PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. SUNDARADARA RAO M
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
SUNDARADARA RAO M
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(1.) THE question in these two appeals is whether the provisions of Section 4 (1) (a) of the Madras Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 (hereinafter called the Act), are applicable to the respondent herein who is stated to be the manager of Sri Krishna Picture Palace, Guntur.
(2.) TWO cases were laid against the respondent herein by the Assistant Inspector of Labour, Guntur, with the allegation that when the establishment was inspected by him on 8 March 1961 at 8-50 p. m. , he found that the respondent "had failed to comply with the provisions of the Act and rules to the extent of Rules 16 (9), 18 (4), 16 (12) in 0. No. 688 of 1961 and Rule 16 (11) read with Rule 16b, in C. No. 689 of 1961. These cases were tried by the Special First-class Magistrate and presiding officer, labour court, Guntur. The learned Magistrate held that as the provisions of Section 4 (1) (a) of the Act exempt the petitioner from the operation of the Act, he was not liable to punishment for the contravention of rules. Accordingly, he dismissed the complaint and acquitted the accused. The appeals are directed against this order.
(3.) THE contention of the learned Public Prosecutor is to the effect that under the Act the term " employer " has been defined to include a " manager. " As such, when the rules impose a liavility on the employer to maintain registers and exhibit notices, etc. , in a particular manner, the manager is also liable for the non-observance of rules. The definition of employer under the section [section 2 (5)] reads as under: Employer' means a person owning, or having charge of the business of an establishment and includes the manager, agent or other person acting in the general management or control of an establishment. Section 45 of the Act provides penalty for any employer who contravenes any of the provisions of Sections 7, 9 to 11, etc, and renders him liable to punishment with fine. The term "employer" has not been defined in the rules which have been framed under Section 49 of the Act, so that, the definition "employer" in the Act itself would govern the term " employer "used in the rules as well. There would have been no difficulty in holding the manager liable for the maintenance of registers, etc, if there was no exemption from the operation of the Act as provided in Section 4 of the Act. Section 4 runs as under: Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to (a) persons employed in any establishment in a position of management; Relying on this provision, the Magistrate has held that the respondent, being admittedly a manager, is not an " employer " as contemplated either in Section 45 or in Rule 18. I think, the finding of the learned Magistrate is consistent with the letter and spirit of the Act, for, under Section 5 the Government is vested with power to apply all or any provisions of the Act to any class of persons who have been exempted under that section. Obviously the intention of Government by inserting Section 4 was to exempt persons holding the position of a manager or that of a subordinate to him in the management from the purview of the Act. There is no notification under Section 5 to show that the provisions of the Act have been made applicable even to the manager. This Interpretation is, no doubt, open to some difficulty but in plain reading it is not possible to place any other construction on Section 4. The same view seems to have been taken by a Bench of the Madras High Court in Standard Vacuum Oil Company v. Additional Commissioner, Workmen's Compensation, Madras, though in some other context. I, therefore, see no reason to interfere with the finding of the lower Court. The appeals are dismissed. ;
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