EMPLOYEE'S STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION Vs. MALHOUTRA
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
Employee's State Insurance Corporation
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S.K.CHAKRABORTI, J. -
(1.) THE Clause (b) of Section 45 of the Act provides that the inspector at any reasonable time may enter into the factory or other premises occupied by the principal employer and require any person found in charge thereof to produce to such inspector and allow him to examine such accounts, books and other documents relating to the employment of persons and payment of wastes or to furnish to him such information as he may consider necessary.
(2.) THERE is no dispute to the fact that insurance inspector Sri K.K. Sarma (P.W. 1) visited the factory of the accused person on 6 September 1960 for inspection. The intimation card Ex. A dated 3 September 1956 sent to the company of the accused shows that the inspector fixed 6 September 1960 for inspection of the books of accounts and documents as mentioned in the intimation card itself. The inspection report dated 6 September 1960 out of the inspection reports collectively marked Ex. D shows that the accused persons produced the attendance register for 1957 and that they expressed their inability to show the registers, attendance and wages, from 1952 as they were not readily available. The concluding portion of the report shows that the inspector recommended for asking the employer to keep all the records ready at the time of next inspection. The intimation card Ex. B dated 15 October 1960 shows that the inspector issued the said intimation card for inspection of the books of accounts and documents of the factory on 31 October 1960. I am concerned with the happening on 6 September 1960 and not on any subsequent or prior date. The Cyma Electric Works submitted the S.C. return Ex. 1 on 18 June 1960 showing the number of their employees from 1958. The inspector at the time of his inspection on 6 September 1960 found that the employer had got the factory licence in 1952. The inspector demanded the books of account and documents, from 1952. The employer could not show the same and showed the attendance register for 1957. The learned lawyer for the prosecution has argued that the employer had their intention to suppress the documents and books of accounts from the beginning and that with that end in view, they submitted the return Ex. 1 showing number of the employees from 1958.
I cannot accept that view as the employers produced the attendance register for 1957 before the inspector. P.W. 1 (inspector) has deposed before me that without the attendance register for 1957, no other books and documents had been produced before him on 6 September 1960. The accused 1 (proprietor) and the accused 2 (manager) have deposed in this case. They have said on oath that they showed all account books from 1957 and that they had no wage register or attendance register till 1956. The evidence of D.W. 1 (accused 1) may be referred to in this connexion. D.W. 1 has once said in his deposition that he showed the attendance register of 1957 only. It may be interpreted that he showed only the attendance register of 1957 and that other books of accounts were produced or placed before the inspector by his manager (accused 2). D.W. 1 has however stated in his deposition that they showed all books of accounts from 1957. So has been stated by D.W. 2. I have already stated that P.W. 1 has deposed in his examination -in -chief that the employers did not show any book or register excepting one attendance register for February 1957. In the conclusion (sic) of his cross -examination P.W. 1 has admitted that the attendance registers from 1957 onwards were shown to him. D.W. 2 has stated in his deposition that all books of accounts and register from 1957 were shown to him. Exhibit N is the attendance register for 1957 which shows that the inspector (P.W. 1) signed the same on 6 September 1960. Exhibit O is the wage register relating to some period of 1960 and it shows that its page relating to the period from 22 August, 1960 to 27 August 1960 bears the signature of the inspector (P.W. 1) with the date of 6 September 1960 when he made the inspection. So the self -evidence of P.W. 1, the oral evidence of the accused persons and the documentary evidence Ex. O clearly show that P.W. 1 is not in a position to remember what documents and books and registers were placed before him for inspection on 6 September 1950. His report Ex. D is also silent about the wage register Ex. O. So viewed and considered, I cannot place sole reliance on his evidence and brash away the evidence of the accused parsons on oath and the documentary evidence like Ex. O which bears the signature of P.W. 1 with the date 6 September 1960. The accused persons have stated in their evidence that they have not maintained all the papers and documents prior to the year 1957. It is true that some wage sheets prior to the year 1956 have been filed in this Court. They are not the wage registers. The prosecution could not show me any statutory law or rule regarding the preservation of the records and books of accounts in the factory from its inception. There is no definite rule as well as to say that the factory is bound to preserve for so many years' records and books of accounts.
Having considered all the facts and circumstances and the evidence on record, I find that the prosecution has not bean able to prove that the accused parsons failed to produce or show the books of accounts and registers as required by the inspector under Section 45 of the Act, although the evidence of P.W. 2 and other papers show that all necessary formalities were observed in filing the petition of complaint. I therefore find the accused persons not guilty under Section 85(g) of the Employees' State Insurance Act and accordingly acquit them under Section 245, Criminal Procedure Code.;
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