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The Management of Natesan Transport (P.) Ltd. Vs. the Presiding Officer, Labour Court and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ532
AppellantThe Management of Natesan Transport (P.) Ltd.
RespondentThe Presiding Officer, Labour Court and anr.
Cases ReferredGajendra v. Gandiban Bus Service
Excerpt:
- - clearly the matter in this case does not fall within the first proviso because the extra hours were not done with the approval of the prescribed authority. 8. thus, the rate of wages payable for overtime is the same as under section 26 of the motor transport workers act, 1961, as well as under the minimum wages act......therefore, was what was the overtime wages to which he was entitled. under section 13 of the motor transport workers act, 1961, no adult motor transport worker shall be required or allowed to work for more than eight hours in any day and 48 hours in any week. the first proviso to this section reads as follows:provided that where any such motor transport worker is engaged in the running of any motor transport service on such long distance routes, or on such festive and other occasions as may be notified in the prescribed manner by the prescribed authority, the employer may, with the approval of such authority, require or allow such motor transport worker to work for more than eight hours in any day or 48 hours in any week but in no case for more than ten hours in a day and.....
Judgment:
ORDER

A. Alagiriswami, J.

1. The second respondent was employed as a driver in the petitioner's motor transport service from 1st November, 1962 to 30th January, 1965, when he was dismissed from service. Thereafter the petitioner filed a suit against him in the Court of the District Munsif of Ariyalur in O.S. No. 268 of 1965 and obtained a decree for Rs. 1,024.44. The 2nd respondent filed a claim petition before the Labour Court, Madurai, under Section 35 (c) (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act for a sum of Rs. 5,448.65 under the following heads:

1. Three months pay for dismissal from service without notice ;

2. Arrears of wages;

3. Difference in wages between the wages payable under the Minimum Wages Act and what was payable to him;

4. Bonus;

5. Medical leave wages ;

6. Wages for weekly holidays ;

7. Overtime wages for plying Neiveli to Kumbakonam for 14 months having worked for 151/2 hours per day ; and

8. Another sum as overtime wages for 151/9 months during which he alleged he worked for 161/2 hours per day.

The Labour Court held that he was entitled to claim under three heads:

1. Pay for the month of January, 1965 a sum of Rs. 55 ;

2. Bonus of Rs. 80, and

3. Overtime wages of Rs. 1,485.

2. As far as the first two claims are concerned the petitioner is entitled to succeed because both these items had been entered in the petitioner's accounts and the second respondent had been given credit therefor and it is for the balance that the petitioner filed the suit already referred to. The award of the Labour Court ignoring this fact is liable to be quashed as far as this part is concerned.

3. As far as the overtime wages are concerned the evidence of the 2nd respondent was to the effect that he was entitled to arrears of wages from 1st November, 1962 till 26th January, 1965, for having worked in excess of 8 hours a day, the running time for Neiveli being 12 hours a day and from 5 A.m. to 10 p.m. for other routes. This evidence was too vague on which any claim for overtime wages could be based. But as far as the period of 13 months during which the second respondent worked on the Kumbakonam--Neiveli route is concerned, there was the evidence of M.W. 2, Narasimhachari. His evidence shows that the second respondent must have worked for 11 hours, 32 minutes for three days in a week. There is no evidence with regard to the time during which the second respondent worked for the other 13th months.

4. The question, therefore, was what was the overtime wages to which he was entitled. Under Section 13 of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961, no adult motor transport worker shall be required or allowed to work for more than eight hours in any day and 48 hours in any week. The first proviso to this section reads as follows:

Provided that where any such motor transport worker is engaged in the running of any motor transport service on such long distance routes, or on such festive and other occasions as may be notified in the prescribed manner by the prescribed authority, the employer may, with the approval of such authority, require or allow such motor transport worker to work for more than eight hours in any day or 48 hours in any week but in no case for more than ten hours in a day and fifty-four hours in a week, as the case may be.

5. The second proviso is not relevant. Clearly the matter in this case does not fall within the first proviso because the extra hours were not done with the approval of the prescribed authority. Even in such a case, the work cannot be for more than 10 hours a day or 54 hours a week. Of course, in this case the total number of hours worked is 34 hours, 36 minutes. But the other condition regarding any person not being required to work beyond the period of 10 hours a day has been contravened. Section 26 of the Act which deals with overtime wages is as follows:

26. Extra wages for overtime : (1) Where an adult motor transport worker works for more than 8 hours in any day in any case referred to in the first proviso to Section 13 or where he is required to work on any day of rest under Sub-section 27 of Section 19, he shall be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages in respect of the overtime work or the work done on the day of rest, as the case may be.

(2) Where an adult motor transport worker works for more than 8 hours in any day in any case referred to in the second proviso to Section 13, he shall be entitled to wages in respect of the overtime work at such rates as may be prescribed.

(3) Where an adolescent motor transport worker is required to work on any V day of rest under Sub-section (2) of Section 19, he shall be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages in respect of the work done on the day of rest.

(4) For the purposes of this section,' ordinary rate of wages' in relation to a motor transport worker means his basic wages plus dearness allowance.

6. As this case does not fall under the first proviso to Section 13, or under Sub-section 2 of Section 19, Section 26 cannot apply.

7. But that does not mean that the second respondent would be without a remedy even in respect of periods he might have been made to work contrary to the provisions of Section 13. Public motor transport was brought within the ambit of the Minimum Wages Act in 1952. The Minimum Wages for workers in Public motor transport has been fixed under the provisions of that Act. Under Rule 24 of the Minimum Wages (Madras) Rules, 1953, the number of hours which shall constitute a normal working day shall be:

(a) in the case of an adult, 9 hours,

(b) in the case of a child 41/2 hours,

Rule 26 (1) is as follows:

When a worker works in an employment for more than 9 hours on any day or for more than 48 hours in any week, he shall, in respect of overtime work, be entitled to wages--(a) in the case of employment in agriculture including plantations, at one and a half times the ordinary rate of wages; provided that in the case of plantations situated in the Kanyakumari District, the Shencottah taluk of the Tirunelveli District, the worker shall be entitled to wages at double the ordinary rates of wages.

8. Thus, the rate of wages payable for overtime is the same as under Section 26 of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961, as well as under the Minimum Wages Act. But while under the Motor Transport Workers Act the maximum number of hours for which an employee may be asked to work without a liability on the part of the employer to pay overtime wages is 8 hours, under the Minimum Wages, (Madras) Rules, 1953, it is nine hours. To the extent therefore, that the former Act has now laid down that overtime wages is payable for hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day that provision will govern and overtime wages will have to be paid for hours of work in excess of 8 hours a day. As Section 26 of the Motor Transports Workers Act. 1961, makes no provision for cases of overtime worked beyond ten hours a day or in circumstances not covered by the first proviso to Section 13, the matter will have to be governed by the Minimum Wages Act and the rules framed thereunder and the second respondent would be entitled to claim overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day. But this can be done only by a proper application made therefor under Section 20 of the Act within a period of six months, from the day on which the minimum wages became payable. This view of mine also finds support from a decision in Gurusharansingh v. Rewa Transport Service A.I.R. 1966 M.P. 10.

9. The wages payable to transport workers are still the wages fixed under the Minimum Wages Act. The application under Section 20 of the Minimum Wages Act will have to be filed within six months of the date when the claim arose. The Labour Court has not applied its mind to this aspect of the matter. What is more if the application is filed beyond the period of six months, the party has to satisfy the Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the proceeding within the prescribed time and for the whole of the period of the delay, every day's delay has to be explained, as held by this Court in Gajendra v. Gandiban Bus Service : (1969)2MLJ392 . The petition will, therefore, have to be allowed and it is accordingly allowed, with the result that the award passed by the Labour Court will stand quashed. Whether the 2nd respondent can take any further proceedings with regard to the matter or whether he can apply to have the delay excused and the whole matter considered de novo, it is not necessary for me to say. I must thank Mr. Harikrishnan for the considerable pains which he had taken in the matter in helping the Court with all the authorities on the subject. There will be no order as to costs.


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