High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Subhash Chander v. Authority under Minimum Wages Act and ot - CWP-5488-2006  RD-P&H 3426 (25 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
C.W.P. No.5488 of 2006
DATE OF DECISION: 25.5.2006
Authority under Minimum Wages Act and others.
CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE J.S. NARANG.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARVIND KUMAR,
Present:- Mr.S.S. Godara,Advocate
for the petitioner.
Respondents No.2 and 3 claiming to have worked on the agricultural land of the petitioner from 1.5.2004 to 30.11.2004 filed an application under Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (for brevity, the Act) before respondent No.1 i.e.
Authority, Minimum Wages, Act, Circle Sirsa, (hereinafter called as, the Authority) alleging that they were paid less than the minimum wages for the said period. They claimed Rs.2,45,000/- including Rs.24,500/- as difference of minimum wages which they were to get from their employer i.e. the petitioner and remaining amount as compensation. The application was contested by the petitioner on the ground that there was no relationship of employer and employee between the parties. On completion of pleadings, issues were settled. Both the parties led their evidence in support of their respective pleas. Vide order dated 10.3.2006 respondent No.1 directed the petitioner to pay a sum of Rs.24,500/- in equal share to respondents No.2 and 3.
The impugned order of respondent No.1 has been challenged by the petitioner on the score that the claim filed by respondents No.2 and 3 was filed barred as per the provisions of Section 20 (2) of the Act. The petitioner never engaged the services of respondents No.2 and 3, as such, there is no relationship of C.W.P. No.5488 of 2006 2
employer and the employee between the parties.
We have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and have perused the paper book.
The respondents-workmen have been ordered to be paid wages @ Rs.85 per day for the period 7 months so claimed in the petition. The counsel for the petitioner has referred to Haryana Government Notification dated 1.3.2002 (Annexure P-4) and has argued that under Scheduled Employment No.40 "Agriculture", at Sr. No.13, the minimum wages of attached labour (whole time servant) have been fixed Rs.27720/- annually and has developed the argument that it comes to Rs.77/- per day,however, vide impugned order the wages have been granted to the respondents No.2 and 3 at a higher rate of Rs.85/- per day. The argument is not tenable for variety of reasons. Firstly, no such notification has been referred before the Authority where the matter was adjudicated. Secondly, a bare perusal of aforesaid Schedule reveals that the attached labour (whole time servant) is entitled to minimum wages of "Rs.27720/- per annum with meal or 1/4th of produce". No doubt the said Rs.27720/- per annum comes to Rs.77/- per day, but the same are with meal also. There is nothing to suggest that the petitioner had also served meals to the respondents-workmen during the period they had worked under him. Therefore, in these backdrop of facts, the grant of wages @ Rs.85/- per day is not excessive. It has further been argued that under Section 20 (2) of the Act, six months limitation has been provided for submitting the claim and as such in the claim of the wages by the respondents-workmen for the month of May and June 2004 is time barred. In the instant case, nothing has been shown that if any such plea had been taken by the petitioner before the Labour Court. The petitioner has not placed on record the written statement filed before the Authority to substantiate the plea of limitation. A bare perusal of the impugned order and also the statement of Jagdish (Annexure P-2) it reveals that no such suggestion has been put in the cross-examination that their claim is time barred. Therefore, the C.W.P. No.5488 of 2006 3
plea not taken before the Authority cannot be allowed to be taken for the first time before this Court. It is also elicited from the impugned order that the petitioner when appeared as RW.1 has admitted in his cross-examination that they get some work done by agricultural labourers and some work done by themselves, which negatives the plea of the petitioner that there is no relationship of master and servant.
In view of what has been stated above, we find no infirmity or illegality in the findings arrived at by respondent No.1. The petition is wholly without merit and the same is dismissed in limine.
April 27,2006 JUDGE
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