Shiv Dayal, J.
1. The Employees' State Insurance Court lodged a claim before the Judge Employees' State Insurance Court, Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior. Three preliminary objections were raised by the appellant company before the said special Court. The learned Judge decided issues Nos. 1, 7 and 8 against the appellant. He held :
(1) 'That the appellant company was the principal employer' within the meaning of Section 2(17) of the Employees' State Insurance Act;
(7) That he had jurisdiction to entertain the claim and that claim was not barred by time;
(8) That Shri Sachchar was competent to sign and verify the pleading.
2. It is against these preliminary findings that the appellant company has come up in appeal to this Court. In my opinion, this appeal is not competent.
3. Shri Dubey relies on Section 82 of the Employees' State Insurance Act and his contention is that the word 'order' in that section is comprehensive enough to include 'any' order that may be passed. It is the argument of the learned counsel that an interlocutory finding is an 'order' and since Section 82 is not restricted to final orders, this appeal lies. I find myself unable to accept this contention. The scheme of the Act show that the Employees' Insurance Court has to adjudicate upon certain disputes and claims, and from an 'order' made by mat Court an appeal lies to this Court, if it involves a substantial question of law. Section 74 provides for the constitution of Employees' Insurance Court Section 75(1) enumerates the questions and disputes to be decided by that Court and Clause (2) of that section enlists the claims to be decided by it. The jurisdiction of that Court is made exclusive in Clause (3). Then, in Sections 76 and 77 provisions are made for the institution of proceedings and Section 79 enables legal practitioners etc. to appear before that Court. Section 80 prescribes time limit for making claims.
4. Provision has been made for certain powers, for example, summoning and enforcing attendance of witnesses and regarding costs etc. and Clause (4) of Section 78 lays clown that :
'An order of the Employees' Insurance Court shall he enforceable as if it were a decree passed in a Civil Court.'
Section 81 further empowers the Court to refer any question of law to the High Court. Then Section 82 provides for appeals in these words :
'(1) Save as expressly provided in this section no appeal shall fie from an order, of an Employees' Insurance Court.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the High Court from an order of an Employees Insurance Court if it involves a substantial question of law.
(3) The period of limitation for an appeal under this section shall be sixty days,
(4) The provisions of Sections 5 and 12 of the Indian Limitation Act. 1908 (IX of 1908), shall apply to appeals under this section.'
5. The question is how is the word 'order' in Clause (2) above to be construed In the absence of any definition in the Act, that meaning must be accepted which would accord with the policy of the law and the intention of the provision. It is obvious enough that an appeal under Section 82 has been restricted only to those orders which involve a substantial question of law. I do not think that the legislature ever intended to permit appeals from interlocutory findings. The provisions obviously contemplated expeditious disposal of the disputes under the Act. To interpret the word 'order' so as to include preliminary findings in the course of a trial would be obstructing the trial and thereby defeating the object of the provisions. Then again, if every interlocutory finding is held appealable under Section 82 of the Act, it necessarily means' that in the appeal against the final judgment of the Insurance Court, no determination made by that Court at an interlocutory stage shall be open to challenge.
6. If it is held that every interlocutory finding is appealable, it must also be held that if an appeal is not filed against any such finding, it will become final and conclusive on the expiration of the time prescribed in Section 82 of the Act. Two consequences necessarily follow : (1) every party has to decide for itself whether a particular finding involves or not a substantial question of law. If he thinks it does not, he takes the risk of being shut out from agitating that issue in the appeal from the final judgment. (2) If he thinks that a substantialquestion of law is involved, or if he wants, to be abundantly cautious, he must go on filing appeals against every such finding. In my opinion this will not be consistent with public policy nor will be in accord with the real intention of the legislature. As held in Workmen of Dimakuchi Tea Estate v. Management of Dimakuchi Tea Estate, AIR 1958S. C. 353 :
'The words of a statute, when there is a doubt about their meaning are to be understood in the sense in which they best harmonise with the subject of the enactment and the object which the Legislature has in View. Their meaning is found not so much in a strictly grammatical or, etymological propriety of language nor even in its popular use, as in the subject or in the occasion of which they are used, and the object to be attained.'
I, therefore, hold that an interlocutory finding isI not appealable under Section 82 of the Act.
7. The appeal is accordingly dismissed inlimine.