C.M. Lodha, J.
1. In this writ petition Radheshyam, a hotel owner has challenged the order of the Minimum Wages Authority, dated 15th July 1980, directing him to pay Rs. 1410/- being the amount of arrears representing the amount less paid than the minimum wages to his various employees.
2. The undisputed facts, are that the petitioner is a hotel owner at Jodhpur & some of its employees who were present at the time of inspection by toe labour Inspector, represented on inquiry that the wages which were being paid to them were leis than the minimum wages. On the basis of this inquiry, theLabour lnspector filed an application before the Minimum Wages Authority, Jodhpur. The Inspector was examined and one Bhim Raj, who is alleged to be the Munim, was examined by the petitioner.
3. The Minimum WagesAuthority accepted the application of the Labour Inspector so far as she complaint regarding the payment of wages less than the minimum wages ware concerned, but rejected the claim regarding the overtime wages.
4. Mr. Arora the learned Counsel for the petitioner has argued that the Authority had no jurisdiction to give a direction for depositing the amount of Rs. 1410/- before him. It was pointed but that under Sub-clause (5) of Section 20, no such procedure is provided on the contrary, if a direction is not obeyed and the amount is not paid, the Authority can move the Magistrate, if he himself is not a Magistrate to realise the amount.
5. It was also argued that the solitary statement of the Inspector was not sufficient to hold the petitioner liable, because, those very workmen, the statements of whom were recorded by the Inspector, for making this complaint, have later on filed affidavits with the written statement of the petitioner, that the entire amount was paid, and they have no grievance. It was argued that the burden is on the Inspector and in the absence of the workmen, the solitary statement should not be treated as enough, more so, when it is rebutted by the evidence of Bhim Raj. Reliance was placed on the judgment of the Mysore High court in Municipal Borough, Bijapur v. Gundawan A.I.R. 1965 Mysore 317)
6. I have considered the submissions of Mr. Arora, appearing for the petitioner. Section 20(5) is as under:
Sub-section (5) of Section 20 provides that any amount directed to be paid by the Authority under Section 20 may be recovered as if it were a fine imposed by a Magistrate .The recovery of the fine may be done if the Authority is a Magistrate. If the Autority is not a Magistrate the amount may be recovered by any Magistrate to whom the Authority makes an application in this behalf, as if it were a fine imposed by such Magistrate.
It is true that it contains no provision for making a direction that the amount should be deposited. It is also true that according to it, the Minimum Wages Authority, if he himself is not a Magistrate, can on failure to pay the amount to the workmen, as per the directions given, apply to the Magistrate concerned for the recovery of the amount. However, I am of the opinion that the were fact that the Authority concerned, after giving direction to pay Rs. 1410/- to the workman, being the balance of she minimum wages, has further directed that the amount should be deposited before the Authority so that it can be paid to the workman, provides no legal valid ground for interference under Article 226 of the Constitution.
7. The equitab'e jurisdiction of this Court cannot be invoked by the petitioner who has no legitimate defend against the claim on merits. Even, if it is assumed that in the absence of specific provision he could not have given a direction for depositing the amount, then also it is only in respect of mode of payment and the procedure to be adopted for the same .This court to Gyan Singh v. Collector, Bhilwara 1956 R. L. W. 44), even after holding that the Collector was not authorized to make the recovery under any law for realization of the land revenue, and he should have proceeded under the Public Demands Recovery Act only, refused to interfere and observed as under:
In this particular case we fail to understand bow the applicant deny his liability under an order under theWorkmen's Compensation Act though of course he has actually done so. In the circumstances though the Collector was wrong in not forwarding the objection to the officer who had sent him the requisition we are not prepared to inter fere in favour of the applicant whose denial appears to us to be dishonest.
8. Since the Authority concerned could give direction for the payment of minimum wages and for the payment of the balance remaining due. I do not find any substantial irre-gulariy in directing that the amount should-be deposited first before the Authority so that it may be paid to the workmen concerned In any case, substantial justice has been done.
9. So far as the objecton regarding the burden of proof is concerned, undoubtedly, the Inspector has examined himself as a witness, and therefore, there was evidence before the Authority concerned. It is also to be noted that the proprietor of the firm did not appear to rebut it, but produced one Bhim Raj the alleged Munin, who had no record of the payments actually made. No reliance can be placed on the affidavits, which were procured by the proprietor of the firm produced with a written statement because the workmen in the employment of the petitioner had not been produced in defence. Is is difficult to belive that those affidavits were given voluntarily In any case this necessiates the appreciation of evidence, and the Minimum Wages Authority failed to rely upon the statement of the Labour Inspector.
10. In cases of labour legislation and particulary in workmen's compensation, minimum wages and payment of wages, it is to bs kept in mind, that the Authorities and Tribunals which are concerned with adjudicating the disputes by interpreting these laws in (he case of particular cases, should keep in view that abstract doctrines of burden of proof as are applicable in criminal or civil cases cannot be applied in terms. The basic fact temains that a workman is handicapped in comparison to the proprietor or the management. The entire record, relating to the dispute remain in the custody of the managment and so als o the resourses of the two cannot bs compared. The labour legislations art beneficial legislations, prim~ arily dealing with the socio economic problems to ensure that by legislation the exploitation of the wrokmen is prevented That being so, in a given case, if from the record of the Authority concerned it appears that minimum wages have not been paid then the Minimum Wages Authority is justified in directing tht payment of the same.
11. Mr. Arora invited my attention to 'the decision of the Mysore High Court, referred to above in which it was held:
But that is not the same thing as saying that the harden of proving that a particular employee has not worked overtime is on the employer. An employes who claims relief under the 'Act', has to place before the Authority, evidence to support his claim. That evidence may get strengthened from the fact that the employer has failed to maintain the required documents and records. It is well known rule of law that it is for the person who makes claims to establish the same. The provisions in the 'Act' and the rules framed thereunder do in no manner depart from that basic rule.
No provision either in the 'Act' or in the rules placing the burden or proving the negative on the employer was brought to our notice.
There cannot be only dispute about the normal principles but as has been laid down by the Mysore High Court in the above mentioned case, the Authority concerned was competent to draw adverse inference for non-maintenance of record, as has been done in the instant case
12. In any case, the present one is not a case of no evidence', because the evidence of the Inspector, recorded by the Minimum Wages Authority, in the absence of the petitioner's own rebutial and non production of record has been relied upon and rightly so.
13. The writ petition thus fails, and is hereby dismissed.