Mangananese Ore (India) Ltd. Vs. Chandi Lal Saha & Ors
 INSC 337 (1
Singh (J) Kuldip Singh (J) Thommen, T.K. (J)
1991 AIR 520 1990 SCR Supl. (2) 533 1991 SCC Supl. (2) 465 JT 1991 (1) 47 1990
Wages Act, 1948: Sections 2(h), 3(1)(a),4 & 11 Manganese
Mines--Workers--Minimum Wages--Monetary value grain supplied at concessional
rates anti amount paid as attendance bonus to workers--Whether can be treated
as wage in kind deducted from the minimum wages.
concession' and `Attendance bonus'--Nature of--Difference between Incentive
bonus and Minimum wage explained.
Disputes Act, 1947: Section 33C(2): Labour Court--Jurisdiction of--Application for recovery of deficit
amount of minimum wages--Whether barred by section 20 of the Minitaunt Wages
Government of India by a notification issued under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948
fixed the minimum rates of wages payable to different categories of employees
of the Manga- nese Mines. The appellant Company was paying minimum wages to its
workers. Besides it was also paying to its employees attendance bonus and Was
supplying grain to them at conces- sional rates. But the appellant was
deducting Out of their wages the monetary value of the grain concession and the
attendance bonus. The workers of the appellant Company working at Nagpur (Maharashtra)
and Balaghat (Madhya Pra- desh) filed applications under section 33C(2) of the
Indus- trial Disputes Act, 1947 before the Labour Courts at Nagpur and at Jabalpur
for recovery of the deficit. amOUnt of wages due to them from the appellant.
The appellant opposed the applications on the ground that the minimum wage Was
all inclusive wage which included the cash value of gram conces- sion and
The Labour Court, Nagpur, allowed the applications of the workers by holding that
the monetary value of the grain supplied `at concessional rate or the amount
paid as attend- ance bonus could not be counted towards the minimum wage.
the Labour Court, Jabalpur partly allowed the applica- tions of the workers and
decided the issue regarding 534 the supply of concessional grain against the
workmen by holding that the appellant was entitled to add the cash value of the
grain-concessional for computing the minimum wage. The workmen did not
challenge the order of the Labour Court, Jabalpur but the appellant challenged the
orders of both the Labour Courts by filling writ petitions in the High Court of
Bombay and Madhya Pradesh. Both the High Courts dismissed the writ petitions.
appeals to this Court, it was contended on behalf of the appellants; (1) that
the notification fixing minimum wage being all inclusive it would include the
amount of bonus attendance and the monetary value of concessional grain; (ii)
since the grain concession and attendance bonus were benefits which could be
computed in money they were remuneration within the definition of `wages' under
section 2(h) of the Act; and (iii) in view of the provisions con- tained in
Section 20 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 the Labour Court had no jurisdiction
under section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to proceed with the applica-
tions for recovery of deficit amount of minimum wages.
the appeals, this Court,
1. Section 11(i) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 lays down that the minimum
wages payable under the Act shall be paid in cash. Sub-sections 2 and 3 of
section 11 are exceptions to the mandate contained in section 11(1). Sec- tion
4(1)(iii) and section 4(2) have to be read with section 11 of the Act. Section
4(1)(iii) mentions only such "cash value of the concession" as has
been authorised "wages in kind" under sub-section (3) of section 11
of the Act. There- fore, there cannot be a wage in kind unless there is a
notification by the appropriate Government under section 11(3) of the Act. It
is only the appropriate Government which can authorise wages partly in kind. In
the absence of any notification by the appropriate Govt. for the supply of essential
commodities at concessional rates the cash value of such concessions cannot be
treated as wage in kind and cannot be deducted from the minimum wages which
have to be paid in cash under section 11(1) of the Act. In the instant case
there being no notification by appropriate Government under section 11(3) of
the Act the appellant cannot take advantage from para 2 of the notification or
from provisions of section 4(1)(m) of the Act.
scheme of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 recognises "wages" as defined
under section 2(h) and also "wages in kind" under section 11 of the
Act. Reading both the provi- sions together "wages in 535 kind" can
only become part of the wages if the conditions provided under sub-sections
(2), (3) and (4) of section 11 of the Act are complied with. Since there was no
notifica- tion by the Central Government under section 11(3) of the Act the
supply of grain at a concessional rate cannot be considered "wages"
under section 2(h) of the Act.
The managements of public sector undertakings which are bound by Director
Principles of State Policy enshrined under Part IV of the Constitution must endeavour
to secure for their workmen apart from "wages" other amenities also.
amenities may be capable of being expressed in terms of money but it is clear
from the scheme of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 that these concessions do not
come within the meaning of "wages" under section 2(h) of the Act. The
supply of grain at concessional rate to the workers is in the nature of an
amenity or an additional facility/service and cannot be included in the rates
of wages prescribed by the notification.
There is a basic difference between the incentive bonus and the minimum wage.
Every workman is entitled to minimum wage from the very first day of his
joining the employment whereas the bonus has to be earned and it becomes
payable after the event. In the instant case the attendance bonus was payable
after regular attendance for a specified period and remaining loyal to the
management. The scheme of payment of attendance bonus was thus an incentive to
secure regular attendance of the workmen. It was an additional payment made to
the workmen as a means of increasing produc- tion. Therefore, the attendance
bonus is in the nature of an incentive and it cannot be treated as part of
minimum wages under the Act.
Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. Its Workmen,  S.C.R. Suppl. (2) 1012; followed.
Minimum Wages Act is concerned with the fixing of rates of minimum wages. Under
Section 20(1) of the Minimum Wages Act in which provision is made for seeking
remedy in respect of claims arising out of payment of less than mini- mum rates
the Authority is to exercise jurisdiction for deciding claims which relate to
rates of wages. The power under section 20(3) of the Act given to the Authority
deal- ing with an application under section 20(1) to direct pay- ment of the
actual amount found due, is only an incidental power for working out
effectively the directions under section 20(1) fixing various rates under the
Act. That is, if there is no dispute as to rates between the employer and the
employee and the only question is whether a particular payment at 536 the
agreed rate is due or not, then s. 20(1) of the Act would not be attracted at
all, and the appropriate remedy would only be either under s. 15(1) of the
payment of Wages Act or under section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act.
In the instant case there was no dispute regarding the rates of wages and it is
admitted by the parties that the minimum rates of wages were fixed by the
Government of India under the Act. The workmen demanded the minimum wages so
fixed and the appellant denied the same to the workmen on extraneous
considerations. Under the circumstances the remedy under section 20 of the Act
was not available to the workmen and the Labour Court rightly exercised its jurisdic- tion under section 33C(2)
of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Municipal Council, Athani v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court, HubIi & Ors.,  1 S.C.R. 51; followed.
the fact that the order of the Labour Court Jabalpur became final, the Supreme Court
invoked its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India and directed
that the benefit of this judgment he extended to the workmen of the appellant
in the State of Madhya