MANAGING DIRECTOR, M/S. S.M.R. TRANSPORTS (P.) LTD., RASIPURAM Vs. A.M. SUBRAMANIAM AND ANOTHER
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Managing Director, M/S. S.M.R. Transports (P.) Ltd., Rasipuram
A.M. Subramaniam And Another
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Ramaprasada Rao, J. -
(1.) The Managing Director, Messrs. S. M. R. Transports (Pvt.) Ltd., Rasipuram is the petitioner. It appears that seven workers of the petitioner's management filed an application in the Labour Court under Section 33-C (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act claiming various sums of money by way of bonus, uniform allowance and washing allowance for the year 1967-68. It is not in dispute that the first respondent who is made the contesting respondent in this writ petition was a conductor who also made a similar claim before the Labour Court. Regarding bonus, the plea of the management is one of discharge. As regards uniform and washing allowance, the contention was that the Labour Court cannot maintain the said application under S. 33-C (2) of the Act. The Labour Court, however, did not agree with the contentions and passed an award directing the writ petitioner to pay the bonus as prayed for as also the uniform and the washing allowance. It is against this award, the present writ petition has been filed.
(2.) Once again, the very same points are pressed before me. As regards the first question whether the bonus was paid to the workers or not and whether the plea of discharge is true, the lower Court found as a fact that the receipts Exs. M-2 to M-7 filed by the management in support of such payment were not genuine. For this purpose, it examined both the workers and the management and its conclusion is that the first witness for the management bungled, and therefore in order to cover up the faults committed by the witness, the management examined a second witness who attempted to explain away the receipts, and this was also not acceptable and satisfactory to the courts below. In any event, this is purely a question of fact and it needs no interference.
(3.) As regards the competency of the lower court to consider the claim for washing allowance, reference is made to the Motor Transport Workers Act (Madras Act 27 of 1961) and the rules framed thereunder. This is an Act to provide for the welfare of motor transport workers and to regulate the conditions of their work. Prima facie, it appears to be a beneficial legislation whose primordial intendment is to further the welfare of the workers. Beyond this, there is nothing which prohibits a competent authority under the Industrial Disputes Act to consider and quantify any claim in relation to the welfare of any motor transport worker which comes up before it for adjudication. In the instant case, the dispute raised by the first respondent was that the allowance for washing provided by the management was not given in accordance with Rule 23(2) of the Madras Motor Transport Workers' Rules, 1965. The learned counsel for the petitioner relies on this rule and says that a claim arising under this rule not having been made specifically under the said Act or the rules to be a claim which is susceptible of adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Labour Court was not competent to entertain or decide upon it. The court below took the view that it was competent to compute the amount due to the first respondent by way of washing allowance.;
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