1. Pour persons, who were numbered as accused 1 to 4, were charged under Section 60 of the Indian Factories Act as the occupiers of a factory, and the 5th accused as the manager of that factory, with contravening the provisions of the Act by not fencing in a certain machine. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate imposed a very inadequate fine of Rs. 10 on the 5th accused and acquitted accused 1 to 4 altogether, on the ground that he believed their statements that they had left the affairs of the factory in the hands of the 5th accused. The Crown has appealed.
2. The owners or occupiers of a factory cannot relieve themselves of their responsibilities for seeing that the requirements of the Factories Act are complied with by appointing a manager : they must also see that the manager carries out his duties. It is only when the manager has acted in express disobedience of their order and they have done their best to see that the provisions of the Act are complied with, that they can themselves escape liability. Section 60 makes it clear that both the manager and the occupier are liable. Dr. Chowdry has referred to the proviso to the definition of 'occupier', that where the affairs of a factory are entrusted to a managing agent, such agent shall be deemed to be the occupier of the factory. A manager is not however a managing agent. The ultimate control of this factory was in the hands of accused 1 to 4; and if the requirements of the Act were not complied with, they were therefore liable to punishment. If, as is represented on their behalf, they are ignorant persons who trusted to the knowledge and good sense of their manager, that might be a reason for awarding them a smaller punishment than the manager; but it is no reason for acquitting them.
3. The acquittal of accused 1 to 4 is therefore set aside. As the sentence on the manager was only a fine of Rs. 10, it would perhaps be unfair to sentence these accused to anything more. I therefore sentence each of them to pay a fine of Rs. 10.