CIVIL

Definition of “worker” in Section 2(1) of the Factories Act, 1948

In the latest decision of the supreme Court in the The Works Manager, Central Railway Workshop, Jhansi Vs. Vishwanath and Others, their Lordships were considering the definition of “worker” in Section 2(1) of the Factories Act, 1948 which is more restricted than the definition of “employee” under the Act. The expression with which their Lordships were concerned was “work incidental to or connected with the manufacturing process or the subject of the manufacturing process”. Their Lordships observed that:

“it is probably true that all legislation is a welfare state is enacted with the object of promoting general welfare; but certain types of enactments are more responsive to some urgent social demands and also have more immediate and visible impact on social vices by operating more directly to achieve social reforms. The enactments with which we are concerned, in our view, belong to this category and, Therefore, demand an interpretation liberal enough to achieve the legislative purpose, without doing violence to the language.”

Therefore, the time-keepers who prepare the pay sheets of the workship staff, maintain leave account, dispose of settlement cases and maintain records for statistical purposes were held to be “workers”. The observations of their Lordships are applicable to the construction of the word “employee” in the Act which is also an enactment more responsive to an urgent social demand and in the same category as the Factories Act.

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Categories: CIVIL