M.M. Ismail, J.
1. Originally this writ petition was filed by 72 persons against a common order of the Labour Court, Madras dismissing their respective petitions filed under under Section 33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Kailasam, J., by an order dated March 27, 1967, held that a single writ petition by the 72 persons was not maintainable and each one of them will have to file a separate petition, since the cause of action and the rights agitated were different. After the order of Kailasam, J., the writ petition was filed by one of the 72 persons, namely, Elumalai, with the result, as far as the other 71 persons are concerned, they are not before this Court and any conclusion or result of this petition will be only with reference to the claim of Elumalai.
2. The claim petition filed by the petitioner here was C.P. No. 189 of 1966 on the file of the Labour Court, Madras. The claim in that petition was for the payment of retrenchment compensation of Rs. 421.00, one month's notice pay of Rs. 93.60 and Rs. 149.75 being the arrears of wages for the National and Festival holidays. One of the contentions put forward by the employer, namely, the first respondent herein was that the petitioner herein was a casual labourer engaged for a particular work, that, as soon as that work was over, his employment automatically came to an end, and that, therefore, there was no retrenchment within the scope of the Industrial Disputes Act. On the pleadings, the Labour Court posed the following two questions for determination:
(1) Whether the petitioners wire casual labourers under the respondent?
(2) Whether the petitioners are entitled to any relief?
3. No oral evidence was let in before the Labour Court. Only Exhibit P-1 and P-2 on behalf of the petitioner and Exhibit R-1 a copy of memorandum of settlement on behalf of the first respondent were filed before the Labour Court. On the basis of these documents the Labour Court cams to the conclusion that the petitioner herein was a casual labourer and not a workman as defined in Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and that, therefore, he was not entitled to claim any relief under that Act. It is to quash this order of the Labour Court, that the present writ petition has been filed.
4. Mr. N.G.R. Prasad, learned Counsel for the petitioner, contends that the definition of the term 'workmen' in Section 2(s) includes even a casual labourer, and, therefore, the conclusion of the Labour Court in this behalf is erroneous. I am of the view that this contention is well founded. Section 2(s) defines 'workman' in widest possible terms including apprentice and Section 25-C, when it used the expression 'workman' (other than a badli workman or a casual worker), clearly shows that casual 'workman' is included in the definition of workman in Section 2(s) of the Act. It is because of this that the order of the Labour Court has to be quashed and the writ petition allowed. The result will be that the Labour Court will have to decide whether the petitioner is entitled to any relief on the basis that he is a 'workman' under Section 2(s) of the Act. Mr. N.G.R. Prasad. learned Counsel for the petitioner, wanted me to direct the Labour Court to permit the petitioner to let in additional evidence. I am of the view that this is not a proper case where additional evidence should be permitted, because the parties themselves had decided not to let in any oral evidence and they relied on only documentary evidence referred to already. In view of this the Labour Court will have to decide the controversy between the parties only on the basis of the evidence already placed before it. I am not deciding anything as to whether the petitioner is entitled to any relief under any of the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act or not. All that I have decided is that the petitioner is a workman within the scope of the definition of the term in Section 2(s) of the Act.
5. The writ petition is allowed and the order of the Labour Court dated September 5, 1906 dismissing C.P. No. 189 of 1966 is quashed. There will be no order as to costs.