1. Both these matters can be disposed of by one judgment as they arise out of the same subject-matter. By Criminal Application No. 339 of 1952 the Government Pleader has moved this Court that opponents Nos. 1 to 3, viz., Mr. S. K. Irani, an advocate practising in this court, Mr. K. A. Master and Miss Master, have committed contempt of Court and action be taken against them under the Contempt of Courts Act and they be punished. Criminal Application No. 339 of 1962 has been made on the basis of a report made by Mr. A. G. Kotwal, 2nd Addl. Authority under the Payment of Wages Act, Greater Bombay.
2. The facts in brief are:-- Mr. K. A. Master, the second opponent to Criminal Application No. 339 of 1962 had filed an application (Application No. 4492 of 1959) against M/s Jeena and Co. before the Payment of wages. Authority claiming certain amount as wages. This applicaiton was placed for disposal before Mr. A. G. Kotwal, 2nd Addl. Authority under the Payment of Wages Act, Bombay. It appears that the application was filed beyond the period of limitation. On 24th March 1961 Mr. Kotwal after hearing the parties condoned the delay in filing the said application. In due course a stage was reached for recording evidence, and 17th August 1961 was the date fixed for recording evidence. On that day some evidence was recorded and it appears that D. N. Salway, witness for Mr. Master, was in the witness-box by the end of the day. On the next day, i.e., 18th August 1961, an application was mads by Mr. Master asking for time to file an application for declaring Sal way as a hostile witness. The case was adjourned to 22nd August 1961. On this day, Mr. Kotwal also inquired from the parties about the possibility of an amicable settlement of the case, and both the parties expressed their willingness to settle the matter. There was certain talk about the terms of the compromise. There was a suggestion that the amount of wages to be paid by M/s Jeena and Co. to Mr. Master should be left to Mr. Kotwal. There was also a demand on behalf of Mr. Master that not only he should get his wages but he should be reinstated in service. But to this demand of Mr. Master for reinstatement in service, M/s Jeena and co. were not agreeable. On 22nd August the parties informed Mr. Kotwal that the talks for settlement had broken down on the question of reinstatement. Mr. Irani, the first opponent before us, who was appearing as Counsel before the Payment of Wages Authority then, asked for time to file an objection for declaring Sal way as a hostile witness. Mr. Master was directed to file his objection before 16th September 1961 and the other side was directed to file its reply before 13th November 1961 and the case was fixed for further hearing, by mutual consent, on 27th, 28th and 29th of November and 1st of December 1951. Mr. Master, however, did not file the application by the ordered date, but on the other hand, from time to time, asked for further time. On 4th November 1961 the advocates for the parties saw Mr. Kotwal in his chamber, and Mr. Irani informed Mr. Kolwal that Mr. Master was not insisting on the term of reinstatement and, therefore, the settlement was likely because the parties were determined to settle all the disputes. The case was, therefore, first fixed on 13th of November and then adjourned to 27th of November. We should have mentioned earlier that M/s Jeena and Co. were represented by M/s Gagrat and Co. Solicitors and two of their partners, Rustom Gagrat and Jehangir Gagrat were appearing from time to time for M/s. Jeena and Co. We should have also mentioned that Mr. Irani who was appearing as Counsel for Mr. Master, is also his brother-in-law. The third opponent Miss Master is the sister of opponent No. 2 Mr. Master.
3. On 27th of November 1961 the parties and their Counsel appeared before Mr. Kotwal. Miss Master also was present in Court. Mr. Kotwal suggested to the parties to fix amicably the figure of compensation or wages payable to Mr. Master. There was discussion for some time between the parties, but no figures could be agreed to between them. Both the parties informed Mr. Kolwal that he should now fix the figure and neither party should higgle-haggle about it. Mr. Kotwal then asked the parties to address him on the question as to what amount should be paid to Mr. Master. The Advocates for the parties accordingly addressed the Court. Mr. Kotwal then dictated the draft consent terms, leaving the quantum of amount blank. The parties and their advocates read the draft consent terms and approved it. Thereafter a at air draft or those consent terms was prepared leaving the quantum of .amount blank. The fair draft was again read by Counsel for , parties and their advocates. Mr. Kotwal then asked the advocates to sign the consent terms in the fair draft. In the blank left on the fair draft Mr. Kotwal then wrote the figure of Rs. 4,173. The amount as fixed by Mr. Kotwal and written down in the consent terms was made known to the Counsel and the parties who were present. The consent items were then again handed over to Mr. Kotwal who endorsed them as accepted and signed. Thereafter MT. Kotwal proceeded to make the endorsement in roznama of the case. At this stage Miss Master started shouting and tried to snatch the copy Of the consent terms from the Attorney of M/s Jeena and Co. She did not, however, succeed in her attempt. She then approached Mr. Kolwal and attempted to snatch the original consent terms from Mr. Kotwal. She told Mr. Kotwal in an angry fore, 'This settlement is not acceptable to us'. Mr. Kotwal told Mr. Irani, Advocate for Mr. Master, that Miss Master was not concerned in the matter and unless she behaved herself, police would be called in. Thereupon Mr. Master re-quested his sister to leave the Court and eventually Mr. Master took her out of the Court. On 28th November 1962, Mr. Master fitted an application in person before Mr. Kotwal stating therein that the consent terms were not Binding on him and that his application under the Payment of wages Act should be proceeded with on merits. A notice of this application was directed to be issued to M/s Jeena and Co. and the case was taxed for 7th December 1961.
4. On 30th November 1961 Mr. Irani addressed a letter to M/s Gagrat and Co., and copies of that letter have been forwarded to the Chief Justice, High Court, Bombay, the President, Incorporated Law Society, Bombay, the Chairman, Bar Council, Bombay, Mr. Potdar, Payment of Wages Authority, Bombay, M/s Jeena and Co., Bombay, Mr. S. R. Vakil, Solicitor, Mulla and Mulla, Bombay, and the Commissioner of Police, Bombay, for their information and record. A portion of this letter, according to the applicant in Cri. Application No. 339 of 1962, constitutes contempt and Mr. Irani is guilty thereof. The portion complained of is in the following terms:--
'In your (Solicitor's) fraud and cheating my client says you were actively assisted and aided by the Authority, Shri Kotwal, in connivance and collusion of the crime, my client states that there was an apparent criminal conspiracy between you, Jehangir Rustom Gagrat. Rustom Gagrat, Adi Kalgara, Nariman Katgara, partners of Jeena and Co., and the Authority, Shri Kotwal, to cheat and commit fraud on the applicant and thus commit offence against the justice, equity and good conscience and against the whore system and the holy institution of the administration of justice and the misusing of position, powers and authonty. My client accuses you all of these charges and further slates that the aforesaid fraud and criminal conspiracy resulted in the so-called consent terms which are in fact the mirror of a guilty mind and hands behind the crime and offence. My client was successful to give you all a sufficiently long rope to hang yourself and you all did. My client is now taking steps to prosecute you all for your criminal and other liabilities before the proper forurn.
5. On the same day, i.e., on 30th November 1961, Mr. Master sent an application to Mr. Potdar, the head of the administration, Payment of Wages Authority, Bombay, and the following portion in this letter, according to the applicant, constitutes contempt of which Mr. Master is guilty:--
'This is to request you to immediately take in your personal custody complete records together with all the exhibits and all the files of the aforesaid application; ano particularly the original of consent terms, as I am contemplating criminal action against the Authority, Shri Kotwal, in view of his complicity in criminal conspiracy to cheat and defraud in active connivance and collusion of Shri Jenangit Rusotm Gagrat, Rustom Gagrat Solicitors, Adi Katgara and Nariman Katgara, partners of Jeena and Co. I am making an application and approaching the proper authority for sanction for prosecution against Shri Kotwal. l am also filing a petition to the Chief Justice, High Court, Bombay, the Chairman, the Bar Council, Bombay, and to the President, Incorporated Law Society, Bombay, for their complicity in criminal conspiracy, gross professional misconduct and misusing of power, position and authority, which will be proved cent per cent by documentary evidence.'
Copies of this application were forwarded to the other Justice, High Court, Bombay, the Registrar, Appellate Side, High Court, Bombay, the Chairman, Bar Council, Bombay, the President, Incorporated Law Society, Bombay, and the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay, for their informa-tion and record. According to the applicant, the portion reproduced above is of such nature as is bound to shake the faith of the public in the administration of justice. The words far exceed the limits of being either reasonable, bona fide or justifiable or true to facts and there is a deliberate and mala fide attack on the integrity of the Judge. The allegations are made against the Authority in his Judicial capacity and further are entirely baseless, false, deliberate and mala fide. The case against the three opponents before us, in short, is that the portions reproduced above from the two letters written respectively by Mr. Irani and Mr. Master constitute contempt and the act and conduct of Miss Master in trying to snatch the original consent terms from the hands of Mr. Kotwal and the general disturbance created by her in Court on 27th November 1961 constitute contempt.
6. As already stated, the Criminal Application is made after a report had been received from Mr. Kotwal by the Registrar some time in December 1951.
7. We have already stated that Mr. Master had filed an application on 23rd November 1961 before Mr. Kotwal that the consent terms were not binding on him and that the case should be proceeded with on merits. Notice of this application was issued against Ihe other side and the hearing was fixed on 7th December 1961. It appears that on 7th December 1961 neither Mr. Master nor Mr. Irani appeared before the Payment of Wages Authority, M's Jeena and Co. and their Advocate appeared and tendered the amount of Rs. 4,173 in Court, but because Mr. Master had refused to accept that amount, it was directed to be deposited in Court. Mr. Kolwal made the following order:--
'Consent terms carried out. The application No. 4492 of 1959 and the eight companion Application Nos 29/2, 4008, 4802, of 1960 and 147, 695, 1596, 2879, 4229 or 1961 stand disposed of. The application of 28th November 1961 also stands dismissed.'
Mr. Master thereafter filed a writ petition under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India wherein he craved that a writ of certiorari or a writ in the nature of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, direction cr order under Art, 226 of the Constitution of India be Issued to quash and set aside the aforesaid order of 7th December 1961 mads by Mr. Kotwal. The aforesaid two letters of 30th November 1961. one written by Mr. Master and the other by Mr. Irani, were filed along with the writ petition as exhibits. The writ petition came up for admission on 23rd April 1962. A Division Bench of this Court heard the application and noticed the said two letters, and in the opinion of the Division Bench the portions' which we have reproduced above amounted prima facie to gross contempt of court. After hearing Mr. Irani Advocate on the merits of the application, he was asked whether he wished to withdraw the allegations made by him against Mr. Kotwal, and Mr. Irani told the Division Bench that he had made those allegations with full sense of responsibility and that he wished to establish them. Under the circumstances, the Division Bench directed that notice should be issued to Mr. Master and Mr. Irani to show cause why action under the Contempt of Courts Act should not be taken against them for the remarks quoted above, and this is Misc. Civil Application No. 25 of 1962.
8. Before we proceed to deal with the contentions raised before us, it may be at the outset stated that Mr. Rane, Assistant Government Pleader, stated that he does not want to press the application against the third opened namely, Miss Master, inasmuch as the contempt alleged to have been committed by her would be an offence punishable under Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code. It is, therefore, not necessary to consider the case against Miss Master.
9. Before we deal with the case on merits, it is necessary to deal with the two preliminary objections raised by Mr. Irani and Mr. Master. In the first instance, it is their contention that the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act is not a Court. In support of his contention Mr. Irani referred us to Rule 2, clause (c) and (d), of the Payment of Wages (Procedure) Rules, 1937, and Form A and Form D prescribed In the rules, and a decision of the Nagpur High Court reported in M. V. Rajwade v. Dr. S. M. Hassan, ILR 1954 Nag 1: AIR 1954 Nag 71. In short, the submission made Is that the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act is not a Court, the rules themselves make a distinction between a Court and an Authority and refer to the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act as an Authority and the Appellate Tribunal as a Court. Further, it Is the contention of Mr. Irani that this position becomes clear when it is seen that no court-fee is payable on an application filed under the Payment of Wages Act and that it is not the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act that is empowered to execute its orders and all that it can do is to issue directions under the Act. On the other hand, it is tne contention of Mr. Rane that ihe Authority under the Payment of Wages Act is a Court because it gives an authoritative and binding decision after a judicial hearing. In support of his contention Mr. Rane places reliance on Virindar Kumar Satyawadi v. State of Punjab [1956) SCJ 138 : AIR 1955 SC 153 and Brajnandan Sinha v. Jyoti Narain : 1956CriLJ156 .
10. Now, the word 'Court' has not been defined in the Contempt of Courts Act. It would, therefore, be useful to refer to tha definitions of 'Court' mentioned elsewhere. Coke on Littleton and Stroud defined the word 'Court' 'as a place where justice is judicially administered. Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act defines 'Court' as follows :
'Court' includes all Judges and Magistrates, and all persons, except arbitrators, legally authorised to take evidence.'
Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code defines 'Judge' in following terms :
'The word 'Judge' denotes not only every person who is officially designated as a Judge, but also every persoa who is empowered by law to give, in any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, a definitive judgment, or a judgment which, if not appealed against, would be definitive, or a judgment which, if confirmed by some other authority, would be definitive, or who is one of a body of persons, which body of persons is empowered by law to give such a judgment.'
The aforesaid definitions clearly bring out that for an authority to be a Court an essential condition is that it must have power to give a decision or a definitive judgment which has finality or authoritativeness, whether subject to appeal or not. This characteristic, however, is not by itself enough to constitute that authority a Court. The distinction between Courts and Tribunals exercising quasi-judicial functions having trappings of a Court has been pointed out by Venkatarama Ayyar J. in : 1956CriLJ326 as follows:
'There has been considerable discussion in the Courts in England and Australia as to what are the essential characteristics of a Court as distinguished from a Tribunal exercising quasi-judicial functions ..... It is unnecessary to traverse the same ground once again. It may ba stated broadly that what distinguishes a Court from a quasi-judicial Tribunal is that It is charged with a duty to decide disputes in a judicial manner and declare the rights of parties in a definitive judgment. To decide in a judicial manner involves that the parties are entitled as a matter of right to be heard in support of their claim and to adduce evidence in proof of it. And it also imports an obligation on the part of the authority to decide the matter on a consideration of the evidence adduced and in accordance with Law. When a question therefore arises as to whether an authority created by an Act is a Court as distinguished from a quasi-judicial Tribunal, what has to be decided is whether having regard, to the provisions of the Act it possesses all the attributes of a Court.'
The question as to what is a judicial decision has been elaborately considered by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in : 1956CriLJ156 their Lordships observed :
'A true judicial decision presupposes an existing dispute between two or more parties, and then involves four requisites : (1) The presentation (not necessarily orally) of their case by the parties to the dispute; (2) if the dispute between them is a question of fact, the ascertainment of the fact by means of evidence adduced by the parties to the dispute and often with the assistance of argument by or on behalf of the parties on the evidence; (3) if the dispute between them is a question of law, the submission of legal arguments by the parties; and (4) a decision which disposes of the whole matter by a finding upon the facts in dispute and an application of the law of the land to the facts so found, including where required a ruling upon any disputed question of law.'
Bearing these tests In mind, the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act and the rules framed thereunder will have to be considered.
11. As the preamble shows, the Payment of Wages Actis enacted to regulate the payment of wages to certainclasses of persons employed in industry. The Act extends to the whole of India, except Part B States. In the first Instance, the Act was made applicable to payment of wages to persons employed in any factory and to persons employed (otherwise than in a factory) upon any railway by a railway administration or, either directly or through a sub-contractor by a person fulfilling a contract with a railway administration. The Slate Government was empowered, after following the procedure mentioned in Sub-section (5) of Section 1 or the Act, to extend the provisions of the Act or any of them to the payment of wages to any class of persons employed in any industrial establishment or in any class or group of industrial establishments. Section 2 defines 'fac-tory' and 'industrial establishment'. Section 3 casts a responsibility on an employer and certain other persons mentioned in the Section to make payments to persons employed by him or them of all wages required to be paid under the Act. Section 4 requires the employer to fix wags periods. Section 5 prescribes the time of payment of wages. Section 7 enumerates deductions which the employer could make from the wages payable to his employees. Section 8 deals with the power of the employer to impose fine and the limits on his power in respect thereof. Section 9 deals with deductions for absence from duty. Section 10 deals with deductions for damages or loss. Sections 11 to 13 deal with deductions from wages which the employer can make on account of certain acts or defaults on the part of his employee. Section 14 deals with the appointment of Inspectors. The material part of Section 15 is in tne following terms:--
15. (1) The State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette appoint one or more persons to be the authority or authorities to hear and decide for any specified area all claims arising out oi deductions from the wages, or delay in payment of the wages of persons employed or paid in that area.
(1A) A person shall not he qualified for appointment as an authority under this Act unless he is a Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation or any other officer with experience as a Judge of Civil Court or as a stipendiary Judicial Magistrate or as Judge of a Labour Court or as Judicial member of the Industrial Court constituted under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, or as presiding officer of a Tribunal constituted under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
xxxxx(2) Where contrary to the provisions of this Act any deduction has absence made from the wages of an employed person or any payment of wages has been delayed, such person himself, or any legal practitioner or any official of a registered trade union authorised in writing to act on his behalf, or a representative Union registered as such under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, or any Inspector under this Act, or any other person acting with tha per--mission of the authority appointed under Sub-section (1), may apply to such authority for a direction under Sub-section (3) and in case of death of the employed person it shall be lawful for his legal representative to make an application for such direction:
Provided that every such application shall be presented within one year from the date on which the deduction from the wages was made or from the date on which the payment of the wages was due to be made, as the case may be:--
Provided further that any application may be admitted after the said period of one year when the applicant satisfies the authority that he had sufficient cause for not making the application within such period. (3) When any application under Sub-section (2) is entertained, the authority shall Wear the applicant and the employer or other person responsible for the payment of wages under Section 3, or give them an opportunity ot being heard, and, after such further inquiry (if any) as may be necessary, may, without prejudice to any other penalty to which such employer or other person is liable tinder this Act, direct the refund to the employed person or his legal representative as the case may be of the amount deducted or the payment of the delayed wages, together with the payment of such compensation as the authority may think fit, not exceeding ten times the amount deducted in the former case and not exceeding twenty-five rupees-in tne latter and the authority may direct the payment of such compensation in cases where the amount deducted, or the delayed wages are paid by the employer to the employed person or his legal representative before the disposal of the application.'
The proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 15 deals with certain circumstances under which no direction for the payment of compensation should he made in the cases of delayed wages, Sub-section (3-A) deals with the power of the Authority to make conditional attachment of the property of the employer for the satisfaction of any direction that may he given. It provides that an attachment made under this Sub-section shall have the same effect as if made by a competent Civil Court Clause (i) of Sub-section (4) of Section 15 empowers the authority to levy penalty on employees who bring vexatious petitions, and clause (ii) of Sub-section (4) empowers the authority to levy penalty on an employer who compelled the employee to file application under the Payment of Wages Act. Sub-section (5) of Section 15. provides:--
'Any amount directed to be paid under this section may be recovered by the authority as an arrear of land revenue and the authority shall for that purpose be deemed to be a public officer within the meaning of Section 5 of the Revenue Recovery Act, 1890.'
Sub-section (6) of Section 15 empowers the authority to decide question as to whether any person is or is not a legal representative of the deceased employee person. Section 15A (1) provides:--
'15A. (1) In any proceedings under Section 15, the applicant shall not be liable to pay any court-fees (other than fees payable for service of process) In respect of such proceedings: Provided that when the application is presented by an Inspector he shall not be liable We to pay the process fees also.'
Sub-section (2) of Section 15A provides:--
'(2) Where the applicant succeeds in such proceedings the authority hearing the application shall calculate the amount of court-fees which would have been payable by the applicant but for Sub-section (1) and direct the employer or other person responsible for the payment of wages under Section 3 to pay such amount to the State Government Such amount shall, without prejudice to any other mode or recovery, be recovered as an arrear of land revenue.'
Section 16 deals with cases where a single application could be filed in respect of claims from unpaid group. Section 17, which deals with the right of appeal, provides:--
'17 (1) An appeal against an order dismissing either wholly or in part an application made under Sub-section (2) of Section 15 or against a direction made under sub-section (3) or Sub-section (4) of that section may be preferred within thirty days of the date on which the order Of direction was made, in a Presidency-town before the Court of Small Causes and elsewhere before the District Court--
(a) by the employer or other person responsible for the payment of wages under Section 3, if the tots! sum directed to be paid by way cf wages and compensation exceeds three hundred rupees, or
(b) by an employed person, or any legal practitioner or any official of a registered trade union, authorised in writing to act on his behalf, or 3 representative union registered as such under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1948, or any Inspector under this Act, or any other person authorised by an authority to make an application under Sub-section (2) of Section 15, and (in the case of the death of the employed person) by his legal representative, as the ease may be, if the total amount of wages claimed to have been withheld from the employed person, or from the unpaid group to which the employed person belonged, exceeds fifty rupees, or
(c) by any person directed to pay a penalty under sub-section (4) of Section 15:
xxxxx Provided further that, when ths order of direction appealed against was made by any person who holds or has held office of or above the rank of a District Judge or a judicial member of the industrial Court constituted under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, or the presiding officer of a Tribunal constituted under the industrial Disputes Act, 1947, an appeal under this section shall lie to the High Court.
(2) Save as provided in Sub-section. (1), any order dismissing either wholly or in part an application made under Sub-section (2) of Section 15, or a direction made under Sub-section (3) or Sub-section (4) of that section shall be final.
(3) The provisions of Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908 shall be applicable to appeals under this section.' Section 17A(1) deals with power to attach property pending an appeal and Sub-section (2) of Section 17A provides that the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), relating to attachment before judgment under that Code shall, so far as may be, apply to any order for attachment under Sub-section (1). Section 17-B deals with the court-fees payable by the appellant in an appeal under Section 17. Section 18 provides:-- 'Every authority appointed under Sub-section (1) or Section 15 shall have all the powers cf a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, for the purpose of taking evidence and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the production of documents, and every such authority shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of Section 195 and of Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.'
Section 19 empowers the authority to recover the amount of wages from the employer in cases where the direction is given against persons other than the employer mentioned in Section 3 and it is found that no amount could be recovered from them. Sub-section (1) of Section 20 makes contravention of any of the provisions of Section 5 and Sections 7 to 13 punishable witn fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and SUB-SECTION (2) makes contravention of the provisions of Section 4, Section. 8 or Section 25 punishable with tine which may extend to two hundred rupees. Section 21 deals with the procedure in trial of offences mentioned in Section 20. Section 22 reads:--
'22. No Court shall entertain any suit for the recovery of wages or of any deduction from wage in so far as the sum so claimed--
(a) forms the subject of an application under Section 15 which has been presented by the plaintiff and which is pending before the authority appointed under that section or of an appeal under Section 17; or
(b) has formed the subject of a direction under Section 15 in favour of the plaintiff; or
(c) has been adjudged in any proceeding under Section 15 not to be owing to the plaintiff; or
(d) could have been recovered by an application under Section 15.'
Section 23 prohibits contacting out of the provisions of this Act. Section 24 provides that the powers by this Act conferred upon the State Government shall, in relation to railways, mines and oilfields, be powers of the central Government. Section 25 requires the employer to display by notice certain abstracts of the Act. Section 26 deals with tne rule-making power. Sub-section (1) of Section 26 provides that the State Government may make rules to regulate the procedure to be followed by the authorities and Courts referred to in Sections 15 and 17. It may be mentioned that the words 'State Government' in this Sub-section were SUB-situated for the words 'Governor-General in Council' by the Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937. In short, prior to the said order, the power to make rules vested in the Governor-General. The Governor-General had made rules which have continued to be in force with certain modifications made by the State Government from time to time. These rules are called the Payment of Wages (Procedure) Rules, 1937.
12. Rule 2 is the interpretation clause. Clause (c) provided that 'the authority' means the authority appointed under Sub-section (1) of Section 15; and under clause (d) 'the court' means the Court mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section 17 Rule 3 provides that applications under Sub-section (2) of Section 15 by or on behalf of an employed person or group of employed persons shall be made in duplicate in Form A, Form B or Form C, as the case may be, one copy of which shall bear such court-fee as may be prescribed Rule 4 deals with authorisation given to persons who are authorised under Section 15 to act on behalf of an employed person. Rule 6 relates to the hours during which applications and documents could be presented to the authority and enjoins a duty on the authority to endorse on such documents the date of presentation or receipt, as the case may be. Rule 7 provides:--
'7. (1) The Authority may refuse to entertain an application presented under Rule 6, if after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, the Authority is satisfied, for reasons to be recorded in writing that--
(a) the applicant is not entitled to present an application, or
(b) the application is barred by reason of the provisions in the provisos to Sub-section (2) of Section 15, or
(c) the applicant shows no sufficient cause for making a direction under Section 15.
(2) Tha Authority may refuse to entertain an application which is insufficiently stamped or is otherwise incomplete and, if he so refuses, shall return it at once with an indication of ihe detects. If the application is presented again after the defects have been made goon, the date of representation shall be deemed to be the date of presentation for the purposes of the provisos to Subsection (2) of Section 15.'
Rule 8 provides:--
(1) If the application is entertained, the Authority shall call upon the employer by a notice in Form E to appear before him on a specified date together with all relevant documents and witnesses, if any, and shall inform the applicant oi the date so specified.
(2) If the employer or his representative fails to appear on the specified date the Authority may proceed to hear and determine the application ex parte.
(3) If the applicant fails to appear on the specified date, the Authority may dismiss the application;
Provided that an older passed under Sub-rule (2) or Sub-rule (3) may be set aside and the application re-heard on good cause being shown within one month of the date of the said order, notice being served on the opposite party of the date fixed for rehearing.'
Rule 9 deals with the record of proceedings and Sub-rule (3) of that rule requires the Authority to record ihe substance of the evidence in a case where an appeal lies and append it under his signature to the record of direction in Form F. Rule 11 states:--
'11. In exercising the powers of a Civil Court conferred by Section 18 the Authority shall be guided in respect of procedure by the relevant orders of the first Schedule of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, with such alterations as the Authority may find necessary, not affecting their substance, for adapting them to the matter betray him, and save where they conflict with the express provisions of the Act or these rules.'
Rule 12 deals with the procedure in respect of appeals and Rule 13 deals with the Inspection of documents filed with the Authority or the Court as the case may be.
13. Form A is the form in which an application is to be made. Form B is the form for making application on behalf of a group. Form C is tha form of application by an Inspector or person permitted by the Authority or authorises to act. Form D is the certificate of authorisation given to a person or persons to act on behalf of en employee or employees. Form E is the notice for the disposal of application, and the form shows that a notice is issued So the employer to appear and answer the claim of the employee, and further it informs him that the day fixed for his appearance is also the day fixed for the final disposal of the application and, therefore, the employer must produce on that day all the witnesses upon whose evidence and the documents upon which he intends to rely in support of his defence. It further informs him that on his failure to attend on the specified day, the application would be decided ex parte. Form F relates to the record of directions issued by the Payment of Wages Authority, and there is a Note which says that in cases where an appeal lies a separate sheet giving the substance of the evidence re-corded by him has to be attached to this form, in which the details regarding the case and particulars of the direction given are to be mentioned. Form 6 relates to notice to respondent of the day fixed for ihe hearing of the appeal under Section 17 of the Act.
14. The provisions of the Act, the rules and forms, to which we have just made reference, show that the Act has been enacted to regulate the payment of wages to persons employed in an industry or industrial establishment. It requires the employer to fix the wage periods and also the time for payment of wages as provided in the Act. It imposes certain limitations on the power of the employer to make deductions from the wages or to levy tine. It confers a right on an employee to make an application to the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act in case payment of wages has been delayed to him or where deductions not authorised under the Act have been made from his wages. The power conferred on the Authority is not arbitrary, out he is required to hear both ihe employer and the employee and after making inquiry as may be necessary to decide in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The procedure which is prescribed by the rules shows that a notice or the application made by an employee has to be given to the employer requiring him to appear before the Authority on a date fixed by the Authority, to submit to the Authority whatever the employer has to say in answer to the application, to produce documents as well as witnesses on which or on whom he pieces reliance in support of his case. The Act confers a right on the parties to examine witnesses, if they so desire, and it enjoins a duty on tne Authority to examine those witnesses produced by the parties. If the parties desire the aid of the Authority to secure the attendance of ihe witnesses or for the purpose of production of documents, See. 18 of the Act confers a right on the parties in that respect and enjoins a duty on the Authority to aid the parties in that respect. The powers of the Authority in this respect have been made by Section 18 of the Act co-extensive with the powers of the Civil Court. The Authority, after hearing both ihe parties and hearing the evidence tendered by them, is required to give its decision and that decision is made binding on the parties, subject to the result of the appeal in case where an appeal is provided for. Further, Section 22 of the Act constitutes Authority under the Payment of Wages Ad as an exclusive forum where disputes relating to wages could be agitated, and to that extent the powers of the Civil Court have been taken away. It cannot be disputed that every State has a duty to decide disputes between an employer and an employee, when an employee complains that he has not been paid wages which are due to mm in accordance with law. That judicial power of the State has now been, to the extent stated in the Act, vested in ths Authority appointed under the Payment of Wages Act We have already shown that in exercise of that power, the provisions of the Act as well as the rules require tne Authority to act in a judicial manner. These being tna provisions of the Act and ths rules which we have examined above, in our opinion, ihe Authority under the Payment 01 Wages Act possesses all the attributes of a Court, and tne decision given by the Authority satisfies the test of a true judicial decision laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in : 1956CriLJ326 and : 1956CriLJ156 , which we have reproduced above. In our judgment therefore, an Authority constituted under the Payment of Wages Act is a Court within the meaning of the contempt ot Courts Act.
15. it is true that at the time of filing an application an employee is not required to pay court-fees as a plaintiff in a civil suit would be required to pay. It is also true that the directions issued by the Payment of Wages Authority are not executed by the Authority himself, but the amount ordered by the Authority to be paid is recovered as arrears of land revenue. It is also true that the Authority constituted under the Payment of Wages Act is termed as an Authority and not as a Court. But these factors are not decisive to hold that the decision given by the Authority is not a judicial decision or that the Authority is not a Court. The decision in ILR 1954 Nag 1: AIR 1954 Nag 71 on which reliance is placed by Mr. Irani, is, in our opinion, or little assistance to him. The question that arose for consideration there was whether a Commission under Section 4 or the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, was a Court or not within the meaning of the Contempt of Courts Act, and it was held that it was not a Court. The reason given therefore was that the least characteristic that is required of a Court is the capacity to deliver a 'definitive judgment' and that test was not fulfilled in the case of a Commission appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the report made by the Commission not being a definitive judgment and not binding on the parties. We have already shown that the decision given by the Authority appointed under the Payment of Wages Act is a definitive judgment.
16. The next contention raised by Mr. Irani is that even assuming that the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act is a Court, it is not a Court subordinate to this Court and, therefore, this Court cannot take cognizance of contempt of the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act. Now, the expression 'Court subordinate to the High Court' has been considered by a Division Bench of this court in Lakhama Pesha v. Venkatrao : AIR1955Bom103 . The question that arose for consideration there was whether cognizance could he taken by the High Court of a contempt committed of the Chief Judge of the small Causes Court as a persona designata under the City of Bombay Municipal Act, 1388, and this Court held that it is open to the High Court to take cognizance of it and take action against the person who committed that contempt as if the contempt had been committed of the High Court itself. On page 827 of the report (Bom LR): (at p. 105 of AIR) the learned Chief Justice, who delivered the judgment, observed:--
'Now the subordination contemplated by Section 3 is a judicial subordination and there can bs no doubt that the Chief Judge, although he is a persona designata, is a Tribunal which would fall within the purview and ambit of Article 227. Therefore, the High Court can exercise judicial supervision against the Chief Judge and can judicially interfere with his decisions in proper cases. The distinction . has been drawn in various authorities between a court ana a Tribunal, but these decisions have approached the question from the point of view of whether the particular authority is a Court subordinate to the High Court and in considering that what has been emphasised is the judicial subordination of the authority. If, therefore, the Chief Judge constitutes a Tribunal which is judicially subordinate to the High Court, there is no reason or principle on which any distinction can be drawn between a civil Court which is subordinate to the High Court and a Tribunal which is subordinate to the High Court under Article 227 of tha Constitution. It is unnecessary, in our opinion, to restrict the meaning of the expression 'Court subordinate to the High Court' used in Section 3. All that section requires is that there must be an authority exercising judicial powers and further that that authority must be judicially subordinate to the High Court. Both the conditions are satisfied in the case of the Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court. He is undoubtedly an authority exercising judicial functions and he is also, as already pointed out, judicially subordinate to the High Court. Therefore, if a contempt is committed of the Chief Judge as a persona designata under the Municipal Act, it is open to the High Court to take cognizance of it and to take action against the person who committed that contempt as if the contempt had been committed of the High Court itself.'
We are bound by this decision, of a Division Bench of this Court. We have already held that the Authority, under the Payment of Wages Act is an authority exercising judicial powers. There is no dispute that this Court has jurisdiction and power to correct the decision given by the Authority by judicially supervising it in exercise of its powers under Article 227 of the Constitution. In fact, Mr. Master had filed an application under Article 227 of the Constitution against the decision of the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act to get quashed the order made by the Authority Following the above decision we hold that the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act is a Court subordinate to this Court within the meaning of Section 3 of the contempt of Courts Act. A similar view also is taken by a majority of Judges of the Allahabad High Court deciding Ram Saran Tewari v. Raj Bahadur Varma and Ors., : AIR1962All315 , where it has been held that Nyaya Panchayats established under the U. P. Panchayat Raj Act, 1947, are Courts, and that they arc courts subordinate to the High Court within the meaning of Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952.
17. The next question that arises for consideration is whether the first and the second opponents or either of them have committed contempt of the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act by waiting the two letters mentions above, which have been circulated amongst certain persons. We have already reproduced the relevant portions of the two letters above. We will first deal with the letter written by Mr. Irani on 30th November 3961. In this letter Mr. Irani has alleged criminal conspiracy between Jehangir Rustom Gagrat, Rustom Gagrat, Adi Katgara, Nariman Katgara, partners of M/s Jeena and Co., and the Authority Mr. Kotwal to cheat and commit fraud on Mr. Master and thus committing offence against justice, equity and good conscience and against the whole system and the holy institution or the administration of justice and the misusing of position, power and authority. The Authority is accused of these charges. The letter further goes on to say that the consent terms were brought by practising fraud and criminal conspiracy alleged in the letter. Now, Jehangir Rustom Gagrat and Rustom Gagrat are partners of a Solicitor's firm, M/s Gagrat and Co. appearing for M/s Jeena and Co., against whom Mr. Master lodged a claim under the Payment of Wages Act. We have already stated that Mr. Master on the one hand and M/s Jeena and Co. on the other had agreed to settle the matter amicably and they left tha determination of the amount of compensation to be paid to Mr. Master to the Authority, and the Authority had, after hearing both the sides, decided the figure at Rs. 4173. The fraud and criminal conspiracy alleged in the letter portion of which has been reproduced above, relates to the determination of this figure. In other words, the Authority has been accused of dishonest behaviour in the discharge of its judicial function. There cannot be any doubt that the portion of the letter complained against constitutes contempt, which is known as contempt by scandalising the Court. It is indeed true that this letter mentions that it is written under instructions of Mr. Irani's client Mr. Master, suggesting that whatever has been stated is at the instance of Mr. Master. But then a Counsel appearing for a client has a responsibility in cases where his client wants him to allege fraud and dishonesty on the part of the court in the discharge of its judicial functions, and he has to exercise due care in such matters and cannot escape the responsibility simply by saying that what has been done was under instructions from his client. Here Were is further evidence that the letter does not appear to be merely under instructions from his client for the purpose of the case. We have already shown that the letter has been circulated to various persons including the Chief Justice, High Court, the Chair-man, Bar Council, the President, Incorporated Law society, the Commissioner of Police, etc. Obviously the object appears to be to undervalue the confidence in the Authori-ty, Mr. Kotwai amongst the members of the Bar and amongst the Solicitors. The letter is calculated to undervalue the confidence of persons moving in the legal world in Mr. Kotwai. Further, when we asked Mr. Master to argue as regards the contents of his letter, Mr. Master stated before us that it was written as advised by Mr. Irani. May be perhaps Mr. Master now wharfs to shift the responsibility to the shoulders of Mr. Irani. May be, having regard to the relationship between the two, what Mr. Master says is true. However, as it appears from the order made by a Division Bench of this Court is Special Civil Appln No. 412 ot 1962 (Bom) (for admission), the Division Bench had asked Mr. Irani, after hearing him on the merits of the application, whether he wished to withdraw the allegations made against the Payment of Wages Authority, and he told the Division Bench that ho had made those allegations with a full sense of responsibility and that he wished to establish them. It does, therefore, appear that tne allegations mads in the letter were not merely under instructions from the client.
18. Turning to the letter written by Mr. Master, dated 30th November 1961, it is also of a similar nature. It alleges complicity in a criminal conspiracy on the part of Mr. Kotwal in collusion with Jehangir Rustom Gagrat, Rusotm Gagrat, Adi Katgara and Nariman Katgara, partners of M/s Jeena and Co., and the object of the criminal conspiracy was to cheat and defraud Mr. Master. This letter is addressed to Mr. Potdar, the Head of the Administration, Payment of Wages Authority, requesting him, for the reasons mentioned above, to immediately take in his personal custody complete records together with all the exhibits and all the files of the application. Copies of this letter also have been forwarded to various authorities mentioned above. This letter alleges dishonesty on the part of Mr. Kotwal in discharge, of his judicial functions, and it has been circulated amongst the various authorities obviously with a view that the judicial world should lose confidence in the integrity of Mr. Kotwal in discharging his judicial functions. In respect of this letter Mr. Master stated before us that he had written it at the instructions of Mr. Irani. Mr. Irani, however, has not accepted the position. We have already stated that possibly Mr. Master now wants to shift the blame on Mr. Irani. It is also possible that having regard to the relationship, the letter has been written at the instance of Mr. Irani. However, it is not possible to say clearly in respect of this letter that it was written at the direction of Mr. Irani. Mr. Master cannot escape responsibility for writing this letter merely by saying that he had written it at the instructions of Mr. Irani. The con-tents of this letter also constitute contempt by scandalising the Court. In Brahma Prakash Sharma v. State of UP : 1954CriLJ238 their Lordships observed:--
'There are indeed innumerable ways by which attempts can be made to hinder or obstruct the due administration of justice in Courts. One type of such interference is found in cases where there is an act or publication which 'amounts to scandalising the Court itself', an expression which is familiar to English lawyers since the days of Lord Hard wick. This scandalising might manifest itself in various ways but, in substance, it is an attack on individual Judges or the Court as a.whole with or without reference to particular cases, casting unwarranted and defamatory aspersions upon the character or ability of the judges. Such conduct is punished as contempt for this reason that it tends to create distrust in the popular mind and impair the confidence of the people in the Courts which are of prime importance to the litigants in the protection of their rights and liberties.'
We have discussed above that the contempt committed by Mr. Irani and Mr. Waster falls within the principle laid down by their Lordships, which we have reproduced above.
19. Mr. Irani in the course of his arguments made a request to us that we should give him an opportunity to cross-examine Mr. Kotwai, Mr. Jehangir Gagrat, Mr. Rustom Gagrat, Mr. Adl Katgara, Mr. Nariman Katgara, the judicial clerk of Mr. Kotwai, Mr. Thakkar, clerk of M/s Gagrat and Co., and Mr. Mehta, the Authority who first dealt with the case, so as to enable him to show that whatever has been stated either by him or Mr. Master in the letters is true. A plea of justification itself aggravates contempt, as hem by a Full Bench of the Lahore High Court in In re, K. L. Gaubs, AIR 1942 Lah 105. The Supreme Court has observed in : 1954CriLJ238 .
'It may be that pleas of justification or privilege are not strictly speaking available to the defendant in contempt proceedings.'
In order to ascertain whether there was any real grievance and whether it was really necessary to examine these wit-nesses, we asked both Mr. Irani as well as Mr. Master to state facts on affidavit so as to enable us to see whether there was any necessity of giving an opportunity ot cross-examining these witnesses. At the request of Mr. Master and Mr. Irani, we adjourned the case on 27th November 1962. However, no affidavits have been filed either by Mr. Master or Mr. Irani when the case was taken up again on 4th December 1982. On that day Mr. Irani raised a contention that the Government Pleader who has filed the application in this Court for taking action against tne opponents had not filed an affidavit in support of the facts stated in the petition. The contention, in our opinion, in the circumstances of the case, is without any merit. That application is founded on a report made by the Authority under tha Payment of Wages Act to the Registrar of the High Court on 27th December 1961. Now, where an application to take action under Contempt of Courts Act is made on a report made by the Authority concerned, it is not essential that it should bo supported by an affidavit. After arguing the case for some time, Mr. Irani further requested that we should again adjourn the case to enable Mr. Irani to file an affidavit. We did not grant him any further adjournment, having regard to his conduct in this Court. This case has come up for hearing before the Court a number of times and had been adjourned from time to time at the request of Mr. Irani to enable him to da one thing or the other. But even after taking adjournments from the Court Mr. Irani has not done the things for which he had taken adjournments. It appears that when the case came up for hearing on 16th October 1962 before another Bench, it was adjourned to enable Mr. Irani and Mr. Master to engage a Counsel to conduct the case on their behalf. Adjournment was granted, but Counsel was, not engaged. When the case came up before us on 5th November 1962, it was argued for some time and then Mr. Irani requested for an adjournment to enable him to look up the case law on the subject, and the case was adjourned to 22nd November 1962. On that day the case was argued for nearly 3 to 4 hours and then it was adjourned to 27th November to enable Mr. Irani to engage a Counsel. On the 27th November Counsel was not engaged. He again argued the case himself for a considerably long time and then took time to file an affidavit. No affidavit has been filed. In these circumstances, we did not accede to We request or Mr. Irani that further time should be granted to him I enable him to file an affidavit. The application of the Government Pleader that action be taken against opponents Nos. 1 and 2 has been served on both of them a long time back. Mr. Irani is an advocate and knows the normal procedure of the Court, and if he was really desirous of filing an affidavit he could easily have done so at a much earlier stage.
20. In the result, we hold that both Mr. Irani as well as Mr. Master have committed contempt of the Authority under the Payment of Wages Act, namely, Mr. A. G. Kotwal, and have committed contempt of that Authority as a Court under the Contempt of Courts Act. We punish Mr. Irani by Imposing on him a fine of Rs. 500/- and we punish Mr. Master by imposing on him a fine of Rs. 200/-. Mr. Irani and Mr. Master, shall pay the costs of this application.
21. Mr. Irani and Mr. Master pray that they may be granted one month's time to pay the fine. We grant the... fifteen days time to pay the fine.
22. Fines imposed.