1. All these applications were admitted on the question of sentence. Under Section 41 of the Indian Factories Act, XII of 19.11, if any person is employed or allowed to work contrary to any of the provisions of this Act, the occupier and manager shall be jointly and severally liable to a line which may extend to Rs. 200. In these cases it has, been found that 12 different persons were employed or allowed to work contrary to the provisions of the Act, and in respect of each offence the manager and occupier have been separately sentenced. The total fine inflicted on both comes to Rs. 300 for each offence; and the argument for the applicants is that under the section the occupier and manager are jointly and severally liable to a fine not exceeding Rs. 200. On the other hand it is argued that the occupier and manager are severally liable under the section to pay the maximum fine laid down in the section. This is a penal section, and in my opinion it ought to be construed strictly. The natural interpretation of the clause relating to the penalty seems to be that the occupier and manager both or either of them can be required to pay a fine which may extend to Rs. 200, but that between the two they cannot be required to pay any sum exceeding Rs. 200 for each offence. It seems to me therefore that the applicants' contention on this point must be allowed.
5. It is further urged on behalf of the applicants that the sentences even then would be unduly severe. That contention I have no hesitation in rejecting. It was for the trial Court to inflict appropriate fines having due regard to the circumstances of the case; and subject to the maximum prescribed under the section I am not prepared to hold that the discretion has been improperly exercised.
6. The result is that for each offence in all these applications we reduce the fine, which the occupier, petitioner No. 1, is required to pay from Rs. 200 to Rs. 100. The effect of this modification in the sentences will be that for the employment of 12 different persons, between the occupier and the manager they will have to pay in all a fine of Rs. 2,400.
7. The excess of fine, if paid, should be refunded.
8. I agree.