PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. SEETHARAMAPURAM MINES
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.) THE State has filed this appeal against the order of the Judicial Second-class Magistrate, Gurazala, acquitting the respondent for contravention of the rules under the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1956.
(2.) THE conciliation officer (Central), Visakhapatnam, who is also an inspector under the Payment of Wages Act, filed a complaint alleging that he inspected the Seetharamapuram Mines on 24 January 1961 under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, and Payment of Wages (Mines; Rules, 1956, and handed over a copy of the inspection report No. PW (O)/cov- (1)/61, dated 24 January 1961, to the mines manager, employer within the meaning of the Act, for having contravened the following rules : (i) non-maintenance of register of wages for monthly paid staff at the workspot as required under Rule 5 of the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1956; (ii) non-display of notice showing rates of wages as required under Rule 8 (1) (ii) of the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1955; and (iii) non-submission of notices to inspector as per Rule 8 (2) of the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1956. The inspector examined himself in support of the allegations. The respondent denied the offence but did not examine any witnesses on his behalf. The learned magistrate, in regard to the first point, held that the Kistna Cement Factory and Seetharamapuram Mines form one establishment having regard to the decision of the Supreme Court in Associated Cement Companies v. their workmen 1960-L. L. J. 1. That was a ease in which the interpretation of explanation to Section 25a of the Industrial Disputes Act was considered, and for the purposes of that Act, certain tests were laid down by the Supreme Court as to what constitutes "one establishment. " in my opinion, this decision has no application to the facts of the present case.
(3.) THE case of the respondent was that a register of wages in form III was kept at the main office at Krishna Cement Works, Tadepalli, and therefore, it was not necessary to keep another register at the workspot at Seetharamapuram, which is nearly fifty miles distant from Tadepalli. The learned Counsel for the respondent also contends that the maintenance of the register and keeping it at the head office which is at Tadepalli is sufficient compliance With Rule 5 of the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules, 1956. Rule 5 reads like this: A register of wages in form III shall be maintained and kept at the worksot, or as near it as possible, by every employer in proof of payment of wages. The rates of wages for all classes of workers shall be entered at the beginning of the register: Provided that, where mechanised pay rolls are introduced for better administration, a alternative suitable form may be used with the previous approval of the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central ). He stresses the point that the words "as near it as possible " used in that rule indicate that the register need not be kept only at the workspot but it is left to the discretion of the establishment to keep it as near as possible for the convenience of the inspecting officers. In my opinion, the words " as near it as possible" do not convey a meaning that it can be kept at a far-off place. If it is not possible to maintain the register at the workspot, it should be somewhere near about BO that the inspecting authorities may compare the persons employed at the workspot and the register maintained by the establishment. The main object of maintaining the register under the Payment of Wages (Mines) Rules appears to be for the convenience of inspection. From the judgment of the learned magistrate, it appears that a register was produced by the Associated Cement Companies, Ltd. , Krishna Cement Works, Tadepalll, which showed the names Of the employees of Seetharamapuram Mines who were paid on monthly basis. The Associated Cement Companies, Ltd. , is obviously maintaining two registers, one for the employees who are paid daily wages and one for those who are paid their wages on monthly basis. It would have been better for the company to have maintained a register of employees who are paid on monthly basis and are posted to the work spot at Seetharamapuram. It appears that the persons who are employed on monthly basis draw their wages at the head office and therefore that register was kept there. As this statement has been accepted by the learned magistrate, there is no contravention of the rule alleged by the prosecution.;
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