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Report No. 62

1A.17. Importance of the definition of "workmen".-

The definition of "workman",1 as given in the Act, specifically excludes a person whose employment is of a casual nature of that casual worker is employed otherwise than for the purpose of the employer's trade or business. The definition also excludes a person working in the capacity of a member of the Armed Forces of the Union. Subject to these two important exceptions, "workman", as defined in the Act, means a person who is-

(i) a railway servant as defined in section 3 of the Indian Railways Act, 1890, not permanently employed in any administrative, railway and not employed in any such capacity as is specified in Schedule II, or

(ii) employed on monthly wages not exceeding five hundred rupees in any such capacity as is specified in Schedule II.

In order to determine the question whether a person is a workman or not, one has necessarily to look to (i) Schedule II, (ii) capacity in which the person is employed [with a modification in case of railway servants falling under item (i)1 and (iii) the monthly wages [except in the case of railway servants falling under item (i) of the definition.]

Persons drawing as wages more than Rs. 500 a month (unless they are railway servants) are not "workman". Persons of this type were presumably regarded as qualified, by their education and their means, to make provision for themselves. Casual labourers who are not employed for the purposes of the employer's trade or business are not workmen. There are obvious practical difficulties in including them. Members of the armed forces are also excluded, because they agree to serve on the understanding that hazards are not "accidents". (These persons may, however, be covered by separate statutory or non-statutory provisions, if they sustain injuries in the course of their duties).

In the case of railway workers, falling under item (i) of the definition, the restriction as to the minimum amount of wages does not apply. The apparent assumption is that (with the exception of persons "permanently employed" in the larger railway offices),2 all railway employees have to undergo a certain amount of risk and there would be great difficulty in making a distinction between those working in the specified capacity3 and those not so working.

1. Section 2(1)(o).

2. This exception will be separately examined.

3. Second Schedule.

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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