Decided on April 25,1962

RATHI B.D. Respondents


Chitale, J. - (1.)These are applications against the decision by the authority under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, at Bombay (hereinafter referred to as the authority), on applications submitted by several employees of the Central Railway. The employees applied to the authority alleging that they worked for 51 hours a week, although according to the provisions and rules framed under the said act they were required to work only for 48 hours during a week; thus they have worked overtime for 3 hours per week, and hence they were entitled to extra wages payable as per rules framed under the said Act for the overtime work done by them during the period beginning with 1 April, 1952, upto the date of the applications. It is common ground that the employees are monthly rated employees, and that they are workers in a scheduled employment.
(2.)These applications were opposed by the Central Railway on the ground that the authority had no jurisdiction to entertain claims prior to 1957, and that the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, was not applicable to the employees-applicants, as these employees are entitled to remuneration as per Prescribed Scale of Pay and Hours of Employment Regulations of Central Railway, from the moment they are brought on monthly rates of pay. It was not disputed before the authority, nor before us, that the employees concerned are railway servants whose employment is "continuous", and their case fall under rule 5 of "Railway Servant (Hours of Employment) Rules, 1951." The point that was urged before the authority was that the rules framed under S. 71E of the Indian Railways Act provide for the remuneration, i.e., wages payable to employees, including wages for overtime work, the employees concerned are governed by these rules, and hence the provisions of Minimum Wages Act, 1948, and rules framed thereunder do not apply to the cases of these employees. The authority overruled this contention. It was also urged before the authority that in view of rule 32 of the Minimum Wages (Central) Rules, 1950, the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act did not apply. This contention also was overruled. In view of these conclusions, the authority held that the employees-applicants were entitled to the benefits conferred on them by the Minimum Wages Act, and were entitled to claim wages for overtime work as provided by the said Act, and rules framed thereunder. It is against this decision that these special civil applications are preferred to this Court under Art. 227 of Constitution.
(3.)Mr. Parikh, who appears for the Central Railway, contends that the authority was wrong in holding that the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), applied to the cases of the employees concerned. The contention advanced by Mr. Parikh before us is slightly different from the contention advanced before the authority. This contention does not seemed to have been advanced before the authority in the particular form in which it is advanced before us. We have, however allowed him to raise that contention inasmuch as the facts on which it is based are not disputed, and we are told that the same point arises in many cases before the authority; moreover Mr. Namjoshi, who appears for the employees, also stated that it would be desirable that this Court decides the point that is urged by Mr. Parikh. Mr. Parikh contends that the object of the said Act is to provide for the minimum rates of wages in the case of scheduled employees, and the Act ensures that in the case of the employees, to whom the Act applies, every employer shall pay at least the minimum wage prescribed by the said Act and rules thereunder. Mr. Parikh contends that while considering the question of overtime wages payable to such employees, the total amount of wages paid by the employer to an employee will have to be considered in ordered to find out whether the minimum wage, as provided by the said Act and the rules thereunder, is paid to that employee or not. In other words, Mr. Parikh contends that the railway pays to the employees concerned more than what they would be entitled to according to the provisions of the said Act, and the rules thereunder, including the overtime wages, and hence the employees in these cases are not entitled to any relief.

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