1. The accused in this case was convicted for an offence under Section 6 read with Rule 5 (3) and Section 92 of the Factories Act, and, sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 50, and was also further directed to pay a sum of Rs. 25 as licence fees.
2. The facts are these : On 18-11-1957 at 9-15 a.m. P.W. 1, the Inspector of Factories, Vellore, inspected the premises in question. There was a 10 H.P. electric motor working. It was working thedecprticator. The manufacturing process consisted in decorticating groundnut, drying them and packing the kernels in gunny bags. There were 18 persons working at these various processes. Five were men and 13 were women.
3. Beyond this evidence there was no evidence let in to establish that either they received wages or were employed by or on behalf of the mills. In this state of evidence the only question that arises for consideration is whether it is a factory within the definition of Section 2(m) of the Factories Act, 1948. 'Factory' is defined in Section 2(m) as meaning,
'any premises including the precincts thereof -
(i) whereon ten or mere workers arc working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, or
(ii) whereon twenty or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on ... .'
'Worker' is defined in Section 2(1) as meaning,
'a person employed, directly or through any agency, whether for wages or not, 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.' 'Manufacturing process' is defined in Section 2(k) :
''Manufacturing process means any process for -
(i) making, altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, packing oiling, washing cleaning, breaking up, demolishing, or otherwise treating or adapting any article or substance with a view to its use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal, or
(ii) pumping oil, water or sewage, or
(iii) generating, transforming or transmitting power, or
(iv) composing' types for printing, printing by letter-press, lithography, photogravure or other similar process or book-binding, or
(v) constructing, reconstructing, repairing, refitting, finishing, or breaking up ships or vessels.'
There can be no doubt that what was being done in the premises was manufacturing process because they were decorticating groundnut. Though there is no evidence that the owner of the mill was selling them, still it was intended to be used by the persons who bring them for decorticating. The question is whether these 18 persons who were found there arc 'workers' within the meaning of Section 2(1) According to that definition it must be shown that they were persons employed directly or through any agency, whether for wages or not. 'Employed' has been interpreted in various decisions, and, as pointed out by Subba Rao J. in Chintaman Rao v. State of M. P., : 1958CriLJ803 , there must be a contract between the management and the person employed so as to bring them within the definition of 'worker'. That evidence is lacking in this case. The 18 persons are, therefore, not workers within the meaning of the definition, and, their presence in the premises will not make it a factory.
4. The offence is not made out. The conviction and sentence are set aside and the accused acquitted. The fine, if paid, will be refunded.
5. Accused acquitted.