Reached Daily Limit?

Explore a new way of legal research!

Click Here
Indian Case Summary

H.R. Adyanthaya vs Sandoz (India) Ltd on 11 August, 1994 – Case Summary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the case of H.R. Adyanthaya vs Sandoz (India) Ltd, the Supreme Court of India delivered a judgment on 11th August 1994, which revolved around the definition of ‘workman’ under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (the ‘ID Act’). The bench, led by Justice Kuldip Singh, was tasked with determining whether ‘medical representatives’, commonly known in the industry, could be classified as workmen according to the definition provided in the ID Act.

Facts of the Case

The case was brought before the court by H.R. Adyanthaya, the petitioner, against Sandoz (India) Ltd., the respondent. The central question was whether medical representatives could be classified as workmen under the ID Act. The definition of ‘workman’ under this act has undergone several changes since its first enactment, and the court’s decisions on this matter have been based on the definition as it stood at the relevant time.

Issues

The primary issue in this case was the interpretation of the term ‘workman’ as defined in the ID Act. The original definition, as it stood when the ID Act came into force on 1st April 1947, included any person employed in any industry to do any skilled or unskilled, manual or clerical work for hire or reward. However, this definition was amended by Act 36 of 1956 to include those who did any unskilled or skilled work, whether manual or not. The amendment also brought those persons who were employed to do ‘operational’ work within the definition of ‘workman’.

Court’s Observations

The court observed that the definition of ‘workman’ had undergone significant changes since its original enactment. The first change brought about by the amendment was the inclusion of those who did any unskilled or skilled work, whether manual or not. The second significant change was the inclusion of those persons who were employed to do ‘operational’ work.

The court also noted that the Amending Act 46 of 1982 brought about a change in the definition of ‘wages’ under Section 2(rr) of the ID Act and for the first time included the following in the said definition: “(iv) any commission payable on the promotion of sales or business or both;”

The court referred to several previous decisions of the Supreme Court on the subject, including May & Baker (India) Ltd. v. Workmen, Western India Match Co. Ltd. v. Workmen, and Burmah Shell Oil Storage & Distribution Co. of India Ltd v. Burmah Shell Management Staff Assn., among others.

In light of the amended definitions of ‘workman’ and ‘wages’ and that of ‘industry’ which has not yet become operative, the court concluded that the medical representatives, whose main work was that of canvassing sales and any clerical or manual work that they had to do was incidental to the said main work, were not workmen under the ID Act. The court held that the Tribunal’s conclusion that the employee was a workman under the ID Act was incorrect.

Conclusion

The case of H.R. Adyanthaya vs Sandoz (India) Ltd is a landmark judgment in the interpretation of the term ‘workman’ under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The court’s detailed examination of the changes in the definition of ‘workman’ and its application to the role of medical representatives provides valuable insights into the interpretation of labor laws in India. The judgment underscores the importance of understanding the nature of work and the role of an employee in determining their status under labor laws.