P.T. Raman Nair, J.
1. The only point taken on behalf of the petitioners who have been convicted of various offences under the Factories Act, 1948 (the conviction is really under Section 92 of the Act which creates the offences and prescribes the punishment, but the provisions mentioned by the learned magistrate are the provisions violated by the petitioners), is that their premises are not a 'factory' as defined in Section 2(m) of the Act.
(a) because there was no 'manufacturing process' carried on there as the term is defined in Section 2(k), and
(b) because the 21 persons who were found working on the premises on 10 January 1957 were not 'workers' within the meaning of Section 2(i), they being employees not of the petitioners but of D.W. 1, a contractor, to whom the petitioners had entrusted the work that was being done.
2. The evidence of P.W. 1, a factory inspector who inspected the premises of the petitioners on 10 January 1957, that he found the 21 persons grading and packing coconuts into bags with a view to transporting them for sale, stands uncontradicted, and in view of the very wide definition in Section 2(k) a definition which expressly describes mere packing with a view to use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal (in other words packing per se, for all packing must be with a view to one or the other of the objects mentioned--'use' or 'disposal' by itself would be wide enough to cover everything) as a manufacturing process, there can be no doubt that a manufacturing process was being carried on in the petitioners' premises by more than 20 persons.
3. As to whether those persons were 'workers,' there is the evidence of one of them as P.W. 2 that they were all employees of the petitioners and not of D.W. 1, and that D.W. 1 was only another employee engaged to supervise their work. And I agree with the learned magistrate that D.W. 1's own evidence in cross-examination tends to show that the 21 persons in question were persons employed by the petitioners through his agency. He only supervised the work of these persons and took their wages along with his from the petitioners and distributed the wages. This takes the case out of the mischief of the decisions in 1958-II L.L.J. 405 and 252 and brings the 21 persons directly within the definition of 'worker' in Section 2(i). That the wages were paid on the basis of the total outturn and were then shared between D.W. 1 and the 21 persons, each of the 21 persons being given one share and D.W. 1 taking 1 1/2 shares, makes no difference and does not make D.W. 1 an independent contractor employing the 21 persons.
I dismiss the petition.