HERAT, J.—Ponnupvlle v. Oodooioerre Tea Co. Lid.
1963Present. Herat* J.
PONNUPULLE, Appellant, and OODOOWERRE TEA CO. LTD.,
S. G. 136(1961—C. R. Badulla, 15887
Estate labourer—Termination of his services—Legal position in regard to his occupationof his line room—Requirement of reasonable notice to quit the room.[' i
"Wien the services of a labourer who belongs to that class of labour employedmainly on tea and rubber estates known as Indian labour are terminated, aperiod of at least throe months’ notice must be given before he can be eiectedfrom the iine room which he occupies.
Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Requests, Badulla.
M.M. Kumarakulasingham, for the Defendant-Appellant.
G. T. Samerawiclcreme, with R. A. Kannangara, for the Plaintiff-Respondent.
February 14, 1963. Heeat, J.—
The appellant in this case was a labourer working on Oodoowerre Estate,of which the plaintiff-respondent is the owner. She belongs to thatclass of labour employed mainly on tea and rubber estates known asIndian labour. Admittedly her services as a labourer were terminated,and as regards the grounds for that termination they are not in disputein this case and are irrelevant for the decision of this appeal. By reasonof the fact that she was a labourer on this estate she was given occupationof room No. 3 in one of the cooly lines belonging to the estate. Owingto the termination of her employment as a labourer, the Superintendentof the estate as agent of the plaintiff-respondent Company gave- her12 days notice to vacate the room she occupied and give possessionthereof to the estate authorities. On her failing to do so the presentaction was filed against the appellant in the Court of Requests of Badullaseeking to have her ejected. The learned Commissioner of Requests ofBadulla has ordered her ejectment. She has appealed from that order tothis Court.
I am called upon to analyse what the defendant’s legal position is as faras her occupation of the line room in question is concerned. No doubt,along with her contract of employment as a labourer on the estatethere is a subsidiary contract between the Company on the one hand andherself as a labourer on the other by which the Company agrees to giveher occupation of a line room in her capacity as a labourer on the estate.She is not a tenant, but only a licensee. But even so, this contract oflicence relating to the occupation of this line room must be legally analysed.
Tharigarajaaingham v. IyamjriUai
It is a right to occupy the line room in her capacity as a labourer on theestate. No doubt, if she ceases to be a labourer she cannot claim tocontinue to have the right to occupy that room. But as far as thiscontract of licence is concerned, are there not any other terms whichaccording to the circumstances existing at the time of the contract canbe implied into it ? These Indian labourers are not of the same type asthe iordinary type of labour one finds in the country. They are strangersin the land in which they reside. They have no homes of their own.Very often they cannot return to the land of their origin. If they areto be turned away summarily and thrown on the road their positionindeed would be pitiable. Even their right to obtain their rice ration isattached to an issue of that ration from the particular estate on whichthey are employed. In these circumstances, I think the legal positionis that one can imply a condition that although they can be ejected fromthe line rooms they occupy once their contract of labour is terminated,they can be only so ejected after reasonable notice is given. A period of12 days which was the notice given to this appellant can scarcely besaid to be reasonable in the circumstances of this case. Taking intoaccount all the circumstances of this case, and in particular the conditionsunder which Indian labour suffers in this country, I think a period of atleast 3 months would be reasonable notice.
I therefore hold, that the order ejecting the appellant is illegal as herright to occupy the line room in question has not been legally terminatedby reason of the fact that reasonable notice has not been given.
I therefore allow the appeal of the appellant and set aside the order ofejectment. The appeal is allowed with costs.
PONNUPULLE, Appellant, and OODOOWERRE TEA CO. LTD., Respondent