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Madhya Pradesh Mineral Industries Association, Nagpur Vs. the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Bombay - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 333 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1959Bom60; (1959)ILLJ368Bom
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908; Employees' Provident Funds Act, 1952 - Sections 1, 2 and 4; Employees' Provident Funds (Amended) Act, 1956; ;Constitution of India - Articles 14, 226 and 289; Employees' Provident Funds Act, 1932 - Sections 16
AppellantMadhya Pradesh Mineral Industries Association, Nagpur
RespondentThe Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Bombay
Appellant AdvocateA.S. Bobde, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateW.B. Pendharkar, Special Govt. Pleader
Excerpt:
.....though such an establishment or industry is not included in the schedule to the act. - maharashtra scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, de-notified tribes (vimukta jatis), nomadic tribes, other backward classes and special backward category (regulation of issuance and verification of) caste certificate act (23 of 2001), sections 6 & 10: [s.b. mhase, a.p. deshpande & p.b. varale, jj] caste certificate petitioner seeking appointment against the post reserved for member of schedule tribe his caste certificate was invalidated subsequently held, his appointment would not be protected. the observations/directions issued by supreme court in para 36 of judgment in the case of state v millind reported in 2001 91) mah. lj sc 1 is not the law declared by supreme court under article 141 of the..........to manganese mines are not included in schedule i of the act and that industry is therefore not a scheduled industry and consequently the act or any provision thereof cannot be applied.3. under sub-section (3) section 1 of the act as it originally stood, the provisions of the act applied int he first instance to all factories engaged in any scheduled industry in which fifty or more persons are employed. by act 94 of 1956, which received the assent of the president on 28-12-1956, this provision has been amended and in its place we have the following provision:'subject to the provisions contained in section 16, it applied- (a) to every establishment which is a factory engaged in any industry specified in schedule i and in which fifty or more persons are employed, and (b) to any other.....
Judgment:

J.R. Mudholkar, J.

1. This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of writ restraining the respondent NO.1, the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, from enforcing against the petitioner any of the provisions of the Employee's Provident Funds Act, 1952.

2. The petitioner is the Madhya Pradesh Mineral Industry Association and represents all the mine owners of Vidarbha. By Notification No. S.R.O. 2705, dated 17-8-1957, the central Government has applied the Act to manganese mines are not included in Schedule I of the Act and that industry is therefore not a scheduled industry and consequently the Act or any provision thereof cannot be applied.

3. Under Sub-section (3) Section 1 of the Act as it originally stood, the provisions of the Act applied int he first instance to all factories engaged in any Scheduled industry in which fifty or more persons are employed. By Act 94 of 1956, which received the assent of the President on 28-12-1956, this provision has been amended and in its place we have the following provision:

'Subject to the provisions contained in Section 16, it applied-

(a) to every establishment which is a factory engaged in any industry specified in Schedule I and in which fifty or more persons are employed, and

(b) to any other establishment employing fifty or more persons or class of such establishments which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette specify in this behalf.'

4. It is thus clear that the object of the amendment was to empower the Central Government to apply the provisions of The Act to industries other than those specified in Schedule I. This is also made clear in the Statement of Objects and Reasons printed in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Sec. 2. No. 55, dated 23-11-1956. The Objects and Reasons are as follows:

'The Employee's Provident Funds Act, 1952, applied originally to factories engaged in the six industries specified in Schedule I, namely, cement, cigarettes, electrical, mechanical or general engineering products, iron and steel, paper and textiles. Section 4 of the Act provides for the extension of the Act to other factories by a notification in the Official Gazette. Of late, there has been a persistent demand for the extension of provident fund benefits to all industrial workers, and the Act has recently been extended to seventeen additional factor y industries by notification. Section 4, however, provides for application of the Act to factory industries only. There is no provision in the Act enabling its extension to other establishments like plantations, mine, commercial establishments, etc. It is, therefore, proposed to include an enabling provision in the Act to the effect that, subject to the exemptions provided in Section 16,m the Act shall apply to any establishment or class of establishments as may be specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.'

It is quite true that a Court cannot go into the statement of Objects and Reasons for the purpose of limiting the scope of any law or for the purpose of interpreting the law, but where, as here, the Court has to find out what was the object of making the particular law, it is entitled to look into the Statement of Objects and Reasons. We are not going to construe the provision of Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Act in the light of the 'Objects and Reasons,' and the only purpose for which we have quoted the Objects and Reasons is to indicate the reasons which necessitated the amendment of Sub-section (3) of Section 1.

5. When one looks t clauses (a) and (b ) of Sub-section (3) of section 1, it is abundantly clear that the legislators had kept in mind the distinction between an industry specified in Schedule I and an industry not so specified. In the case of an industry specified in Schedule I, Clause (a) provides for the applicability of the Act to the factory engaged therein straightaway, provided fifty or more persons are engaged in that factor y. If, however, an establishment of any other kid employs fifty persons or more, even though that was an establishment or an industry which was not included in the Schedule, the Central Government can, by virtue of the amendment, apply the provisions of the Act thereto by exercising the power under Clause (b). That being the state of the law we cannot accede to the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner to the effect that, it was not competent to the Central Government to apply the provisions of the Act to manganese mines.

6. The next point taken is that the Act is discriminatory, in that Section 16 thereof makes the provision inapplicable to the factories belonging to Government or local authority. It is contended that when the State or local authority engages itself in business, it is 'a person' and as such Article 14 of the Constitution would apply where a special treatment is given to the Government or local authority. In support of the Contention reliance is placed upon the observations of Malik, C.J. in Moti Lal v. U.P. Govt., AIR 257 (FB) . In that case the learned Chief Justice has observed:

'Where a business is carried on by the Government as incidental to its ordinary functions as such, there can be no doubt that Article 14 cannot be relied on in support of the argument that the State should be put on the same footing qua that business as any private citizen. it cannot be seriously urged that a citizen can claim that he must be given the same rights, as the State has to be given for carrying on its functions as such. 'Where, however, a State carries on a commercial undertaking on a competitive basis and where such an undertaking is not incidental to it s ordinary functions of Government, the question, whether the State can claim to be treated differently ...would depend upon the answer to the question whether the State can or cannot be separately classified.'

We would however refer to the further observations of the learned Chief Justice in paragraph 75 of the report:

'If the word 'person' in Article 14 is interpreted to include the State then the provisions of Article 14 would appear to be in conflict with the provision of Article 289. Reading the Constitution as a whole I am inclined to the view that it was not intended that the Government of a State should be placed on the same footing as any person carrying on a business.' These letter observations negative the contention of the learned counsel. It is true that another Judge constituting the Bench (Agarwala J.) has observed that the principles of Article 14 not only apply between individual and individual but also between one individual and a corporation or the State itself, and that 'When the State itself descends into the arena of competition with private person, it must compete with them on equal terms, and not claim preferential treatment.'

This opinion of the learned Judge, however, does not seem to have been accepted by the other judges constituting the Bench. Moreover, the Supreme Court has not countenanced the view taken by the learned Judge. that will be clear from the following observations of their Lordships in Saghir Ahmad v. State of U.P. : [1955]1SCR707

'In our opinion, the argument of Mr. Pathak that the State ceases to function as a State as soon as it engages itself in a trade like ordinary trader cannot be accepted as a sound proposition of law under the Constitution of India.....'

We are therefore of opinion that Article 14 of the Constitution cannot at all be invoked by the petitioner in this case.

7. Upon this view, we dismiss the petition with costs.

8. Petition dismissed.


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