Once it was held that for a temporary casual laborer, in the absence of any discontinuance of service under Section 2(A) of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, the authorities could not deny gratuity, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has ruled.
This Court, while defining as to who was an employee under Section 2(e) of the Act in Arunachalam S. vs M.D. Southern Structurals reported in 2001 2 LLJ 1457 had held that all employees were entitled to gratuity except an apprentice. This ruling was held by Mr Justice K. Chandru, who heard a writ petition from Pioneer Spinners, Paramakudi Taluk, Ramanathapuram District, challenging an order passed by the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) (R-1) Chennai-6, confirming order dated February 28, 2007 of R-2 (Assistant Labor Commissioner (Central), Madurai-2.Online GST Certification Course by TaxGuru & MSME- Click here to Join
The employee P. Sulochana (R-3) claimed before the controlling authority, the difference in gratuity of Rs 15,485.34. Her claim was that the period from July 17, 1977 to August 8, 1980 was not taken into account. The petitioner contended that during the period, she was working as a casual laborer and as a temporary daily rated worker.
According to petitioner, Sulochana was a trainee not covered by the term employee under Section 2(e) of the Act. The controlling authority rejected both the contentions and directed petitioner-management to pay the sum claimed by Suluchana within 30 days.
The petitioner filed an appeal under Sec 7(7) stating that since Sulochana was only a casual laborer or badli worker, the service could not be a continuous one. The controlling authority rejected the contention.
The Judge ruled that the appellate authority found that no material was produced to show that R-3 was engaged as an apprentice. In the absence of any such evidence, even assuming that the workman was only a casual laborer, he was not excluded from provisions of the Act.
The term employee defined did not make any distinction between temporary worker and permanent worker. What was excluded was only an apprentice. Hence, the writ petition stood dismissed. The controlling authority was directed to pay the amount to her.