JAY GUJARAT PRAKASHAN LIMITED Vs. HARIPRASAD HARGOVINDDAS PANDYA
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
JAY GUJARAT PRAKASHAN LIMITED
HARIPRASAD HARGOVINDDAS PANDYA
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(1.)Petitioners Nos. 4 and 5 are directors of petitioner No. 1 company and partners in the firms of petitioners Nos. 2 and 3. They were concerned with the publication of the daily newspaper Jan Tantra which we are informed is now defunct. For convenience and brevity we shall refer to them collectively. Respondent No. 1 who is a journalist filed an application for the recovery of Rs. 2 726 from the petitioners under sec. 15 of the Payment of Wages Act before respondent So. 2 who is the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act to be referred to by us as the Authority. The case of respondent No. 1 before the Authority was that he was employed as an Editor of the daily newspaper Jan Tantra from 1/06/1958 on a monthly salary Rs. 175/or the wages to be fixed by the Wages Board appointed by the Government of India whichever was higher. It was also his case before the Authority that he was employed to do work in various other capacities viz. that of a reporter an advertisement canvasser a translator and a proof reader and that for the extra work payment was to be made to him in addition to the salary. According to him he worked in that manner upto February 1959 but for the Period October 195 8/01/1959 his salary was not paid to him After some differences between the parties he severed his connections with the petitioners and the petitioners removed his name as editor and informed him that they had terminated his services. Before the Authority he claimed Rs. 1 676 as wages for the period 1-6-1958 to March 1959 and alslso the sum of Rs. 1050/by way of compensation and pay in lieu of notice. The petitioners in their written statement filed before the Authority contended that the application was not maintainable. They denied that the applicant (respondent No. 1 before us) was employed as an editor from 1 or that his monthly salary was Rs. 175/as alleged. Their contention was that they were starting a new venture and respondent No. 1 had offered his services on an honorary basis and it was in that capacity that he was taken up on the Editorial Board of their paper Jan Tantra. They also contended that the question of remuneration if any to be paid to him was to be considered in future if circumstances permitted. According to them the agreement between the parties was that the respondent No. 1 was to receive Rs. 100/for the month of October 1958 and Rs. 125/per month as honorarium from November 1958 and that honorarium so computed had been paid to him. They denied that any extra work was done by him as alleged or that anything was to be paid to him for such work. Their principal contention was that respondent No. 1 was not a worker and that the remuneration paid to him was not wages at all and the Authority had no jurisdiction to entertain the claim made against them. A preliminary issue was framed by the Authority and the preliminary issue was Whether the application to the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act was maintainable.
(2.)The Authority decided she preliminary issue against the petitioners. Referring to the contention that respondent No. 1 (Applicant before him) was an editor and not a worker within the meaning of the relevant provisions of law he observed that it was true that the applicant was not a worker within the meaning of the relevant definition. He however took the view that the application was maintainable as the language of clause (4) of section 1 of the Payment of Wages Act covered all persons employed in any factory whether workers or not. He also observed in his judgment that the question whether the applicant was employed in the factory or not was a question of fact to be decided only after the parties had lcd evidence of the point. His conclusion that it was competent to him to entertain the petition is challenged by the petitioners before this court on this petition.
(3.)It is contended before us by Mr. Kapadia learned Advocate for the petitioners that the Authority was in error in holding that the petition was maintainable before him as an Authority constituted under the Payment of Wages Act on the ground that the applicant was a person employed in a `Factory. In order to appreciate this contention it is necessary to refer to certain provisions of the Payment of Wages Act 1936 and the Factories Act 1948. Section 1(4) of the Payment of Wages Act which relates to the application of that Act is as under:-
"It applies in the first instance to the payment of wages to persons employed in any factory and to persons employed (otherwise than in a factory) upon any railway by a railway administration or either directly or through a sub contractor by a person fulfilling a contract with a railway administration"
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