1. This is a petition under S. 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash the proceedings in S.T.C. No. 202 of 1982 on the file of the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Vellore. The accused is the petitioner herein.
2. An interesting question arises in this petition as to whether the Laundry Department in the Christian Medical College Hospital at Vellore is a factory. The respondent-Inspector of Factories, Vellore, has filed a criminal prosecution against the petitioner who is the General Superintendent of the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore for infringement of S. 6(1) and 7(1) of the Factories Act and the Rules thereunder.
3. It is not in dispute that the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore is not a factory for no manufacturing process is carried on there. It is urges on behalf of the petitioner and it is not disputed that the laundry in the hospital is an integral part of the hospital and is, intended to wash the linen used in the hospital, and that neither the clothes of the employees of the hospital; nor the clothes of the patients admitted in the hospital, are washed in the said laundry. It is also the contention of the petitioner that the work in the laundry is carried on not by any separate set of employees but only by those employees who are employed in the hospital doing work in connection with the hospital. In these circumstances, can it be said that the laundry establishment in the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore is a factory merely because washing which is a manufacturing process as defined in the Act is carried on there with the help of power, in which ten or more person are working
4. Being part and parcel of the Christian Medical College Hospital, the laundry cannot be separated from the main institution viz., the hospital. In order to ensure a high degree of hygienic standard, the hospital is having its own laundry for washing the linen used in the hospital. The laundry is therefore only a subsidiary, minor or incidental establishment of the hospital which is not a factory. One department of the hospital established for the efficient functioning of the hospital cannot therefore be disjoined from the main institution and termed to be a factory. The paramount or the primary character of the main institution alone has be taken into consideration and when the main institution is not a factory, a department thereof cannot become so, even though a manufacturing process is carried on there.
5. The definition of the term 'factory' under S. 2(m) of the Factories Act of 1948 postulates that ten or more workers must be working on any day of the proceedings twelve months when power is used. A 'worker' is defined in S. 22(1) as :-
'A person employed in any manufacturing process or in cleaning any part of the machinery or premises used for a manufacturing process or in any other kind of work incidental to or connected with the manufacturing process or the subject of the manufacturing process.'
It is obvious that the person working in the factory in order to become a worker must be employed exclusively in that manufacturing process or in cleaning the machinery or the premises used for the manufacturing process or in any kind of work incidental to or connected with the manufacturing process of the subject of the manufacturing process. In the instant case, the persons working in the laundry are not exclusively employed in the laundry. They are the employees of the hospital doing all kinds of work in connection with the hospital in the various departments of the hospital such as clinical, medical, surgical, sanitary etc., who are by turns asked to do the work in the laundry. They are not therefore workers within the meaning of S. 2(1) of the Factories Act and hence the laundry in the Christian Medical College Hospital is not a factory as defined in the Act.
6. The prosecution launched against the petitioner cannot therefore stand and has to fail.
7. In the result, the petition is allowed. The proceedings in S.T.C. No. 202 of 1982 on the file of the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Vellore are quashed.