 declared that the provisions of the amending act were ultra vires of the powers of the state legislature. the main order was passed by the learned single judge in the case of m/s duduwala & co. while in m/s rajasthan mineral & case the learned single judge observed that the facts and circumstances of that case were identical.....
Judgment:

Dwarka Prasad Gupta, J.

1. In both these appeals, a question about the validity of Minimum Wages (Rajasthan Amendment and Validation) Act, 1969 (here in after referred to as 'the Amending Act') has been raised.

2. M/s Duduwala and Company Bhilwara and M/s Rajasthan Mineral and Company, Bhilwara filed two separate writ petitions in this Court challenging the validity of the provisions of the Amending Act. The learned single Judge by his orders dated September 24. 1971 declared that the provisions of the Amending Act were ultra vires of the powers of the State Legislature. The main order was passed by the learned single Judge in the case of M/s Duduwala & Co. while in M/s Rajasthan Mineral & Case the learned single Judge observed that the facts and circumstances of that case were identical with those of M/s Duduwala & Co.'s case and that the order given in Duduwala & Co's case would also govern and shall be considered as part of the order in M/s Rajasthan Mineral Co.'s case.

3. Both the writ petitioners, M/s Duduwala & Co. and M/s Rajasthan Mineral & Co. carried on the business of mica mining in Bhilwara District of the State of Rajasthan and they employed a large number of workmen in the mica mines, which were taken by them on lease from the State Government. By a notification dated July 31, 1965, the State Government prescribed minimum rates of wages for the workmen employed in mica mines in the State of Rajasthan, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Section 3 read with Sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The writ petitioners and some other lease holders of mica mines challenged the validity of the aforesaid notification by filing writ petitions in this Court, inter alia on the ground that the Advisory Board on the basis of whose advice the aforesaid notification was issued by the State Government, was not properly constituted in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of the Minimum Wages Ace. This Court, by its decision in the case of Hari Ram v. State of Rajasthan 1968 RLW 177, struck down the notification issued by the State Government on July 31, 1965 and held that the composition of the Advisory Board was not in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of the Minimum Wages Act in as much as the Advisory Board was composed merely of the employers's representatives and the employees' representatives, but it did not include any independent members, which was envisaged by the provisions of Section 9. This Court held in Hari Ram's case 1968 RLW 177 that the aforesaid notification issued by the State Government suffered from a defect of fundamental nature, and as it was issued on the basis of consultation with an improperly constituted Advisory Board, the same was void.

4. Thereafter, on December 25, 1968, the State Government issued the Minimum Wages (Rajasthan Amendment and Validation) Ordnance, 1968, which purported to validate the minimum wages prescribed by the State Government by the notification dated July 31, 1965. This Ordinance was later on replaced by an Act of the State Legislature which was reserved for and received the assent of the President of India on April 3, 1969. The Amending Act purported to amend the provisions of Section 9 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (Central Act No. 11 of 1948) here in after referred to as 'the Act-') by adding the following explanation thereto:

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, an officer of the State Government shall be deemed to be 'independent not with standing that the State Government is an employer in any scheduled employment.

The Amending Act also purported to remove the defect or irregularity in the constitution of the Advisory Board by inserting after Section 9, a new Section 9 in the principal Act, which runs as follows:

9A--Finality of orders Constituting Board, Committee, Sub-committee, etc.--No order of the State Government nominating any person as Chairman or a Member of the Advisory Board or a Committee or Sub-committee shall be called in question in any manner and no action or proceedings before any Board, Committee or Sub-committee shall be called in question in any manner in any court of law on the ground merely of the existence of any vacancy in or any defect or irregularity in the constitution of such Board, Committee or Sub-committee.

5. The Amending Act also validated the rates of minimum wages prescribed by the earlier notification issued by the State Government, not with standing any judicial decision to the contrary. Section 31A, which was newly introduced in the principal Act after Section 31, for the purpose of the aforesaid validation, reads as under:

19A. Validation of certain minimum rates and wages.-The Rates of Minimum Wages (Rajasthan Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 1968, in respect of employments Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 17 in Part I of the Schedule to the Act and employment in agriculture in Part II of the Schedule to the Act, shall be and shall be deemed always to have been validly fixed or revised, as the case may be, and shall be deemed to have come into force on the date such fixation or revision has been brought into force by the State Government by a notification in the Official Gazette, not with standing any judicial decision to the contrary or any defect or irregularity in the constitution of the Committee or the Sub-committee, or the Advisory Board under Section 5 or Section 7 of the Act read with Section 9 thereof or publication of the notification in the Official Gazette or non-compliance with any other requirement of law and shall not be called in question in any court merely on the ground that there, was a failure to comply with the provisions of the Act.

6. The effect of the amendments sought to be made by the provisions of the Amending Act was to nullify the result of the pronouncement of this Court in Hari Ram's case 1968 RLW 177 as it was provided that an officer of the State Government appointed on the Advisory Board shall be deemed to be an independent person, not with standing the fact that the State Government was an employer in any Scheduled employment.

7. The provisions of the Amending Act were challenged by the writ petitioners mainly on the ground that the State Legislature was not competent to enact a law relating to labour employed in the mines in the State of Rajasthan. The contention advanced by the writ petitioners was accepted by the learned Single Judge, who held that under entry No. 55 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, Parliament had exclusive jurisdiction to enact laws regulating labour and safety in mines and oil fields. The learned Judge held that the Minimum Wages Act was enacted for the welfare of labour and as such only Parliament was competent to amend the principal Act in respect of labour working in the mines and that the State Legislature was not competent to enact a law regulating the conditions of labour working in the mines.

8. In these special appeals, it was urged by Mr. A.K. Mathur, learned Additional Advocate General that the provisions of the Amending Act was not ultra vires of the powers of the State Legislature as the subject matter thereof was covered by entry 24 of List III of Sch. VII of the Constitution, relating to welfare of labour and as the provisions of the Amending Act were covered under item No. 24 of the Concurrent List, the law could have been enacted by the State Legislature with the assent of the President. It was pointed out by the learned Additional Advocate General that the Amending Act was reserved for the assent of the President and became law after receiving his assent on April 3, 1969. Mr. H.M. Parekh appearing for the respondent canvassed the view taken by the learned single Judge.

9. Article 246 of the Constitution of India lays down that the Parliament has exclusive power to enact laws in respect of any of the matters enumerated in List I of the Seventh Schedule, called the Union List. However, the Parliament as well as the State Legislatures have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule, known as the Concurrent list, while the State Legislature has the exclusive jurisdiction to enact laws in respect of matters enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule, referred to as the State List. Article 254 of the Constitution provides that if the law made by Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by the Parliament, then the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall prevail in that State, if such law has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent. According to the learned Additional Advocate General, as the Amending Act was reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, the provisions thereof shall prevail in the State of Rajasthan, by virtue of Clause (2) of Article 254 of the Constitution, as the subject matter of the enactment was covered by entry 24 of the Concurrent List II. On the other hand it was argued by Mr. H.M. Parekh that as exclusive power to enact laws in respect of matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule has been vested in Parliament by the Constitution, that exclusive power cannot be circumvented even if the power of Parliament to enact laws in respect of those matters is partially covered by some other entries enumerated in List II or III of the Seventh Schedule.

10. Now, the main question, which requires determination in these special appeals is as to under which entry of the three lists of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the subject matter of the Amending Act would fall. Entries 54 and 55 of the List I of the Seventh Schedule, which have been relied upon by the learned Counsel for the respondents, are as under:

54. Regulation of mines and mineral development to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest'.

55. Regulation of labour and safety is mines and oil-field.

11. On the basis of the aforesaid entries learned Counsel for the respondents argued that the subject matter of the Amending Act exclusively fell within the jurisdiction of the Parliament. On the other hand, learned Additional Advocate General relied upon entry 24 of the concurrent list, which runs as under:

24. Welfare of labour including conditions of work, provident funds, employers' liability, workmen's compensation, invalidity and old age pensions and maternity benefits.

12. The main purpose of the Minimum Wages Act is to make provision for statutory fixation of minimum rates of wages for workmen employed in various industries specified in the Schedule annexed to the Act. The scheme of the Act is to fix a basic wage for such workmen. The intention of the legislature is to achieve the object of doing social justice to workmen employed in Scheduled employment by prescribing minimum rates of wages. The Act was thus enacted for the welfare of labour and the statutory fixation of minimum wages is aimed to obviate the chances of exploitation of labour by the employers. If the workmen are to be secured in the enjoyment of minimum wages, they would be protected against exploitation by employers. The provisions of the Act undoubtedly restrain freedom of contract of the employers, but such restriction cannot be considered to be unreasonable in the larger context of social justice and welfare of labour. As the Act purports to prevent exploitation of labour, for that purpose it authorises the appropriate government to take steps for prescribing minimum rates of wages for labour employed in the scheduled industries. Thus, the Act ensures regular payment of minimum rates of wages to workmen employed in scheduled employments and ensures that the employers do not delay or with hold payment of wages earned by the workmen. The Act prohibits exploitation of the weaker section of the society by the employers and is a piece of social legislation intended to achieve the object of doing social justice to the workmen employed in scheduled employments. It is well settled that social legislation conferring benefits of workmen should receive liberal and benevolent construction which would advance the remedy and suppress the mischief. The scheduled employments to which the provisions of the Act are applicable have been enumerated in the schedule appended to the Act. The Appropriate Government is empowered to fix minimum rates of wages in relation to scheduled employments.

13. In respect of any scheduled employment carried on by or under the authority of the Central Government or the Railway Administration or in relation to a mine, oil field or major port or any Corporation established by a Central Act, the Central Government has been designated as the 'Appropriate Government' Under Section 2(b)(i) of the Act; while in relation to any other scheduled employment the State Government has been designated as the competent authority for purposes of fixation of rates of minimum wages. 'Mine' has not been defined in the Act, but the word 'mine' has been defined in Section 2(1)(j) of the Mines Act, 1952 as any excavation where any operation for the purposes of searching for or obtaining mineral has been or is being carried on.

14. In M/s Bhikusa Yamasa Kshatriya and Anr. v. Sanganer Akola Taluka Bidi Kamgar Union and Ors. : (1962)IILLJ736SC , the object of the Act has been described as prevention of exploitation of the workers by fixation of minimum wages which the employers must pay. It was observed in the aforesaid case that the legislature intended to apply the Act to those industries or localities in which, by reason of causes such as unorganised labour or absence of machinery for regulation of wages, the workers were paid inadequate wages in the light of the general level of wages or subsistence level.

15. Their Lordships observed that fixation of minimum wages and the rates thereof depended largely upon diverse factors which in their very nature are variable and can properly be ascertained by the Government which is in charge of the administration of the State. As such the authority to determine minimum wages for any industry in any locality has been entrusted to the appropriate government. The legislature has broadly laid down the policy regarding fixation of rates of minimum wages and the power conferred open the Central Government or the State Government is subordinate and accessory and is an incidental function, having regard to the special circumstances prevailing in different locality. The principal Act provides for formation of advisory committees containing representatives of the employers as well as the employees and independent persons, for the purpose of advising the Government in fixing and revising the minimum rates of wages.

16. So far as the question of interpretation of the entries in the lists of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution are concerned it is well settled that the entries in the three lists should be construed broadly and not in a narrow or pedantic sense. In Waverly Jute Mills Co. Ltd. v. Raymon and Co. : [1963]3SCR209 ; their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed that the entries in the lists should be so construed as to give effect to all of them and that a construction which will result in any one of them being rendered futile or otiose must be avoided. The result is that where there are two entries, one general in its character and the other specific, the former must be construed as excluding the latter. Under item 24 of List III of the Seventh Schedule, welfare of labour including conditions of work covers generally the matter relating to fixation of rates of minimum wages. Entry 24 corresponds to item No. 27 of III list of the Seventh Schedule of the Government of India Act, 1935. In Chairman, Panihati Municipality v. Secretary, Panihati Municipal Labour Welfare Union and Anr. : AIR1965Cal229 , it was observed that in pith and substance the Act provides for the welfare of labour and if it incidently trenches upon a matter reserved for the provincial legislature, namely, the powers of the Municipal Corporation to fix the salary or allowances of their employees, then it could not be invalidated because of the incidental overlapping. What is material for the decision of the question about the validity of the Amending Act is its pith and substance.

17. The validity of an Act amending the Minimum Wages Act which was passed by the Madhya Pradesh Legislature came up for consideration before a Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Firm Dayalal Meghji and Co. and Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors. : AIR1962MP342 . It was held in that case that the Minimum Wages (Madhya Pradesh Amendment and Validation) Act, 1961 was a valid piece of legislation as both the principal Act, namely the Central Act and the M.P. Act could co-exist in the State of Madhya Pradesh. Certain notifications issued by the Madhya Pradesh Government fixing rates of minimum wages were held by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Norottamdas v. P.B. Gowarikar AIR 1951 MP 182, as void and inoperative. One of the grounds was similar as was raised in Hari Rain's case 1968 RLW 177 before this Court that the constitution of the Advisory Board was not valid & proper in conformity with the requirement of Section 9 of the Principal Act. Thereafter, the Madhya Pradesh Amendment and Validation Act, 1961 was passed by the Legislature of the State of Madhya Pradesh, introducing Section 9-A and 31-A, validating the rates of minimum wages determined by the earlier notifications. While considering the question of validity of the Amending Act, the Madhya Pradesh High Court observed that under entry 24 of List III of the VII Schedule the State Legislature had the power to make a law for fixation and revision of minimum wages so far as it does not come in conflict with the provisions of the Central Act. It was further held that when a State Legislature makes a law with regard to a matter falling in the concurrent list, then the earlier laws made by the Parliament with respect to the same matter, even if inconsistent co-exist and prevail over the State law, subject to the condition that the State law if it is made with the consent of the President as provided in Article 254(2) of the Constitution, would alter, amend or modify the law to that extent. It was thus held that the Amending and Validating Act was within the competence of the State Legislature because the principal Act and the Amendment Act which was reserved for the consideration of the President and had received his assent, both could co-exist in the State, subject to the provisions of Clause (2) of Article 254 of the Constitution. However, Section 31-Q, which was sought to be introduced by the Validation Act and was intended to validate the earlier invalid notifications, was held to be void and it was held that an attempt made by the State Legislature to validate the rates of minimum wages fixed or revised by earlier invalid notifications issued under the Central enactment was totally ineffective. Of-course, the State Legislature was competent to fix the rates of minimum wages independently of the earlier notifications, even with retrospective effect, but it could not validate the notifications which were invalid at their very inception.

18. Thereafter, the Madhya Pradesh Legislature passed the M.P. Minimum Wages Fixation Act, 1962 fixing minimum rates of wages with retrospective effect. The validity of this enactment was also challenged and a Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Narrottamdas Harjiwandas v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors. : AIR1964MP45 held that the Act, fixing rates of Minimum wages, was within the legislative power of the State Legislature to make laws under entry 24 of List II. It was held that the Act did not encroach upon and trespass on the powers of the Parliament and that it was within the legislative competence of the State Legislature.

19. In Indu Bhusan Bose v. Rama Sundari Debi and Anr. : [1970]1SCR443 , their Lordships of the Supreme Court held that when the exclusive power to enact laws in respect of certain subjects has been given by, the Constitution to the Parliament, then the same could not be circumscribed by resort to some other entries in Lists II and III of the Seventh Schedule. That case related to the regulation of house accommodation in cantonment areas. Entry 3 of List. I of the Seventh Schedule relates to delimitation of cantonment areas and the 'regulation of house accommodation', including the control of rents in such areas. The subject of relationship of landlord and tenant and the collection of rents is covered under item Mo. 18 of List II, while contracts and transfer of property, other than agricultural land forms subject matter of items Nos. 6 and 7 of List III. In the aforesaid case it was argued regarding the scope of entry No. 3 of List I, that the power of the Parliament to legislate in respect of house accommodation should be confined to requisitioning or otherwise obtaining possession of accommodation for military purposes or to regulate house accommodation acquired, requisitioned or allotted for military purposes. The aforesaid contention was however, repelled by their Lordships of the Supreme Court and it was observed that there were no qualifying words in entry No. 3 of List I to indicate that the house accommodation, which is to be subject matter of such legislation must be accommodation required for military purposes or the regulation of house accommodation must be confined to accommodation already acquired, requisitioned or allotted to the military. Their Lordships held that the words 'regulation' cannot be so narrowly construed as to be confined to allotment only and not to other incidents, such as termination of existing tenancies and eviction of persons in possession of house accommodation. The dictionary meaning of the word 'regulation' in the shorter Oxford Dictionary is 'act of regulating' and the word 'regulate' means 'to control, govern or direct by rule or regulation'. It was held in the aforesaid case that the entry relating to regulation of house accommodation gave ample power to the Parliament to pass a legislation for the purpose of directing termination of tenancies or controlling of house accommodation in cantonment areas. Their Lordships saw no reason to hold that the word 'regulation' was not used in its wide sense in entry No. 3 of list I. Learned Single Judge, on the basis of the decision in Indu Bhusan Bose's case AIR 1970 SC 228, held that the power of Parliament of legislating in respect of a subject enumerated in list I excluded the power of the legislature to enact laws relating to the limited subject, even though general power may be derived by the State Legislature under some entry in the other two lists. Learned single Judge held that the Minimum Wages Act could be amended in respect of labour working in mines and oil fields only by Parliament and not by State Legislatures.

20. However, it may be observed that the Amending Act is not a law only relating to labour working in mines or oil fields, but in pith and substance it is a legislation relating to welfare of labour. The Amendment made in Section 9 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the newly inserted Section 9-A introduced in the principal Act, relate to fixation of minimum wages regulation of labour-matters enumerated in entry No. 24 of List III of the Seventh Schedule and both the Parliament and the State Legislatures have the power to make laws with respect to such matters falling under the concurrent list. It is altogether different thing to say that the State Legislature had no power to make laws amending the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, although it could be said that the State legislature had no power to make laws relating to regulation of mines or regulation of labour Working in mines. In other words, the laws which may be made by the State legislature affecting welfare of labour, by enacting provisions for fixation of rates of minimum wages in scheduled employments, may not be effective to the limited extent of labour working in mines and oil fields. Thus the Amending Act may not have the effect of affecting fixation and revision of Minimum Wages in respect of labour working in mines and oil fields, but apart therefrom the State Legislature has undoubtedly the power of amending the Minimum Wages Act, subject to fulfilling the condition of such enactment having been reserved for the assent of the President and of receiving his assent.

21. We may also here draw attention to entry 23 of List II of the Seventh Schedule, which reads as under:

Regulation of mines and mineral development subject to the provisions of List I with respect to regulation and development under the control of the Union.

Thus, both entry No. 54 of the Union list and entry No. 23 of the State List speak of ''regulation of mines and mineral development'. However, entry No. 23 of the State List is subject to entry No. 54 of the Union List. Thus, it is open to the Parliament to declare that it was expedient in the public interest that the control in respect of mines and mineral development should vest in the Central Government. The extent of control is for the Parliament to determine, but once the declaration is made and the extent is laid down by the Parliament, the subject matter of legislation to that extent is an exclusive subject for legislation by Parliament. After such declaration is made, any legislation by the State Legislature would amount to trenching upon the exclusive fields of parliamentary legislation and would be unconstitutional to that extent.

22. In Baijnath Kedia etc. v. The State of Bihar and Ors. : [1970]2SCR100 , it was held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that the control relating to regulation of mines and development of minerals is vested in the Central Government as provided by the Mines and Mineral (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 (here in after called the '1957 Act'). Following their earlier decision in Himgir Rampur Coal Co. Ltd. v. State of Orissa AIR 1961 SC 45, their Lordships held in Baijnath's case : [1970]2SCR100 that the whole of the legislative field regarding regulation of mines and development of minerals was covered by the parliamentary declaration, read with the provisions of 1957 Act. Although the Union Parliament allowed the State Governments to make rules in respect of minor minerals, but that did not leave any scope for legislation in such matters at the State level. It was, thus, held that entry 23 of the State List would stand cut down to the extent provided by Parliament in the 1957 Act. When a superior legislature evidenced an intention to cover the whole field, the enactments of the other legislatures, whether passed before or after, would be void to the extent of inconsistency. When the entire legislative field in relation to mines and mineral development has been withdrawn from the State Legislatures, no law could be made by the legislature of any State trenching upon the subject of regulation of mines and development of minerals The rule making power vested in the State Government in such matters also emanated from the Parliament.

23. A similar question came up before their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the Kerala State Electricity Board v. The Indian Aluminium Co. Ltd. and Ors. : [1976]1SCR552 , wherein it was held that an entry in List I of the Seventh Schedule would take effect not with standing the entry in List II. It was observed that if it was not possible to reconcile the two entries, the entry in List I would prevail over the entry in List II.

24. In Subrahmanyam Chettiar's case AIR 1949 FC 47 Sir Maurice Gwyer, C.J. of the Federal Court observed as under:

It must inevitably happen from time to time that legislation, though purporting to deal with a subject in one list, touches also on a subject in another list, and the different provisions of the enactment may be so closely intertwined that blind observance to a strictly verbal interpretation would result in a large number of statutes being declared invalid because the legislature enacting them may appear to have legislated in a forbidden sphere. Hence the rule which has been evolved by the Judicial Committee, whereby the impugned statute is examined to ascertain its 'pith and substance', or its 'true nature and character', for the purpose of determining whether it is legislation with respect to matters in this list or in that.

25. In The State of Maharashtra v. Mohan Lal Devi Chand Shah : 1966CriLJ176 a person carrying on quarrying operations was prosecuted in the court of a Judicial Magistrate for contravening certain provisions of the Minimum Wages (Central) Rules, 1954 on the basis of a complaint filed by Labour Inspector appointed under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. An objection was taken that the Labour Inspector appointed by the Central Government could not file a complaint as the same could have been filed only by an Inspector appointed by the State Government, as a stone quarry did not fall within the category of a 'mine' as defined in the Mines Act, 1952 or the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act. 1957. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court referred to the definition of 'appropriate Government' contained in Section 2(b) of the Minimum Wages Act and held that the word 'mine' included quarries and observed that it would be rather incongruous that some matters such as health and safety, hours of employment in quarries should be regulated by the Central Government while minimum wages be regulated by the State Government. It was also held that employment in stone breaking or stone crushing operations referred to quarrying operations or mining operations Their Lordships demarcated the jurisdiction of the two authorities and held that if the employment of stone breaking or stone crushing was in a quarry, then it was within the jurisdiction of the Central Government; but if the employment of stone breaking or stone crushing was not in a quarry, then the State Government would have jurisdiction in the matter of fixation of minimum wages.

26. The distinction pointed out by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the aforesaid case has to be borne in mind and in cases where persons are employed in scheduled employments, enumerated in Part I of the Schedule annexed to the Minimum Wages Act, in mines or in connection with mineral development, then the minimum wages have to be fixed by the Central Government and the State Government could not take any step for fixation of minimum wages in respect of labour engaged in such scheduled employments in mines or in relation to mineral development.

27. We may also refer to the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Mangalore Ganesh Beedi Works etc. v. Union of India etc. AIR 1974 SC 1832, wherein the question was raised relating to the validity of Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966. Their Lordships held that the law related to welfare of labour and was not an Act in respect of industries. Considering the pith and substance of the Act, their Lordships held that the enactment sought to regulate the conditions of employment in the beedi and cigar industries and was covered by entries 22 to 24 of List III. Their Lordships observed that the enactment was essentially a labour welfare measure concerned with social security, employment and welfare of labour, including conditions of work, provident fund, employer's liability, workmen's compensation, invalidity and old age pensions and maternity benefits.

28. As already observed above, the Minimum Wages Act was enacted in the year 1948 to give effect to the recommendations adopted by the International Labour Conference in the year 1928. The fixation of minimum rates of wages is clearly directed against exploitation of the ignorant, less organised and less privileged members of the society by the capitalist class. The anxiety on the part of the society to improve the general economic conditions of some of its less favoured members has resulted in supersession of the old principles of absolute freedom of contract and has given recognition to the new concepts of social welfare and common good. Now the Directive Principles of State Policy not only enjoin upon the State to strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing economic justice, but it also expressly directs the State to endeavour to secure to all workmen, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, not only work also a living wage and conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure. These Directive Principles of State Policy have been enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution and lay down the foundation for appropriate social structure wherein the labour will find its place of dignity and economic prosperity. The provisions of the Amending Act are of general application and are not confined to fixation of minimum wages relating to employment in mines or quarries alone. The pith and substance of the Amer ding Act is regulation of the conditions of employment or welfare of labour employed in scheduled industries and it is not confined to employment in mines and quarries alone. Thus, in our view the Amending Act is covered by entry 24 of the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule, as it purports to remove the defects or irregularity in the constitution of the advisory boards, constituted for fixation of minimum wages in the scheduled industries. Of course, the provisions of the Amending Act could not affect the fixation of minimum wages in respect of employment in mines or quarries, because of an enactment in respect of welfare of labour employed in mines fell outside the jurisdiction of the State legislature, and Parliament alone enjoyed the exclusive power to enact laws in respect of regulating mines and mineral development and enacting laws in respect of welfare of labour employed in mines and oil fields.

29. Although the learned Single Judge has rightly held that the State legislature has no power to enact any law in respect of welfare of labour employed in mines and the Parliament alone had the exclusive jurisdiction to make laws in respect of conditions of employment of labour employed in mines, yet with great respect to the learned Judge, we are unable to agree with him that all the provisions of the Amending Act of 1960 are ultra vires of the powers of the State Legislature, in as much as the Amending Act is of general nature amending the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 in respect of the scheduled industries enumerated in the Schedule annexed to the Principal Act, and has introduced an explanation in Section 9 and inserted a new Section 9A, with a view to remove the defects or irregularity in the constitution of the advisory boards on account of the non-inclusion of independent members. However, as observed above, although the aforesaid provisions of the Amending Act may be valid, that would not affect the invalid constitution of the advisory boards for fixation of minimum wages for workmen employed in Mica mines in the State. We may also observe that the Amending Act was not only passed by the State legislature, but was also reserved for the assent of the President and the President of India accorded his assent to the Amending Act on April 3, 1969. There can be no doubt that the State legislature is competent to amend a law made by the Parliament like the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 after the State law has been reserved for the assent of the President and has received his assent. Thus, the Amending Act is clearly a legislation with respect to matters enumerated in entry No. 24 of List II of the Seventh Schedule, namely, the Concurrent List and both the Parliament as well as the State legislature have power to make laws in respect of matters relating to welfare of labour, including fixation of wages and conditions of work. It cannot be disputed that a State Legislature has power to enact a new law providing for fixation of rates of minimum wages in specified employments. If the State Legislature could make an independent enactment dealing with fixation of minimum wages, it could also amend the provisions of a law made by the Parliament in respect of such matters, subject to the condition that the State law is reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent.

30. We may also refer to the provisions of Article 254 of the Constitution in this connection which are as under:

254. Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the Legislatures of States--If any provision of law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, then, subject to the provisions of Clause (2), the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State:

Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legilature of State.

31. Article 254(2) clearly envisages that State Legislature can make law with regard to a matter failing within the Concurrent List, then the earlier law made by the Parliament with respect to the some subject-matter is not invalidated or amended, but both laws shall co-exist and even if inconsistent, the law made by the State Legislature shall prevail in that State, if the State law has been reserved for the consideration and has received the assent of the President. Thus, the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the provisions of the Rajasthan Amendment Act of 1969 can co-exist together subject to the condition to the extent of inconsistency the State law would prevail within the territories of the State of Rajasthan. Thus, the provisions of the Amending Act of 1969 are valid and shall be effective in order to remove the defects or irregularity in the composition of Advisory Boards for fixation of minimum wages in certain scheduled employments, so far as the State of Rajasthan is concerned.

32. Now, coming to the question about the validity of Section 31A, it may be observed that section, introduced in the principal Act by the Amending Act of 1969, purports to validate the minimum rates of wages prescribed by the notification issued by the State Government, not with standing any judicial pronouncement to the contrary or any defector irregularity in the composition of the advisory board or committee or subcommittee Under Sections 5 and 7 of the Minimum Wages Act. Thus, Section 31A purports to nullify the effect of the decision of this Court in Hari Ram's case 1968 RLW 177 and to validate the rates of minimum wages prescribed by the notification from an earlier date. It may be pointed out that the minimum wages prescribed by the State Government by notification dated July 31, 1965 were prescribed on the advice of an illegally constituted advisory board and were vitiated on the ground and struck down by this Court in Hari Rain's case 1968 RLW 177. It is well settled law that the power of validation is included in the power of legislation. It follows from the aforesaid principles that an invalid act done under an enactment can be validated by a subsequent legislation by the authority which enacted that law, in the exercise of legislative power conferred by the entries enumerated in the lists. But the fixation of minimum wages under the notification dated July 31, 1965 was an act done by the State Government under the principal Act, which is a legislation made by the Parliament and as such the invalidity in respect thereof could be removed by the Parliament alone. More over, in the case of labour working in the Mica mines or stone and marble quarries or other mines the Amending Act made by the State Legislature can have no effect as the regulation of labour in mines falls under entry 55 of List I of the Seventh Schedule. Thus, the notification dated July 31, 1965 could not be validated even after the Amending Act was passed by the State Legislature, so far as it related to fixation of minimum rates of wages for labour employed in Mica mines or other mines or quarries in the State of Rajasthan.

33. As a result of the aforesaid discussion both the appeals are partly allowed and the order passed by the learned Single Judge declaring the Minimum Wages (Rajasthan Amendment and Validation) Act, 1969 as ultra vires of the powers of the State Legislature is set aside. It is also held that the aforesaid'Act, so far as it purports to amend the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, is valid subject to the condition that the provisions of the Rajasthan Amendment Act of 1969 would not affect or be applicable to the determination of minimum wages or other conditions of employment in respect of labour employed in mines and quarries are concerned. It is further declared that Section 31-A of the Minimum Wages (Rajasthan Amendment and Validation) Act, 1969 is invalid and void and the attempt made by it to validate the rates of minimum wages fixed in the notification dated July 31, 1965 is totally ineffective.


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