INTERPRETATION OF THE TERM EMPLOYEE IN EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUNDS AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS ACT, 1952: VAISHALI MALHOTRA

Interpretation of the term “employee” in  Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

Author: Vaishali Malhotra

Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

ISSN: 2582-3655

I.Introduction

The present article focuses on the interpretation of the term “employee” under Section 2 (f) of The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. The interpretation of the term “employee” is very tricky. As the scope of the term “employee” is very broad more than it seems to be. Interpretation of the term “employee” has been done in many cases before which urged that the scope of Section 2 (f) is very broad. Let’s understand the concept of interpretation of the term “employee” in the following sections.

II. What Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 says:

employee” means any person who is employed for wages in any kind of work, manual or otherwise, in or in connection with the work of [an establishment], and who gets his wages directly or indirectly from the employer, [and includes any person—

(i) employed by or through a contractor in or in connection with the work of the establishment;

(ii) engaged as an apprentice, not being an apprentice engaged under the Apprentices Act, 1961 (52 of 1961), or under the standing orders of the establishment;

III.Meaning of employee inaccordance to above definition

It means any person who:

  • Is employed for wages.
  • In connection with the work of an establishment.
  • Who gets wages directly or indirectly from the employer.
  • Includes any person employed by or through a contractor.

IV.Interpretation of the term “employees”under various heads.

Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 defines the lawyer as any person who is employed for wages in any kind of work whether it is manual or otherwise or in connection with the work of an establishment provides wages directly or indirectly from the employer who employs him. This definition is not enough to interpret the word “employee”. The scope of the word “employee” is very broad as the word itself constitutes many people. Many litigations are also involved in the interpretation of the term “employee”.

  • Whether retired employees from Railways comes under the term “employee”?

Retired employees from the railway come under the scope of Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether drivers, conductors engaged by transport contractor comes under the term “employee”?

Drivers and conductors which are engaged by the transport contract do not be considered as an employee under Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether apprentices having a proper contract of apprenticeships comes under  the term “employee”?

The provisions of section 2 (f)(i) of The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, and para 2 of the scheme framed under the act are to be kept while determining apprentices having an apprenticeship certificate is an employee or not. The provisions of the Apprentices Act,1961 depict that apprentices do not comes under the term “employee” under The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether a partner of a firm having a status of beneficiary comes under the term “employee”?

According to the Indian Partnership Act,1932 partners cannot come under the term “employee”. As he cannot be both employer and the employee.

Prakash D. Shah and Another vs Union of India, 2004

It was held that the partner of a firm is considered as an employee. Thus can’t act like a beneficiary under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

Om Roller Flour Mill vs Union of India, 2002

In this case, also it was held that the partners cannot be considered as an employee one person cannot be act employer as well as an employee at the same point in time. Thus, a partner cannot be considered as an employee under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 as well as the Indian Partnership Act,1932.

  • Whether home workers in Industries or any other industry comes under the term “employee”?

Homeworkers employed in any of the industries and employees who worked at their homes are entitled to get the benefits of this act.

  • Whether a trainee comes under the term “employee”?

The provisions of section 2 (f)(i) of The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, and para 2 of the scheme framed under the act are to be kept while determining trainee as an employee or not. These provisions depicts that trainee does not come under the term “employee” under The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

Regional Provident Fund Commissioner vs Hotel Highway Limited, 1991

In this case, it was held that the trainees which are undergoing their training and were paid stipend are not covered under the definition of employee.

Regional Provident Fund Commissioner vs Ms Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited Mangalore, 2006

In this case it was held that the trainees who were get stipend for their training does not covered under the definition of employee. As they are for some specific period of time and are not regular workers to act as a beneficiary under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether a person employed in Poly clinic comes under  the term “employee”?

As we know, Polyclinic is covered by the entry in the respective “establishment of hospital” the entry in respect of the” establishment of Medical practitioners and specialists” therefore it simply means that Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 applies to Polyclinic the workers employed in the polyclinic are also the beneficiaries of this act has come under the definition of employee.

  • Whether a contractor with the connection with the work of the establishment comes under the term “employee”?

A contractor with the connection with the work of the establishment which comes under this act is considered to be as an employee under Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether Artisans , weavers with the connection open establishment comes under the term “employee”?

Artisans and weavers with the connection come under the scope of Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether Managers of a cooperative society comes under the term “employee”?

Under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 the manager can’t be considered as an employee is he belongs to a cooperative society.

Alwar[1] Central Cooperative Bank Limited vs Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and Another, 2005

In this case, the petitioner was the manager of the primary agricultural cooperative society was regarded as a nonbeneficiary of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 by the court.

  • Whether directors comes under the term “employee”?

Directors do not come under the definition of employee under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 because they are not the employees even if they get the remuneration for the work they have to do.

Union of India vs Patna Tyre House Private Limited, 2004

In this case, it was held that the directors are not are considered to be as employees under this act even if they get remuneration for the work they do.

  • Whether casual workers comes under the term “employee”?

Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 does not apply to the casual workers. Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 only applies to regular workers that are working on a regular basis, not to the casual workers. This was observed in the case named Lakshmi Restaurant, New Delhi vs Regional Provident Fund Commissioner Delhi and Another, 1975.

  • Whether priest in seminary comes under the term “employee”?

A priest is never been in the scope of Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 as per the Mini previous cases. Therefore, a priest in seminary does not come under the term” employee” under this act.

Reverend Father Agnelo Gracies vs Regional provident fund commissioner for Maharashtra and Goa at Bombay, 2005

In this case, it was held that the priest in seminary covered under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

  • Whether foreign employees comes under the term “employee”?

Foreign employees who holds non Indian passports and worked under the establishment in India that is covered under Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 by the purview of Social Security Agreement and thus able to avail the benefits of the said act.

V. Case laws

Satish Plastics vs Regional Provident Fund Commissioner ,1981

In this case, it was observed that the definition is given under Section 2(f) of Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is very wide that if a person is not employed but was principally employed in the connection with the business shop, that person comes under the meaning of employee in the statuary language.

Springdales School and others v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and Another, 2006

In this case, the high court held that and employee would be treated as working in connection to the work of the establishment if it can be certain that discharging is duty exclusively related to the work of the establishment.

Shahadol vs Regional Provisional Fund Commissioner and Another, 2005

In this case, Madhya Pradesh High court held that if a person coming in the truck to unload the bamboos from the factory premises is also considered as a beneficiary of this act and falls under the definition of employee for all the purposes.

VI. Conclusion

As per my view, the scope of Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is very wide as it seems. Time by time the interpretation of the term employee under this act will gain importance and significance while determining people working in different fields as an employee or not. Many of the litigations have been interpreted the term and observed it’s wide scope while interpreting it. Therefore, some interpretations by the Indian courts are yet to be declared for widening the scope of the term” employee” under Section 2 (f) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.


[1]https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=996fb7cc-2e96-4945-8d85-42e19b7f85ab

https://www.google.com/amp/s/wap.business-standard.com/article-amp/pf/how-pf-works-different-rules-for-indian-and-foreign-workers-117110500006_1.html

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