1. The petitioner, who is the managing partner of Jaleel Beedi Works, has filed this petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution praying that this Court may be pleased to call for the records in Calendar Case Nos. 2295 and 2296 of 1962 on the file of respondent 4 and quash the proceedings by issuing a writ of certiorari.
2. The material facts of the case are as follows. Respondents 1 and 2 claim to be the employees in Jaleel Beedi Works. Their grievance is that the wages due to them have not been paid. Therefore, they applied to respondent 3 to determine the wages due to them. Respondent 3 purported to go into that question and decided that the Jaleel Beedi Works should pay to respondent 1 a sum of Rs. 800 and respondent 2 a sum of Rs. 300. The order of respondent 3 is marked as annexure D in this case. On the strength of that order, respondents 1 and 2 approached respondent 4 under Sub-section (5) of S. 15 of the Payment of Wages Act, for executing the order in question and recovering the amount due. Respondent 4 is taking steps in that regard.
3. The main question for decision is, whether respondent 3 had jurisdiction to go into the dispute between the parties. Claims arising out of delay in payment of wages have to be determined under Sub-section (1) of S. 15 of the Payment of Wages Act. That section reads :
'The State Government may, by notification in the official gazette, appoint any Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation or other officer with experience as a Judge of a civil Court or as a stipendiary magistrate to be the authority to hear and decide for any specified area all claims arising out of deductions from the wages, or delay in Payment of the wages of persons employed or paid in that area.'
4. The area with which we are concerned in this case, is the Madhugiri area. The Government by its notification dated 23 May 1959 has appointed the Special First-class Mistrate, Madhugiri, as the authority to act under S. 15(1). Our attention has not been invited to any notification issued by the Government under which the labour officer, Bangalore (respondent 3) had been notified as the authority under that provision. Hence, we have to hold that the order passed by the labour officer, Bangalore, marked annexure D in this case, is an order without the authority of law and the same is void.
5. As the order in question is a void order respondent 4 could not have entertained the application of respondent 1 and 2 under Sub- section (5) of S. 15 for recovering the amount alleged to be due to them. Sub-section (5) of S. 15 says :
'Any amount directed to be paid under this section may be recovered
(a) if the authority is a magistrate, by the authority, as if it were a fine imposed by him as magistrate, and
(b) if the authority is not a magistrate, by any magistrate to whom the authority makes application in this behalf, as if it were a fine imposed by such magistrate.'
6. As mentioned earlier, 'authority' in this case is the Special First-class Magistrate, Madhugiri. That authority has not passed any order under Sub-section (1) of S. 15. Consequently, there is no order under Sub-section (1) of S. 15. The existence of a valid order under Sub-section (1) of S. 15 is a condition precedent for initiating proceedings under Sub-section (5) of S. 15. That condition having not been satisfied, there can be no recovery proceedings.
7. For the reasons mentioned above, this writ petition is allowed. The order made by respondent 3 and marked as annexure D in this case, as well as proceedings before respondent 4 are quashed. No costs.