WEST COAST EMPLOYERS FEDERATION WILLINGDON Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
WEST COAST EMPLOYERS FEDERATION, WILLINGDON
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) The petitioners in O.P. No. 792 of 1965 are the appellants in this writ appeal. They challenged, without success, the validity of Ext. P1, a notification issued by the 1st respondent the State of Kerala under S.3 (1)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, read with S.5 (2) of the said enactment and published in the Kerala Gazette dated the 16th March, 1965.
(2.) Ext. P1 divided the State into three separate areas:
(1) Quilon and Feroke area, consisting of Quilon, Trivandrum, Kozhikode and Cannanore Districts,
(2) Alwaye area consisting of Ernakulam, Alleppey and Kottayam Districts, and
(3) Trichur area, consisting of Trichur and Palghat Districts and fixed the minimum wages for each of those areas. The earlier notification the notification that Ext. P1 superseded was dated the 12th May 1958.
(3.) The minimum wages fixed for the Trichur area are lower than those fixed for the other two areas; and the contention of the appellants is that such a fixation is not warranted by the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The contention is not that the minimum wages fixed for the areas with which they are concerned are too high. The contention is that the lower rate fixed for the Trichur area loads the scales very much against them as the tile industry is essentially dependent on man power and sells its products in an identical and competitive market. The judgment under appeal sums up their submissions as follows:
"Counsel for the petitioners submitted that there is nothing to show that the needs of the workers in the industry in the Trichur area are less than the needs of the workers in other areas or that the workload in the Trichur area is less than in the other areas, that in similar notifications the Madras and Mysore States did not make any regional classification for the purpose of fixing minimum wages, and that the Kerala Government have not fixed different minimum wages for different areas in the State in respect of other industries, that all the owners of tile factories in Feroke, Quilon and Trichur areas depend practically on the same market for the purpose of the sale of tiles, that 65 per cent of the total tiles are manufactured in the Trichur area and the quality of the tiles manufactured in the Trichur area is as good as those produced elsewhere in the State.";
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