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RAMSAY v. PATHUMMA.
«.P. G., Kandy, 27,764.
Labour Ordinance, No. 11 of 1865, s. 11—Ordinance No. 13 of 1889, s. 5—Applicability to Moor woman-Ujuitting service without notice.
A Moor woman, whpse name was on the check-roll of an estate andwho received advances of rice and wages, is not liable to be punished,as an Indian cooly, for quitting service, under section 11 of OrdinanceNo. 11 of 1865.*
HE accused was prosecuted for having quitted the service ofMr. Ramsay, the superintendent of Bopitiya estate, ,■ in
breach of section 11 of Ordinance ,No. 11 of 1865. On proof that
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the accused, was a Moor woman, the Magistrate held that shewas not bound by Ordinance No. 11 of 1865 and acquitted theaccused.
The complainant appealed.
Van Langenberg, for appellant.
4th May, 1904. Sampayo, A.J.—
The accused Pathumma, who was a®eooly woman employed inBopitiya estate, was charged with having on the. 15th July, 1908,quitted the service of the complainant, Mr. Ramsay, thesuperintendent of Bopitiya estate, in breach of section IT of theOrdinance No. 11 of 1865. There was no express contract ofservice proved, but the complainant relied on the presumptioncreated by section 5 of Ordinance No. 18 of 1889. It is provedthat the accused’s, name was on the check-roll, that she received.wages up to April and for part of May, and also receivedadvance of rice. But it is also proved that the accused is a Moorby nationality and religion, though the evidence is not verysatisfactory as to whether she came to Ceylon from India orwhether she was a native of Ceylon. The woman herself saidshe was bom at Atturugala-, apparently some place in Ceylon.An extract from the birth register of Kumbalgam palata,Keg alia District, was produced showing that one Pathumma wasbom on 7th September, 1877, of Moorish parents, who thenresided at Mandirikatuwabadda in Alpitiya. But there wasno evidence of identity, nor has the Magistrate^pronounced anyopinion on the evidence as to the accused’s place of birth, .or asto her having come from India. She, however, has admittedlybeen in Ceylon for a great many years, and was married to aMoorman, who was a Tn>tTt of' Gampola and died there last year.The Magistrate, following the decision in Arumugam Cangany v.Saibo (3 Browne, 110), acquitted the accused, as according to thatdecision she was not an Indian cooly, and the presumptioncreated by the above Ordinance, No. 13 of 1889 as to- the contractof service did not apply to her. Mr. Van Langenberg, for the com-plainant, appellant, argued the general question, and also soughtto distinguish this case from the catt cited on the ground that herethere was evidence, which was absent in that case, that thoaccused came from India. Are Moormen, though they comefrom India, commonly known in Ceylon as Indian coolies? Ithink not. There is a huge number of Moors from India who axeemployed as coolies in the vjharf and stores in Colombo andelsewhere, but no one thinks of calling them Indian coolies.They are commonly known as Coast Moormen Wendt, J., in27-
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1904. the case cited, says, “ Moorman is a term that is well understoodMay 4. in Ceylon, and as understood describes a class of persons quiteSampayo, distinct from those commonly known as Indian coolies I do notA.J. rea(j this decision as proceeding upon any distinction as to theplace of origin of the person charged. In the course of thejudgment the remark is made that there was no proof in that casethat the kangany or his gang answered to the description ofIndian coolies. But in this case it is interesting to notice that theKangany Pitche, under whom the accused worked, is a Moorman,and so apparently are some at least of his other coolies. TheMagistrate, who would have held that the accused was an Indiancpoly but for the above authority, says that a very large numberof Moormen are now employed as labourers on estates. That maybe so, but if such was the case when the Ordinance was passed theLegislature would have used more definite terms if Moormenwere intended to be included; and if such was not the case then,there is the more reason for saying that none other than theordinary Tamil coolies were contemplated at all. However thatmay be, I follow the above decision, with which I may say I agree,and I affirm the judgment of acquittal,
RAMSAY v. PATHUMMA