R.S. Bindra, J.C.
(1.) In this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution filed by Mahendra Chandra Deb, the validity and the legality of the notification dated 18 -9 -1967, issued by the Administrator, Union Territory of Tripura, under Sec. 3 (1) read with Sec. 5 (2) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, hereinafter called the Act, is challenged.
(2.) By a notification dated 29th of April, 1967, the Administrator constituted a Committee consisting of eight members with Shri Monoranjan Choudhury, a senior practising Advocate of Agartala, as Chairman "to enquire into the conditions prevailing in employment in Public Motor Transport in Tripura and to advise the Administrator in respect of fixation of minimum rates of wages in the said employment." Three of the members of the committee were representatives of the employers, and another three represented the employees, while two including the Chairman were independent members. The committee submitted its report on 8 -9 -1967, and after considering that report the Administrator issued notification dated 16th of September, 1967, by which he fixed the minimum rates of wages of different classes of employees in respect of employment in Public Motor Transport in Tripura. The rates were specified in a schedule annexed to the notification. He directed further that the minimum rates of wages "shall be deemed to have come into force on the first day of January, 1967." Since the decision on the questions debated in this Court will turn on what is primarily mentioned in the schedule, I consider it necessary to reproduce the same in this judgment. It is in the following terms:
(II) The number of hours of work for a normal working day for the aforesaid classes of employees shall be 9 hours.
(III) Weekly day of rest, overtime etc will be as laid down in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the Tripura Minimum Wages Rules, 1952 made thereunder.
(i) The terms "Heavy Vehicles", "Medium Vehicles" and "Light Vehicles" shall have the same meaning in which these terms are used in the relevant Ss. in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.
(ii) "Trip Allowance per diem" means the allowance payable to the employees for the day or days during which the vehicles will remain out of the owner's garage on duty at a stretch.
Provided that if a vehicle remains idle and does not ply for more than two months at a stretch, then the employees will get no 'Trip Allowance' for the period in excess of two months, during which period the employees shall get the minimum 'Trip Allowance' mentioned above.
(3.) Broadly stated, the challenge to the legality of the notification was made in the writ petition on the following grounds:
(1) That the notification could not be legally given a retrospective effect;
(2) That the Trip Allowance granted to certain employees is not covered by the definition of "wages" and as such the Administrator had no legal sanction to make it as a component of minimum wages; and
(3) That the number of hours of work fixed for the employees at 9 offends the provisions of Sec. 13 of the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961, hereinafter referred to as the Act of 1961. which came into force in the Territory of Tripura on 15 -2 -1962. and as such that fixation is ultra vires the Administrator.