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Siddhartha Institute of Technology, Marlur, Tumkur v/s G. Aparna & Another

    Writ Petition No. 30637 of 2018 (LPG)

    Decided On, 19 March 2020

    At, High Court of Karnataka

    By, THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE MR. G. NARENDAR

    For the Petitioner: Chandrakanth R. Goulay, Advocate. For the Respondents: C.N. Mahadeswaran, Additional Government Advocate.



Judgment Text

1. Heard the learned Counsel for the petitioner and the learned Addl. Govt. Advocate.2. Petitioner is an education society and an engineering college, is before this court praying to quash the proceedings, pending on the file of the second respondent, on the premise that teachers do not come within the definition of employee as defined under the Act and hence, the proceedings is one without jurisdiction.3. The learned Counsel for the petitioner would place reliance on the orders of the Coordinate Bench passed in W.P.No.39434/2013 and pending Writ Appeal No.687/2018 and connected appeals to contend that the issue as to whether the definition of employee as defined under Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (for short ‘the Act’) takes within its sweep teachers also.4. The learned Counsel would submit that in the light of the pendency of the appeal the second respondent ought to be restrained from proceeding further in the matter.5. Per contra, the learned Addl. Govt. Advocate would place reliance on the ruling of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Birla Institute of Technology Vs. State of Jharkhand and others, reported in (2019) 4 SCC 513. In the said case, the Hon’ble Apex Court has examined the correctness of its own ruling rendered in the case of Ahmedabad Private Primary Teacher’s Assn. Vs. Administrative officer, reported in (2004) 1 SCC 755. In the light of the amendment brought about to the Section 2 (e) of the Act, which came to be amended as per Amending Act 47/2009 it was pleased to hold as under:-“20. The decision rendered in Ahmedabad Private Primary Teacher’s Assn., therefore, led Parliament to amend the definition of “employee” as defined in Section 2(e) of the payment of Gratuity Act by Amending Act 47 of 2009 on 31-12-2009 with retrospective effect from 3-4-1997.21. It is clear from the statement of objects and Reasons of the payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2009 introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24-2-2009, which reads as under:“Statement of objects and ReasonsThe Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 provides for payment of gratuity to employees engaged in factories, mines, oilfields, plantations, ports, railway companies, shops or other establishment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Clause (c) of sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the said Act empowers the Central Government to apply the provisions of the said Act by notification in the Official Gazette to such other establishments or class of establishments in which ten or more employees are employed, or were employed, on any day preceding twelve months. Accordingly, the Central Government had extended the provisions of the said Act to the educational institutions employing ten or more persons by notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Labour and Employment vide number S.O. 1080, dated 3-4-1997.2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment in Ahmedabad Private Primary Teacher’s Assn. Vs. Administrative Officer had held that it was extended to cover in the definition of ‘employee’ all kind of employees, it could have as well used such wide language as is contained in clause (f) of Section 2 of the Employees’ Provident funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which defines ‘employee’ to mean any person who is employed for wages in any kind of work, manual or otherwise, in or in connection with the work of an establishment. It had been held that non-use of such wide language in the definition of ‘employee’ under clause (e) of section 2 of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 reinforces the conclusion that teachers are clearly not covered in the said definition.3. Keeping in view the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it is proposed to widen the definition of ‘employee’ under the said Act in order to extend the benefit of gratuity to the teachers. Accordingly, the payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2007 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 26-11-2007 and same was referred to the standing Committee on Labour which made certain recommendations. After examining those recommendations, it was decided to give effect to the amendment retrospectively with effect from 3-4-1997. The date on which the provisions of the said Act were made applicable to educational institutions.4. Accordingly, the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2007 was withdrawn and a new Bill, namely, this Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2009 having retrospective effect was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24-2-2009. However, due to dissolution of the Fourteenth Lok Sabha, the said Bill lapsed. In view of the above, it is considered necessary to bring the present Bill.5. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.New Delhi;The 12-11-2009.”Mallikarjun Kharge”22. The definition of “employee” as defined under Section 2(e) was accordingly amended with effect from 3-4-1997 retrospectively vide Payment of the Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009 (47 of (2009) published on 31-12-2009. The amended definition reads as under:“2. (e) “employee” means any person (other than an apprentice) who is employed for wages, whether the terms of such employment are express or implied, in any kind of work, manual or otherwise in or in connection with the work of a factory, mine, oilfield, plantation, port, railway company, shop or other establishment to which this Act applies, but does not include any such this Act applies, but does not include any such person who holds a post under the Central Government or a State Government and is governed by any other Act or by any rules providing for payment of gratuity.”23. In the light of the amendment made in the definition of the word “employee” as defined in Section 2(e) of the Act by Amending Act 47 of 2009 with retrospective effect from 3-4-1997, the benefit of the Payment of Gratuity Act was also extended to the teachers from 3-4-1997. In other words, the teachers were brought within the purview of “employee” as defined in Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity Act by Amending Act 47 of 2009 with retrospective effect from 3-4-1997.24. The effect of the amendment made in the Payment of Gratuity Act vide Amending Act 47 of 2009 on 31-12-2009 was twofold. First, the law laid down by this Court in Ahmedabad Private Primary Teachers Assn. was no longer applicable against the teachers, as if not rendered, and second, the teachers were held entitled to claim the amount of gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act from their employer with effe

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ct from 3-4-1997.25. In our considered opinion, in the light of the amendment made in the Payment of Gratuity Act as detailed above, reliance placed by the learned Counsel appearing for the appellant (employer) on the decision of Ahmedabad Private Primary Teacher’s Assn. is wholly misplaced and does not help the appellant in any manner. It has lost its binding effect.”In the light of the above, the issue as to whether a teacher comes within the definition of an employee under Section 2(e) of the Act is no more res-integra. In that view of the matter and in the light of the law laid down as stated supra, the petition requires to be dismissed. Hence, the petition is devoid of merits and is accordingly dismissed.
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