TINNEVELLY TUTICORIN ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO LIMITED Vs. THEIR WORKMEN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
TINNEVELLY TUTICORIN ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY LIMITED
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Gajendragadkar, J. -
(1.)The appellant, the Tinnevelli-Tuticorin Electric Supply Co., Ltd., Tuticorin, is an electric supply undertaking, and it carries on its business as a licensee under the State Government of Madras subject to the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910 (Act 9 of 1910) and the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 (Act 54 of 1948). This latter Act will hereinafter be called the Act. The business of the appellant consists of buying electric supply from the State Hydro-electric Projects and of supplying the same to consumers within the areas specified in its licence; this area is in and around Tinnevelli and Tuticorin Municipalities. The appellant's workmen (hereinafter called the respondents) made several demands in respect of their terms of employment. These demands gave rise to an industrial dispute which was referred by the Madras Government to the Industrial Tribunal at Madurai for adjudication under S. 10(1)(c) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 (XIV of1947). Amongst the items thus referred for adjudication was included the respondents' claim for additional bonus for the year 1952-53. Without prejudice to its contention that the appellant was not liable to pay bonus it had in fact voluntarily paid two months' basic wages by way of bonus to the respondents. The respondents, however, claimed additional bonus and this claim was one of the items of dispute referred to the tribunal for its adjudication.
(2.)Before the industrial tribunal the appellant contended that since it was working as a licensee under the Act no claim for bonus was admissible outside the provisions of the Act. In support of this plea the appellant relied on the scheme of the Act which restricted the profit-making of the electricity concerns to a prescribed limit with a possibility of a surplus only in cases of overcharging provided for in the rules. The appellant's case was that, having regard to the scheme, object and the background of the Act under which the appellant was carrying on its business, the respondent's claim for additional bonus was wholly misconceived. No claim for bonus can be entertained, it was urged on behalf of the appellant, without reference to the provisions of the Act which governs the business of the appellant.
(3.)The tribunal, however, rejected the appellant's contentions and held that the appellant was liable to pay two months' basic wages as additional bonus to the respondents. This award was passed on March 4, 1955.
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