1. We are convinced that the petition under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act was quite competent and the labour court had jurisdiction to entertain the claim of the contesting respondent. The claim was for arrears of salary and one month's salary in lieu of notice. The contention on behalf of the management before Ramachandra Ayyar, J., and before us on appeal was that, at the time when the application was made, the respondent was no longer in the service of the employer and therefore according to the definition, he would not be a 'workman,' and not being a workman, he would not be entitled to apply to the labour court. The contention was not accepted by the labour court.
2. In the first place it must be pointed out that there is nothing in Section 33C(2) of the Act, which says that only a 'workman' can apply under that provision. All that it says is that where a workman is entitled to receive from the employer any benefit, the amount of such benefit may be determined by the labour court. The fallacy in the argument on behalf of the appellant is that Section 33C(2) expressly provides that only a 'workman' on the date of the application can make the application. On the other hand, the use of the passive in that provision contemplates that the application may to made by a person, who on the date of the application was not a 'workman' as defined by the Act, but was a workman during the period in respect of which he was entitled to any benefit.
4. Mr. Thirumalai, learned Counsel for the appellant, strongly relied upon the definition of 'workman' in Section 2(s) of the Act, and, In particular, on the words 'any person employed.' He argued that it is not open to the Court to disregard that definition. No doubt, certain persons who had been dismissed, or discharged, or retrenched in connexion with, or as a consequence of adispute or whose dismissal, discharge or retrenchment had led to that dispute, are specially included. Otherwise, a person who has ceased to be employed would not come within the definition. We entirely agree. The result is that Section 33C(2) of the Act would not apply to a case where the benefit claimed relates to a period when the claimant was not a workman, i.e., when the claimant was not employed. The present case is not such an instance. Here the claim relates to a period when the claimant was employed and must be deemed to have been employed. The application was therefore quite competent.
5. The appeal is dismissed.