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“Casual workers are also Employee as defined under ESI Act” Supreme Court

Casual workers are also Employee as defined under ESI Act: Supreme Court

Supreme Court in its judgment dated 29 February, 2016 in Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd. Vs. E.S.I. Corporation, has held that casual workers are covered under definition of employee as defined in Section 2(9) of the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.

The Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Misra was hearing the appeal preferred by Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd. The main question in this appeal was referred to a three judge Bench which had held that the Turf Club would fall within the meaning of the word ‘shop’ as mentioned in the notification issued under the ESI Act. Thereafter it was placed before Division Bench.

‘Employee’ definition very wide. The Court observed that the definition of “employee” is very wide and a person who is employed for wages in the factory or establishment on any work of, or incidental or preliminary to or connected with the work is covered. The definition brings various types of employees within its ken. The Act is a welfare legislation and is required to be interpreted so as to ensure extension of benefits to the employees and not to deprive them of the same which are available under the Act, the Bench said.

‘Employee’ covers Casual employees. The Court said that it is apparent from section 39 that an employee who is employed for a part of the wage period is also covered for the purposes of contribution. The definition of the term “employee” in section 2(9) is also wide enough to cover casual employees who are employed for part of wage period. A bare reading of the aforesaid provisions makes it clear that it would cover the “casual employees” employed for a few days on a work of perennial nature and wages as defined in section 2(22) and wage period as defined in section 2(23) does not exclude the wages payable to casual workers. They cannot be deprived of the beneficial provisions of the Act, the Bench observed.

The Court also referred to Regional Director, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, Madras v. South India Flour Mills (P) Ltd. [AIR 1986 SC 1686] in which it was held that casual employees come within the purview of the ESI Act.

Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act which allowed arrests for objectionable content online

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 66A of IT Act, the controversial provision which makes posting offensive material on social networking sites an offence punishable by up to three years in jail.

The said it found Section 66A of the IT Act “too vague and violative of 19(1)A of Constitution”

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Rohinton F Nariman delivered its judgment on a bunch of petitions filed in the light of misuse of the penal provision by government authorities against persons who allegedly uploaded offensive posts on social networking sites.

The petitioners, including NGOs, civil rights groups and a law student, had argued that Section 66A violated citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

The government had opposed the plea for quashing the provision saying it is meant to deter people from uploading grossly offensive material which can lead to lawlessness by inciting public anger and violence.

Justifying the retention of the provision, the Centre had told the apex court that the impact of internet is much wider and restriction on this medium should be higher in comparison to print and TV.

It had said unlike print and electronic media, internet did not operate in an institutional form and there was need for some mechanism to put checks and balances.

The government had said the provision could not be quashed just because of its potential misuse. Posting pictures and comments on social networking sites which hurt religious sentiments could not be tolerated and people must be prosecuted, it said.

Source: The Times of India.

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