Labour Laws Q/A

Labour Laws Q/A

Employees’ Provident funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

Newspaper Employees – Entitled to Special Privileges under the Act

Are there any special privileges for the employees of the Newspaper establishments?
The coverage of each case depends upon the facts and circumstances, but reference is made to one case where the drivers, as engaged by the Managers of the Company whose wages are reimbursed by the Company through the Managers, will be covered under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, since the Company has been providing uniforms, footwears, monsoon equipment, winter clothing and even overtime when their services were required by their Managers beyond their duty hours. The plea of the Company that they did not have any control over the 21 drivers, as engaged by 21 Managers on the cars as provided by the Company to the Managers, will not be tenable or taken into consideration when no evidence was produced by the Company in support of the plea that such drivers were not under the control of the Company but that of the Managers. Besides that the drivers, though appointed by the Managers for the cars provided by the Company will be performing their duties “in connection with the work of the establishment” and as such the Company cannot escape the liability for their coverage under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act.1 The employees of newspaper industry have always been treated as a class apart and as such not treating them as ‘excluded employees’ under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act and the Scheme by a notification issued in 1956, will not be unconstitutional. Under article 14 of the Constitution of India providing for equality before law there is no forbidden for class legislation since reasonable classification depending upon the justifiable reason is permissible hence, the employer at this belated stage cannot challenge the notification issued in exempting the newspaper employees over a half century back.2


References:
1. B.A.S.F. India Ltd. v. M. Gurusamy, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Maharashtra and Goa, 2004 LLR 463 (Bom HC): (2004) 2 Mah LJ 164.
2. Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2004 LLR 479 (SN) (SC): 2004 (II) LLJ 356.

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H.L Kumar

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