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Report No. 3

70. Articles 7, 101 & 102.-

Article 7 provides a period of one year for recovery of wages of a house-hold servant, artisan or labourer and time starts from the date when the wages accrued due. Along with this Article, Articles 101 and 102 which provide for seamen's wages and for wages not otherwise expressly provided for may be considered. In the case of seamen's wages the period provided is three years and time runs from the end of the voyage during which the wages are earned. Article 102 is the residuary Article for wages providing a period of three years from the date when the wages accrued due. These three Articles relate to suits on contract i.e., contract of service.

Under the substantive law, the cause of action for recovery of arrears arises when the wages accrued due. Under Article 7 which provides a shorter period of limitation, questions have arisen and troubled the courts whether a cook is a household servant, whether a lay man employed to work in a ship or a person employed to assist a salesman in a dealer's shop or a bus conductor is an artisan or labourer, to determine whether the shorter period under Article 7 or the longer period under the residuary Article applies. The attempt of the plaintiff is naturally to obtain advantage of the longer period under the residuary Article (Article 102) while the defendant endeavours to get the benefit of the shorter period under Article 7.

If a uniform period is laid down this conflict can be avoided. The cause of action is the breach and it arises on the date of breach. This is the time from which limitation begins to run. In the case of seamen the cause of action for the recovery of wages does not accrue until the voyage is completed. This was settled long ago in Hyde v. Partridge, (706) 2 Raym 1204 Section 2 (6) of the English Limitation Act of 1939 provides that sub-section (1) of section 2 of that Act should apply to seamen's wages though it is an action enforceable in rem. It is treated as an action founded on contract for which a uniform period of limitation of six years is provided. Under the Indian Law, the remedies available for the recovery of a seamen's wages are:-

(1) Under section 63 of the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1923, he has a right to recover wages in a summary manner before a magistrate provided the amount claimed does not exceed Rs. 500. He has a lien on the ship for his wages.

(2) When the claim is less than Rs. 500 he can sue in the Court of Small Causes and when it exceeds that amount, in the ordinary civil courts.

It is for the second class of remedies that Article 101 provides a period of limitation of 3 years from the termination of the voyage. Under Article 102, the wages become payable only when they accrue due and it is on that date that the cause of action arises. All these three Articles, therefore, relate to suits founded on contract and the time when limitation starts for these suits coincides with the time when the cause of action accrues under the substantive law.

Limitation Act, 1908 Back

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