1. This appeal is filed by T.I. Cycles of India, Ambattur, against the judgment of Natarajan, J., dismissing their appeal against the judgment of the City Civil Court, Madras, dismissing their application for a declaration that the part-time doctors engaged by them for attending their dispensary were not employees as defined in Section 2 (9) of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948.
2. The facts lie in a very brief compass and are not in dispute. Attached to the T.I. Cycles of India at Ambattur, there is an ambulance room in which two part-time doctors are engaged who work for two hours a day each. The question that crose for consideration before the First Additional Judge, City Civil Court, Madras, the learned Judge who heard the C.M.A. (Sic) (writ petition) and before us is whether the doctors are employees as defined in Section 2 (9) of the Act. Section 2 (9) of the Act defines an employee as follows:
'Employee' means any person employed for wages in or in connection with the work of a factory or establishment to which this Act applies and (i) who is directly employed by the prinicipal employer on any work of or incidental or preliminary to or connected with the work of the factory or establishment, whether such work is done by the employee in the factory or establishment or elsewhere;
Clauses (ii) and (iii) have no application to the present case and need not be taken into account for our discussion.
3. The question therefore is whether a part-time doctor is a person employed for wages in connection with the work of the factory or establishment and whether he is directly employed for any work of or incidental or preliminary to or connected with the work of the factory or establishment. Section 45 of the Factories Act requires that certain precautions should be taken in case of injury to workers in the factory. Section 45 (3) is important, and it runs as follows:
In every factory wherein more than five hundred workers are employed, there shall be provided and maintained an ambulance room of the prescribed size containing the prescribed equipment and in the charge of such medical and nursing staff as may be prescribed.
This Section therefore makes it obligatory on the part of the factory which engages more than five hundred workers, as in this case, to provide and maintain an ambulance room with the necessary equipment and in the charge of medical and nursing staff. Rule 64 (1) of the Madras Factories Rules, 1950, prescribes that the ambulance room shall be separately situated from the factory premises and that it shall be kept open when any work is being carried on in the factory and shall be used only for the purposes of first aid treatment and rest. Rule 64 (3) requires that the ambulance room shall be in charge of a qualified medical practitioner assisted by at least one qualified nurse. The explanation to the rule states that the expression 'qualified medical practitioner' means a person holding a qualification granted by an authority specified in the schedule to the Indian Medical Degrees Act, 1916. Thus, it is seen that it is a prerequisite for running an industray to have an ambulance room which is in charge of a qualified doctor. On this ground alone it is possible to come to the conclusion that the part-time doctor is employed in work incidental to or connected with the work of the factory or establishment.
4. The question was considered by a Bench of this Court in Employees' State Insurance Corporation v. Ganapatia Pillai I.L.R. : (1961)ILLJ593Mad . The Court held that in construing the words 'incidental or preliminary to' they would have to be read in conjunction with the words 'with the work of the factory' and that persons employed as secretary, clerk or typist in the Managing Agent's office of a mill, purely attending to administrative work would not come within the definition of 'employee' in the Act. But, the Court observed that, where such a person was in charge of disbursing payment of wages to the workers in the mill or maintaining the accounts of the mill, he would come within the definition of the word 'employee'.
5. This decision was referred' to in Thiyagarajan Chettiar v. Employees State Insurance Corporation : (1963)IILLJ207Mad . There the question arose whether gardeners, office attenders and watchmen would be employees within the meaning of the Act. The Court was inclined to take a broader view than the one taken in State Insurance Corporation v. Ganapatia Pillai I.L.R. : (1961)ILLJ593Mad . The Bench came to the conclusion that, even adopting the principle laid down in the earlier decision, for the proper functioning of the factory, there should be persons who maintained buildings and that that would be applicable to watchmen, office boys and gardeners. The Bench observed that the factory maintained a garden evidently for the purpose of keeping the factory in healthy surroundings and that there could be little doubt that the maintenance of the garden would be conducive to the health of its manual workers and would also enhance their efficiency and health. It is not necessary for us to go to this extent for the purpose of the present case, as in this case there can be no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the doctor who is required to be in charge of the ambulance room under the Factories Act is engaged in a work incidental or preliminary to or connected with the work of the factory or establishment.
6. In a recent decision of this Court in Employees' State Insurance Corporation v. Sakthi Textiles (P) Ltd. : (1975)1MLJ127 , the basis for the determination of 'employee' as defined in Section 2 (9) of the Act has been reiterated.
7. We have no hesitation in agreeing with the findings of the learned Judge and the Court below and holding that the part-time doctors are employees of the factory. The appeal is dismissed with costs.