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Govind Bapu Salvi & Ors Vs. Vishwanath Janardhan Joshi [1993] INSC 376 (22 September 1993)

Sawant, P.B. Sawant, P.B. Mohan, S. (J) Bharucha S.P. (J)

CITATION: 1995 SCC Supl. (1) 148

ACT:

HEAD NOTE:

ORDER

1. The appellants are employees of the respondent-Mint and are also in occupation of the official quarters. They filed a claim under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 before the labour court for calculating their overtime wages on the basis of their basic wages plus the house rent allowance to which, according to them, they were entitled. Their contention was that even if they were occupying the official accommodation, since under the rules they were entitled to house rent allowance when no official accommodation was given to them, under Section 59(2) of the Factories Act the overtime wages payable to them should be calculated taking into consideration the house rent allowance as well. The labour court accepted their contention and granted the appellants' claim. However, in writ petition filed by the respondents, the High Court held that since the appellants were occupying the official accommodation, 149 they were not entitled to the payment of the house rent allowance within the meaning of Section 59(2) of the Factories Act. Hence the said allowance could not to be taken into consideration for calculating the overtime wage.

In this view of the matter, the High Court set aside the order of the labour court and allowed the writ petition. It is this order which is challenged before us.

2. Section 59(2) of the Factories Act reads as follows "59. Extra wages for overtime.- (1) ....

(2)For the purposes of sub-section ( 1) 'ordinary rate of wages' means the basic wage s plus such allowances, including the cash equivalent of the advantage accruing through the concessional sale to workers of foodgrains and other articles, as the worker is for the time being entitled to, but does not include a bonus and wages for overtime work." The language of this section is very clear. It says that the ordinary rate of wages which is referred to in sub- section (1) of Section 59 means basic wages plus such allowance ... as the worker is for the time being entitled to, but excludes bonus and wages for overtime work.

3.Admittedly, the appellants are not entitled to the payment of the house rent allowance since they are occupying the official quarters. Hence for calculating the overtime wages, the house rent allowance cannot be taken into account. What Section 59(2) contemplates is the eligibility to the payment of the house rent allowance. The service conditions envisage employees who are and who are not provided with the official accommodation and provide for house rent allowance only to those who are not provided with the accommodation. The mere fact, therefore, that the service rules provide for house rent allowance when no accommodation is given, will not entitle the employees to succeed in their present claim. The labour court had obviously erred in holding otherwise. We are, therefore, in agreement with the view taken by the High Court.

4. In this view of the matter, we dismiss the appeal with no order as to costs. However, if the appellants are entitled to the calculation of the overtime wages by including house rent allowance otherwise than under Section 59(2) of the Factories Act, they are free to pursue that claim.

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