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M. Pitchai and anr Vs. Cholan Roadways Corporation and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. Nos. 3780 and 4281 of 1979
Judge
Reported in(1981)IILLJ116Mad
ActsIndustrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act - Sections 2 and 2(1)
AppellantM. Pitchai and anr
RespondentCholan Roadways Corporation and anr.
Excerpt:
- - as a matter of fact the petitioner himself knew fully well about the factual position that his service conditions were governed by the service rules of cholan roadways corporation limited as these rules are applicable to all non-workmen employees. 2(i) such being the position person like the petitioners who are foremen exercising supervisory functions will not fall within the definition of 'worker' contained in certified standing orders......would be the age of superannuation since the definition of worker contained in the certified standing orders would not embrace foremen. in the counter affidavit of the corporation the duties concerning foremen in paragraph - 2 it is stated in w.p. no. 3780 of 1979 as follows : 'the petitioner while he was in the service of the respondent was a foremen in the workshop of the i respondent at unit i in tiruchirapalli. he was drawing a basic salary of rs. 515 and allowances. the nature of duties was entirely supervisory and he had several workmen under him and under his immediate controlled. his duties were to supervise the work done by them. as a matter of fact the petitioner himself knew fully well about the factual position that his service conditions were governed by the service.....
Judgment:

1. The Short point that arises for consideration in these write petitions for certiorari is what exactly is the construction to be placed on Standing Orders of Cholan Roads Corporation Limited concerning the definition of 'workers'. Under Clause-2, sub-clause (a) 'worker' is defined as, any person employed by the management either directly or through any agency in connection with the company's business. In these two writs petitions the petitioners are foremen who are sought to be retired at the age of 55 which according to the Corporation would be the age of superannuation since the definition of worker contained in the certified standing orders would not embrace foremen. In the Counter Affidavit of the Corporation the duties concerning foremen in paragraph - 2 it is stated in W.P. No. 3780 of 1979 as follows :

'The petitioner while he was in the service of the respondent was a foremen in the workshop of the I respondent at Unit I in Tiruchirapalli. He was drawing a basic salary of Rs. 515 and allowances. The nature of duties was entirely supervisory and he had several workmen under him and under his immediate controlled. His duties were to supervise the work done by them. As a matter of fact the petitioner himself knew fully well about the factual position that his service conditions were governed by the Service Rules of Cholan Roadways Corporation limited as these Rules are applicable to all non-workmen employees. As the nature of the work carried on by the petitioner was purely supervisory and as his basic salary was Rs. 515 and allowances, the question of application of the Standing Orders cannot and does not arise. The Standing Orders would be applicable only to the category of 'workmen' to which the petitioner did not belong'.

It is in the light if this the only controversy that is raised before me as to the scope of the interpretation of the definition has to be decided.

2. Mr. A. L. Somayaji, learned counsel for petitioners would urge that it is open to the parties to enlarge the definition in S. 2(1) so as to take in persons who are exercising supervisory function and, therefore, when the intention of the parties was to adopt an enlarged definition than the Statutory definition contained in S. 2(i) of the Industrial Employment Standing Orders. It is open to the respondent Corporation to request the Court to construe it in any other way. I may also in this connection note that Mr. Somayaji, learned counsel for the petitioners, so far as no reply has been filed to the averment in the counter-affidavit in paragraph-2 extracted above would say that he will proceed on the basis that what is stated in the counter affidavit could not be denied. As against this Mr. Sanjay Mohan learned counsel for the respondent-Corporation would state that this is a case in which the Standing Orders are drafted with the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act behind the purpose and unless there are express words so as to include persons exercising supervisory function or in other words unless the parties have in clear terms adopted a wider definition than what is contained in Section 2(i) there is no reason to deviate or depart from the statutory definition contained in S. 2(i) Such being the position person like the petitioners who are foremen exercising supervisory functions will not fall within the definition of 'worker' contained in Certified Standing Orders.

3. On a careful consideration of the above argument I am of the view that the stand of the respondent is unassailable. The Statutory definition of 'Workman' contained in S. 2(i) of the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) Act, is an under :

'Workman' means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any Industrial Establishment to do any skilled or unskilled manual supervisory, technical or clerical work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment be express or implied, but does not include any such person :

(i) ...............

(ii) .................

(iii) .......................

(iv) who, being employed in a supervisory capacity, draws wages exceeding five-hundred rupees per mensem or exercises, either by the nature of the duties attached to the office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature.'

It has to be remembered in this connection that the Standing Orders of the Cholan Roadways Corporation Ltd., cam to be certified or when the parties wanted the Standing Orders to be framed, it was in the background of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act. As a matter of fact the certification it self is done only under the Act. Therefore, unless there are express words to indicate that the intention of the parties was to adopt a different definition than what is contained in the statute it cannot arise by implication. This is the basic principle of construction. In other words, one cannot readily assume that there was any intention on the parties to deviate or depart from the Statutory definition, Of course, It can be done provided there are clear words to that effect, and I find no such words in this case. Consequently, accepting the contention of the respondent the writ petitions are hereby dismissed. Excepting the interpretation relating to the definition of worker in the Certified Standing Orders of Cholan Roadways Corporation Ltd., no other point is argued before me : There will, however, be no order as to costs.


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