H.R Adyanthaya vs. Sandoz (India) Ltd. Case Summary 1994 SC

H.R Adyanthaya vs. Sandoz (India) Ltd. Case Summary 1994 SC

H.R Adyanthaya vs. Sandoz (India) Ltd. provides a definite answer whether the medical representative will be considered as the workman or not under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. It also states various amendments in the definition of workman under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.

BENCH: Justice Kuldip Singh, Justice P.B. Sawant, Justice S. Mohan, Justice G.N. Ray, Justice N.P. Singh

H.R ADYANTHAYA JUDGEMENT DATE: August 11th, 1994

H.R ADYANTHAYA CASE CITATION: (1994) 5 SCC 737

BACKGROUND OF H.R ADYANTHAYA CASE:

There were many amendments that were introduced and included in the definition of a workman under the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947. The series of amendments are:

  • From 1947 to 1956: The persons employed included Manual, Skilled & Unskilled, or Clerical work.
  • Amendment of 1956: It further added Supervisory and Technical category of persons in the definition of a workman.
  • Amendment of 1982: It further added Operational Category of persons as well as Non-Manual Skilled and Unskilled persons was also included. Here, the definition of an industry was also amended by including the activity relating to sales and promotion of business.

The precedents refereed in these cases for the purpose of defining workman under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 are:

  • May & Baker Case: In this case, it was held that the medical representative will not be considered a workman under the Industrial dispute act as canvassing of sales is neither considered manual nor clerical work. Here at that time, the definition did not include the technical, supervisory, or operational category. Because of this judgment Sale Promotion Employees (Condition of Services) Act, 1976 (SPE Act) was enacted for the sales promotion employees and it was applied to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • West India Match Co. Ltd vs Workmen (WIMCO CASE): The court held that the employees whose 75% work is clerical work will be considered as a workman. It further stated that the work of selling matches will be considered an operational part of the industry.
  • Burmah Shell Case: The court held that the sales representative and the district sales representative will not be considered as workman as they do not fall under the four categories of; manual, clerical, supervisory, or technical work. It stated that their main work was to promote sales.
  • S.K Verma Case, Delton Cables Case and Ciba Geigy Case: The court held that if the person does not fall under the exceptions mentioned under Section 2s of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 will be a workman even if he did not qualify under the manual, clerical, supervisory and technical category of work.
  • A. Sundarambal Case: The court held that the law laid down in the May & Baker case was still good and not to be disowned.

H.R ADYANTHAYA CASE FACTS:

  • The petitioner was a medical representative in the company of the respondent, where the petitioner filed a complaint in the labor court as his services were terminated. It was held by the court that the medical representative will be considered as a workman under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • Then the respondent filed an appeal in the Industrial Tribunal under the Maharashtra Act where the tribunal held that the medical representative will not be considered as a workman.
  • Then the case was referred to the five-judge bench in the Supreme Court in front of the five bench judges.

ISSUES:

  • Whether the medical representative will be considered a workman or not under Section 2 (s) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947?

RATIO DECEDENDI:

The Bench of Judges in this case comprises the following Justices:

  1.  Justice Kuldip Singh
  2. Justice P.B. Sawant
  3. Justice S. Mohan
  4.  Justice G.N. Ray
  5. Justice N.P. Singh
  • The Bench stated by referring to the case of May & Baker and Burmah Shell Case that the person whose main activity is promoting sales will not be considered a workman under the Industrial Dispute Act.
  • They further stated that the duties performed by the medical representatives will not be considered as skilled or technical work, as promoting sales is not considered as skilled or technical, as referred in the Burmah Shell Case and May & Baker Case.
  • Under Section 2(d) of the SPE Act, the sales promotion employees are those who draw wages up to month Rs. 750 per month or Rs. 9000 per annum. But it was stated by the Bench that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution and it discriminates against those who draw wages for more than Rs. 750 per month or Rs. 9000 per annum. Hence, it was dismissed by the court that neither the medical representatives were covered under the Industrial Dispute Act nor it was covered under the SPE Act.

DECISION:

  • It was held by the court that the complaint filed by the appellant under the Maharashtra Act is not maintainable as the medical representatives are not workman under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • It was further directed by the court that under Article 132 of the Constitution that the State Government will refer it to the Industrial Tribunal and consider it as Industrial Dispute under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • It directed the respondent to pay all the petitioners in the case an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 lakh within six weeks from the date of the judgement and those who were liable for a bonus for the previous years will be paid accordingly by the respondent.

CONCLUSION:

The conclusion that we can draw from this case is that according to the precedents and the amendments regarding the definition of workman under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, the medical representatives are not workman as they do not fall under the category of manual, clerical, supervisory, operational, skilled or unskilled work an also there main functions were that of promoting sales.

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Ankit Kumar

Ankit Kumar

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