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Diwan Sugar and General Mills (Private) Ltd. and ors. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (Through Secretary, Labour a Department) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)IILLJ706All
AppellantDiwan Sugar and General Mills (Private) Ltd. and ors.
RespondentState of Uttar Pradesh (Through Secretary, Labour "a" Department) and ors.
Excerpt:
- - the inspector of factories after inspecting the factory submitted an inspection note dated 17 february 1959 and there he clearly stated that the strength of the workers had increased above 1,000 from december 1958 and that, therefore, the grade of respondent 3 should be revised. it is well-settled that it is not necessary to afford an opportunity to a party to be heard at every stage of a proceeding, the opportunity was afforded to the petitioners when the enquiry was made by the inspector of factories. the petitioners were not entitled to a further opportunity before the state government actually made the order under rule 6. the first contention of the petitioners must, therefore, fail......says that no reply was received to its letter, but that subsequently on 14 april 1960, the state government made an order under rule 6 of the uttar pradesh factories welfare officers rules, 1955, revising the grade of respondent 3 from grade iii to grade ii with effect from 1 december 1958. the validity of this order has been impugned by the instant writ petition.2. three grounds have been taken by the petitioners. it is said that the state government did not afford an opportunity to the petitioners to be heard in the matter before making an order revising the grade of respondent 3 from grade iii to grade ii. it is also said that out of the 1,037 worker alleged to be the workers of the factory 124 fell outside the ambit of rule 6. finally, it is alleged that the impugned order is.....
Judgment:

R.S. Pathak, J.

1. Petitioner 1 has a factory in which it employs a large number of workers. Under the Uttar Pradesh Factories Welfare Officers Rules, the occupier of every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed is obliged to appoint a welfare officer. A welfare officer belongs to one of three grades-grade I where the factory ordinarily employs 2,500 or more workmen per day; grade II where the factory ordinarily employs from 1,000 to 2,499 workmen per day and grade III, where the factory ordinarily employs from 500 to 999 workmen per day. The petitioner appointed respondent 3, B. F. Singh, as welfare officers, and he was assigned grade III on the footing that the factory did not employ more than 999 workers per day. The Bald respondent subsequently represented that as the daily labour force ordinarily employed by the petitioner in Its factory had risen above 1,000, he was entitled to be placed In grade II. The Inspector of Factories visited the factory and, It appears, after examining Its records, came to the conclusion that the strength of the labour force had increased above 1,000 from December 1958, and accordingly by his inspection note dated 17 February 1959, he pointed out that the grade of respondent 3 was liable to be revised. In this behalf, the Inspector of Factories wrote on 21 March 1959 to the petitioner enquiring whether the grade of respondent 3 had been revised. On 10 April 1959, the petitioner replied to the Inspector of Factories, asserting that the strength of the labour force was below 1,000 and that, therefore, no question of revision of the grade of the labour welfare officer arose. It specifically pointed out that the list of workers taken by the Inspector of Factories during his last inspection included the contractor's labour and temporary workers and these should not have been included while determining the strength of the labour force for the purpose of determining the grade to which respondent 3 was entitled. The petitioner says that no reply was received to its letter, but that subsequently on 14 April 1960, the State Government made an order under Rule 6 of the Uttar Pradesh Factories Welfare Officers Rules, 1955, revising the grade of respondent 3 from grade III to grade II with effect from 1 December 1958. The validity of this order has been impugned by the instant writ petition.

2. Three grounds have been taken by the petitioners. It is said that the State Government did not afford an opportunity to the petitioners to be heard in the matter before making an order revising the grade of respondent 3 from grade III to grade II. It is also said that out of the 1,037 worker alleged to be the workers of the factory 124 fell outside the ambit of Rule 6. Finally, it is alleged that the impugned order is illegal and without jurisdiction.

3. The impugned order was made by the State Government under Rule 6, which reads :

Notwithstanding anything contained in Rule 3 (which requires the occupier of every factory employing 500 or more workers to appoint a welfare officer), the grade of a welfare officer may be revised and his pay refixed in the appropriate grade by the State Government, whenever there is such increase or decrease in the number of workers of the factory as to justify a revision of the grade.

4. Now, from the terms of Rule 6 and the nature of the power exercised by the State Government thereunder, it does appear that the jurisdiction of the State Government is quasi-judicial in nature. The State Government has power to make an order which can affect the financial liability of the occupier of the factory. The order must be made having regard to a certain basis and that is the increase or decrease in the number of workers of the factory which would justify a revision of the grade. The range in the number of workers which would justify a revision from grade III to grade II is indicated by Rule 3, and in the instant case when revising the grade of respondent 3 accordingly, the State Government was bound to afford an opportunity to the petitioners to be heard in the matter.

5. It appeals, however, from the facts contained in the affidavits before me that an opportunity was afforded to the petitioners to explain why the grade of respondent 3 should not be revised from grade III to grade II. The Inspector of Factories after inspecting the factory submitted an Inspection note dated 17 February 1959 and there he clearly stated that the strength of the workers had increased above 1,000 from December 1958 and that, therefore, the grade of respondent 3 should be revised. The attention of toe petitioners was drawn to this when the Inspector of Factories wrote to the petitioners on 21 March 1959. The petitioners then submitted their reply and therein stated that the strength of the workers was still below 1,000. In this connexion, the petitioners pointed out that the list of workers taken by the Inspector of Factories during his last Inspection included the contractor's labour and the temporary workers who should not have been included when calculating the strength of the workers for the purpose of determining the grade of respondent 3. It was open to the petitioners to give a detailed explanation disclosing material on the basis of which they asserted that the list of workers included contractor's labour and temporary workers. That opportunity was available to the petitioners. It does not appear, however, that the petitioners availed of the opportunity. Paragraph 24 of the counter-affidavit filed by respondent 3 states that the Inspector of Factories had made full enquiries for about two years from the petitioners in respect of the claim of respondent 3 for revision of his grade. Paragraph 8 (b) of the counter-affidavit filed by the Inspector of Factories shows that the fact that the petitioners employed more than 1,000 workers from 1 December 1958 was gathered by him from the inspection of the petitioners' records relating to the factory. It was upon the basis of all this material that the State Government came to the conclusion that the grade of respondent 3 should be revised. It was not necessary for the State Government to extend any further opportunity to the petitioners to show cause against the revision of the grade of respondent 3. The Inspector of Factories had made an enquiry into the matter, and the petitioners were aware of the enquiry. Not only were they aware of the enquiry but they also filed an objection to the strength of the labour force determined by the Inspector contending that the list of workers was incorrect because it included contractor's labour and temporary workers. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the principles of natural justice have been contravened. It is well-settled that it is not necessary to afford an opportunity to a party to be heard at every stage of a proceeding, The opportunity was afforded to the petitioners when the enquiry was made by the Inspector of Factories. The petitioners were not entitled to a further opportunity before the State Government actually made the order under Rule 6. The first contention of the petitioners must, therefore, fail.

6. The argument that 124 workers out of 1,937 fell outside the ambit of Rule 6 was a matter for the consideration of the State Government. In any event, the material upon which it is alleged that these 124 workers were not employed by the petitioners has been controverted in the counter-affidavits filed by the Inspector of Factories and respondent 3, There is, therefore, a dispute on facts before me, and the dispute Is of a nature which cannot conveniently be resolved upon a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

7. The third contention that the order is illegal and without jurisdiction is general In its terms and no specific ground is Indicated upon which that contention can be sustained, beyond those already considered in the first and second contentions. No defect of jurisdiction or manifest error of law has been shown to me.

8. In the circumstances, the petition fails. It is dismissed with costs.


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