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Inclusion Of Anganwadi Workers And Helpers Under The Payment Of Gratuity Act 1972 Is A Must: SC

Yashvardhan Gullapalli ,
  06 July 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Civil Appeal No (S). 3153 of 2022

Case Title:
Mani Maganbhai Bhariya Vs District Development Officer Dahod & Ors.

Date of Order:

JusticeAjay Rastogi; Justice Abhay S. Oka

Mani Maganbhai Bhariya – Petitioner
District Development Officer Dahod & Ors – Respondent


  • Highlighting the plight of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers throughout the country, their extremely low wages which are not directly proportional to their importance in implementing various government schemes and welfare programs, it was ruled by the Supreme Court that they fall under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.


  • Whether the workers termed as ‘Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ under the Integrated Child Development Scheme are entitled to a certain amount of gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.


  • The District Development Officer filed a writ petition out of which the current appeal stems, filed as a search for an exception to the directions issued by the Controlling Authority under the 1972 act.
  • Along with the decisions of the Controlling Authority and the Appellate Authority, it was found that the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers are entitled to Gratuity under the 1972 Act.
  • A single Judge Bench of the Gujrat High Court dismissed the orders of both the authorities in a Letters Patents Appeals filed before the Division Bench. It was established in the judgment that Anganwadi Helpers and Workers are not employees of the organizations they work for as laid out in section 2 (e) of the 1972 Act and the schemes like ICDS cannot be given the status of industries.
  • It was ruled that any form of renumeration or honorarium cannot be granted to them under section 2 (s) of the 1972 Act and that they are not entitled to Gratuity. This decision of the High Court has been challenged in the appeal before the Hon’ble Bench.

Arguments Advanced by the Appellants

  • The learned counsel for the petitioner reminded the court that the 1972 act is social security legislation that provides security welfare in situations of unemployment caused due to incapacity to work in cases of old age, etc.
  • Borrowing observations made in the case of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board v. A. Rajappa and othersit was presented before the court that Anganwadi Centres organize systematic and coordinated activity requiring cooperation between the employees and employer which fits into the definition of an Industry under Section 2 (j) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  • It is not sufficient that the monthly compensation for AWWs is designated as an honorarium. The term "wages" has a relatively broad definition under Section 2(s) of the 1972 Act, which encompasses both groups. AWHs and AWWs work full-time jobs that involve several responsibilities for women and children. In the matter of Jaya Bachchan v. Union of India and others, this Court's ruling was referred.
  • Arguments Advanced by the Respondents
  • It was argued that the term "establishment" employed in the 1972 Act presumes some kind of economic activity, citing a ruling by this Court in the case of Bangalore Turf Club Limited v. Regional Director, Employees' State Insurance Corporation 16. She argued that the compensation given to AWWs should be classified as an honorarium rather than pay
  • According to the Gujarat Act's definitions of "commercial establishments" and "establishments," ICDS is not an establishment because it doesn't conduct any business, trade, or profession, or any activity related to, incidental to, or supplementary to those activities.


  • Justice Abhay S. Oka reiterated the importance of the Anganwadi workforce and highlighted the negligible compensation they are paid for rendering such indispensable services to the public. He also expressed the need for the Central Government to turn its attention toward the plight of these workers.
  • It was further held by Justice Ajay Rastogi that the Anganwadi workers are the ground workforce in implementing various child nutrition schemes of the government.
  • Additionally, Justice Rastogi pointed out that because the AWWs and AWHs do not have civil positions, they are not eligible for the normal salaries and other benefits that are provided to State employees. On the flimsy pretext that they are part-time volunteer workers who only labor for roughly four hours a day, they receive nothing in the way of a salary and are instead given a so-called meager "honorarium" (far lower than the minimum salaries).


It was finally held that the Payment of Gratuity Act of 1972 would apply to all the Anganwadi Centres, acknowledging their invaluable contribution to our society.

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