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M/S U.P.Us.S.Lt.D. v. P.O. & Others - WRIT - C No. 3024 of 1986  RD-AH 6046 (20 March 2006)
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO.3024 OF 1986
M/s. U.P. Upbhokta Sahakari Sangh Limited,
The Prescribed Authority appointed under the
Payment of Wages Act, 1936/Conciliation Officer,
Kanpur Region, Kanpur and another. ...Respondents
Hon'ble Bharati Sapru, J.
This petition was filed in the year 1986 and is being finally heard now, after twenty years.
I have heard learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned Standing Counsel. The facts of the case are that the respondent workmen raised a claim under Section 15(2) and (3) of the Payment of Wages Act stating that the employer had not applied to the notification dated 12.1.83 passed by the State Government under the Minimum Wages Act, by which the applicants at Sr. No. 1 to 6 were entitled to get wages @315/- and workmen at Sr. No.7 to 10 were entitled to get wages
@208 p.m . along with Dearness Allowance as fixed by the State Government.
The total amount claimed to be paid to the workmen for the month of January, 1983 to June, 1983 and July, 1983 to December, 1983 was a total of Rs.10430.52 p.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the order dated 2.3.84(Annexure-6 to the writ petition) was passed ex-parte against the petitioner and without giving due notice or opportunity of being heard and is, therefore, wholly illegal and without jurisdiction and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
Learned counsel for the petitioner has also argued that his application for recall was also wrongly rejected by order dated 15.6.84 and, thereafter, his application for review was also wrongly rejected on 14.8.85 denying him an opportunity of hearing at every stage.
The second argument raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that it is abundantly clear from the plain reading as well as the evidence given by the workmen that in fact, the workmen had been paid their salaries and no deduction has been made from their salaries. There was also no complaint that there was any delay in the payment of their salaries. It was, therefore, not a case of delay or deduction as described under Section 15(2) and (3) of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, but rather a case of seeking of their entitlement. It is the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that it is not within the domain of the provisions of Section 15(2) (3) of the Payment of Wages Act to decide the question of entitlement and the jurisdiction of the authority under the Payment of Wages Act under Section 15(2) and (3) of the Act is summary in nature and is confined to cases of delay and deduction.
In support of the contentions as raised by him, learned counsel for the petitioner has relied on a decision of this Hon'ble Court reported in 1974 ALJ 831 as reported in the case of R.R. Engineering Company Vs. Competent Authority and another wherein the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court held that :-
"the Prescribed Authority was bound to examine whether there had or had not been proper and due service on the employer and, in this regard to give an opportunity to the employer to establish its assertion by producing evidence."
On the second point, learned counsel for the petitioner has relied on a decision of the Allahabad High Court reported in 1996 ALJ 1893 in the case of Brij Kishore Tewari Vs. J.B. Iron and Steel Industries and others wherein this Hon'ble Court has held that :-
"the non-payment of minimum wages is a question of entitlement and not a deduction which can be required under the provisions of Section 15(2) and (3) of the Payment of Wages Act."
Having perused the pleadings and other materials on record and having heard learned counsel for the petitioner, I am of the opinion that both the submissions made by learned counsel for the petitioner are well founded and are liable to be accepted by this Court. In the present case, the entire proceedings were held ex-parte against the petitioner and no order was passed on merits against the petitioner. It is also clear that the applicant workmen had not made any applications on the ground of delay or deduction but rather seeking fresh claims as per notification issued under the Minimum Wages Act.
By interim order of this Court, the petitioner had been directed to deposit a sum of Rs.10,430.52 with the Prescribed Authority. The amount has been deposited by the petitioner and the petitioner had duly complied with the order dated 16.7.86.
The amount has also remained deposited for the last 20 years. The penalty and recovery which are sought to be made against the petitioner had remained stayed for all these years.
Learned counsel for the petitioner is unable to answer whether the notification under the Minimum Wages Act was complied with subsequently by the employer or not.
He further states that most of the workmen had retired and gone away.
Learned Standing Counsel appearing for the State has argued that the Minimum Wages notification should have been applied to the workmen.
However, the parties have agreed that this matter can be settled amicably between the parties now by giving to the respondent workmen or their heirs the amount as deposited by the employer with the Prescribed Authority in the year 1986. The amount, which was deposited in the year 1986 shall be disbursed to the respondent workmen or their heirs after properly identifying the persons to whom the payment is to be made. In case no claimants turns-up amongst the respondents No.3 to 12, then the amount shall be returned to the employer. The process of making the payment shall be completed within a period one year.
The penalty which was imposed on the employer by the order dated 24.9.85 is set aside and shall not be imposed on the petitioner any more.
With these directions, the writ petition is finally disposed of. There will be no order as to costs.
Dated : 20.3.06
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