1. These are five revision petitions in five different cases arising out of convictions of Mr. N.K. Chitnis, Engineer and Manager, Hukumchand Mills Ltd., Indore for offences under Sections 51 and 52 of Indian Factories Act No. LXIII of 1948 as applied to Madhya Bharat. He was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 150/- in respect of each of the offences aforesaid in each case.
2. Appeals preferred against this decision of Additional City Magistrate, Indore, who was the trying Magistrate, were dismissed by the Sessions Judge, Indore.
3. The accused has preferred these five different revision petitions to this Court and they are all being heard and disposed of together by a single judgment as the question involved in all of them is the same.
4. The facts which gave rise to the present prosecutions are undisputed, They are that on 15th of May 1951, Factory Inspector inspected the said Mills and he found that the said Mill continued to work for over an unbroken period of 10 days i.e. from 27th April 1951 to 8th May 1951 in its five departments of warping, winding, sizing, folding and dyeing and the workers therein were required to work contrary to the provisions of Sections 51 and 52(1)(a) of the Indian Factories Act, 1948 as applied to Madhya Bharat by being made to work for more than 48 hours a week and for being made to work for over an unbroken period of 10 days.
5. He therefore submitted five different complaints one in respect of each of the departments, wherein the transgression took place, in respect of workers working therein, against the petitioner Mr. N.K. Chitnis the Manager of the said Mills among others.
6. The accused submitted a written statement. He was asked whether he pleaded guilty in each case whereupon he admitted the guilt and acting on his plea of guilty the accused was convicted in each of the cases and was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 150/- in respect of each of the two charges in each case.
7. The accused preferred an appeal and ordinarily no appeal would have lain against the conviction except as to the extent or legality of the sentence. The appeals however were entertained and dismissed by the Sessions Judge after repelling the contention raised on behalf of the accused that conviction could only be had in one case in respect of the entire factory (Mills) considered as a unit and not in respect of each of the departments of the said factory.
8. The accused has preferred these revision petitions against his conviction in all the five cases and it is prayed that the conviction should only be confined to one case and in the rest of the cases the accused be acquitted.
9. If no offence is legally made out on the prosecution case taken at its highest then perhaps revision petitions can be entertained but where such is not the case it is difficult to entertain petition for revision where conviction proceeds on a plea of guilty and no question of legality or extent of sentences is involved.
10. The point urged by Mr. Bhalerao for the petitioner is that having regard to the wording of Section 92 on which the conviction is based the contravention which is made penal is in respect of the factory treated as a single unit and this Section cannot be used distributive in respect of the cases of individual workers or cases of different departments. In this connection, he brought to my notice provision of Section 4 of the Act which authorizes the State Government to direct by an order in writing that different departments or branches of a specified factory shall be treated as separate factory or for all or any of the purposes of the Act and as in this case no such thing is done different departments of the factory y cannot be treated as a separate factory and the Manager of the Factory i.e. the Mill cannot be held guilty separately for each of the departments of the Mills. He further brought to my notice the provisions in the earlier Aft where the penal provision is differently worded and it is laid down that the transgression of the provisions of the Act in respect of the individual workers was penal.
11. On giving careful thought to the contentions raised by the Learned counsel I am inclined to hold that having regard to the provisions of Sections 51 and 52 read with Section 92 of the Indian Factories Act there is hardly any material departure in the earlier provisions and those in the present Act pertaining to the point involved in these cases.
12. Section 51 lays down:
that no adult worker shall be required to work in a factory for more than forty-eight hours in a week.
13. Section 52(1)(a) lays down:
that no adult worker shall be required to work in a factory on the first day (Sunday) of the week unless he has or will have a holiday for a whole day on one of the three days immediately before or after the said day.
14. Section 92 lays down (omitting portion not material for the present purpose):
If in, or in respect of any factory there is any contravention of any of the provisions of the Act the Manager of the factory shall be guilty of an offence and punishable with imprisonment for the term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or with both.
Thus by reading these three Sections together a contravention in respect of each worker in a factory has been made punishable under Section 92 and the use of the words 'in respect of the factory' cannot have the effect of confining it to the cases not of individuals but of factory considered as a unit.
15. In this case, no doubt the complaints, fortunately for the Mills, are confined to individual department and one prosecution for all the workers in that department. But cases can be conceived where a prosecution can be made in respect of each individual worker to whatever department he belongs.
16. The case reported in - Vrijvallubdas Jaikisondas v. Emperor AIR 1921 Bom. 322 (1) (A), indicates possibility of such a thing and if that case is correctly decided, as I feel it is, then there cannot be any doubt that convictions in these cases cannot be challenged as unsustainable.
17. Moreover the convictions proceed upon the plea of guilty and since no question regarding the sustainability of conviction is involved revision petitions will be incompetent.
18. They are therefore dismissed.