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The Delhi H.C held that there is no distinction between part-time and full-time employee under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 2009

The High Court of Delhi in a recent judgement adjudged that even part- time, ad- hoc employees are entitled to gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009. The Bench consisted of Justice V. Kamesvar Rao.

The petition was filed by Janardhan Sharma, a part-time vocational teacher employed by the GNCT of Delhi. He prayed for the implementation of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009 with retrospective effect to extend the benefit of the scheme to vocational employees.

The facts of the case were that the Government of Delhi had introduced vocational training for 12th standard students. The Government had framed Recruitment Rules for the posts of Post Graduate Teachers (Vocational) in various Vocational Courses. In the year 2009, the Parliament amended the definition of the word ‘employee’ as defined in Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 with retrospective effect, from April 03, 1997. Due to this, teachers became entitled to Gratuity from their employer w.e.f. April 3rd, 1997.

The Counsel for the petitioner argued that part-time teachers cannot be restricted from the benefit of the scheme. The Act does not does not create a distinction between full time employee or part time employee. The Counsel relied on the judgement in National Bal Bhawan v. Vandana wherein it was held that even part-time employees are eligible for gratuity under the Act.

The Counsel for the Respondent, on the other hand, argued that the petitioner’s appointment was temporary and that their service was liable to be terminated at any time. Moreover, their service was renewed every year for continuation of service and wages being paid from contingency fund. The payment was also decided on the basis of the actual periods taught.

The Court held that the ‘teacher’ is included in the definition of ‘employee’ under Section 2(e) of the Act. For this reason a ‘teacher’ is entitled to gratuity. The Supreme Court had dismissed an appeal filed by the Birla Institute of Technology, in favour of the teacher. It held that “…the teachers were held entitled to claim the amount of gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act from their employer with effect from 03.04.1997

The Court also took notice of the definition of ‘wages’ in Section 2(s) of the Act. In National Bal Bhawan case, it was also held that “An employee is an employee, whether on casual, ad-hoc or part time basis. The definition of employee in the Act, 1972 also does not speak of any specific categories of the employees for its applicability, be it, regular, adhoc, part time, casual etc.

The quantum of the gratuity to be paid was also decided upon by the Court in the abovementioned case as “The combined reading of sub-Section (e) and subSection (s) of Section 2 of the Act, 1972 leaves no doubt that the gratuity is payable to the employees defined under the subject Act and is to be assessed on the basis of the wages / emoluments, within the ceiling limit as provided there-under

The Court, relying on the abovementioned judgement, allowed the petition.

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