1986 P L C 1031
[VIth Labour Court Sind]
Present: S. Nasir Hussain Jafri, Presiding Officer
TALPUR TEXTILE MILLS, TANDO MUHAMMAD KHAN
Appeal No. 25 of 1985, decided on 20th July, 1986.
A. Ghani Khan for Appellant. M. Bashir Awan for Respondent.
Mahmoodullah Khan had filed an application No. 81 of 1979 before the Authority under Payment of Wages Act, Hyderabad on 19‑9‑1919 claiming a sum of Rs.15,300 towards house rent along with compensation and cost. The grievance of the applicant /respondent is that he had not been paid house rent at the rent of Rs.300 p.m. from 1‑1‑1975 till 31‑3‑1979 though the said amount had been sanctioned by the head office of the appellant in the year 1975. This claim was resisted on behalf of the opponent /appellant in the reply statement filed on 23‑12‑1979. It pleaded that the applicant was not a workman and was also drawing more than Rs.1,000 p.m. The applicant /respondent was not entitled to the said allowance as he had already been provided a residential accommodation.
2. After recording evidence the learned Authority, by its order, dated 24‑7‑1984 dismissed the application of the applicant /respondent on the ground of jurisdiction, etc.
3. This dismissal order, dated 24‑7‑1984 was then assailed in Appeal before this Court, vide Appeal No. 27 of 1984. After hearing the parties and considering the record, the said impugned order ‑was set aside an 30‑5‑1985 holding that the applicant /respondent was an Officer as had been treated by the management itself and that he was drawing less than Rs.1.00fi p.m. After setting aside the said order the case was remanded to the learned Authority to record the evidence afresh it tendered before him to ascertain what would be the average wages of the claimant during the period from 1‑1‑1975 till 31‑3‑1979 and whether the applicant /respondent would be entitled to house rent.
4. After remand certain evidence of the parties hereto was recorded and finally the learned Authority by its order, dated 28‑7‑1985 allowed the claim of the applicant /respondent and this decision has again been challenged in this appeal on behalf of the management. I have accordingly heard Mr. A. Ghani Khan, Advocate for the appellant, and Mr. M. Bashir Awan, counsel for the respondent. I have, also again scrutinized the evidence on record.
5. The first submission of Mr. Ghani is that the application before the learned Authority was time‑barred and so the impugned order can be set aside on this score alone. He has placed reliance on P L D 1976 Lah. 686 wherein it has been held that plea of limitation even if not raised before the Court, is to be noticed by the Court itself. The previous order of the learned Authority shows that a specific plea of limitation was raised by the appellant but the same was rejected. This point of limitation cannot be agitated again before this Court in appeal because the findings on the point of limitation recorded by the learned Authority would be deemed to be final and the appellate Court is not competent to go into it. This submission is thus repelled.
6. It has next been contended by Mr Ghani that the applicant respondent was drawing more than Rs.1,000 p.m. and so his application would not be competent under the provisions of Payment of Wages Act. This submission is also devoid of any substance for the simple reason that the appellant produced no documentary evidence before the learned Authority to show that the applicant /respondent was drawing more than Rs.1,000 p.m. On the contrary, I find that the witness of the management Jawed Ali examined on 2‑2‑1981, has himself deposed that the applicant’s wages were Rs.850 p.m. The appellant again examined one Mr. A.M. Sajid, Accountant, after the remand of this case, but in his examination in‑chief as well he nowhere pleaded that the applicant /respondent was drawing more than Rs.1,000 p.m. In his cross‑examination he admitted that the applicant was in the scale of Rs.550. It may be pointed out here that while remanding this case the parties were permitted to lead evidence to prove the average wages of the applicant/ respondent but the management chose not to lead any evidence on this point which 13 gives rise to an impression that the management had no material with it to prove that the applicant was drawing more than Rs.1,000 p.m. In view of this material on record, I feel no hesitation in repelling the contention of Mr. Ghani on this point as well.
7. The third point canvassed before me by Mr. Ghani is that the applicant /respondent was a workman and so he would not be entitled to house rent as claimed because the same is permissible only to the Officers. This submission was previously considered by this Court and it was rejected. I would repeat again that in evidence as well as the reply statement the appellant had specifically pleaded that the applicant was not a workman and was classified as an officer. He was in Grade‑I from Rs.550‑1,250, as per circular, dated 19‑5‑1975 Exh.A/1. By letter, dated 14‑6‑1978 (A/2 (a) the applicant was again notified to have come in Grade‑I referred to above, with effect from January, 1975 and so he was held entitled to a standard accommodation prescribed for such category. Again by letter, dated 8‑5‑78 (A/3) the persons in Grade‑I were also shown to be employees in Executive Grades. In view of this documentary evidence brought on record, and which has also not been disputed or challenged in any manner on behalf of the management, it cannot now be urged that the applicant was not an Officer and fell in the category of workman. This plea of Mr. Ghani is also rejected.
8. It has finally been argued that since the applicant had been provided accommodation by the management, he would not be entitled to house rent. This plea is also against the material on record. The documents referred to above, clearly show that if an Officer is provided sub‑standard accommodation, he will only be liable to pay to the management a sum of Rs.100 in the maximum but he would not be deprived of the house rent to the extent of 30$ with a minimum of Rs.300 p. m. There is no evidence whatsoever to show that the applicant has been provided accommodation according to his entitlement. Moreover, as per circular, dated 25‑2‑1975 placed at page 133 of the lower Court the house rent would be allowed to all Officers without restricting the payment thereof only to those Officers who have not been provided official accommodation. According to this circular the applicant would be entitled to the house rent even if he has been provided accommodation. However, this payment will certainly be subject to Memorandum, dated 19‑12‑1978 A/4 or any other such orders of the competent authority, is may be prevailing in the Organization in respect of the categories equivalent to the applicant.
9. The up shot of the above is that the impugned order does not suffer from any illegality which may require any interference and So the present appeal is dismissed. The amount deposited be paid to the: I respondent. R & P be sent back.