Decided on September 14,1988



- (1.) The petitioners have prayed for quashing the proceeding initiated against them in B. L. Case No. 1/86 under the provisions of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 (Act 19 of 1976) (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'), invoking inherent jurisdiction of this Court, inter alia, on the ground that the entire allegations against the petitioners do not make out the offence in question.
(2.) One Maingulu Ghadei, opposite party 2 filed a petition on 16-1-86 alleging therein that his son, opposite party 3 was working as a labourer in the house of petitioner 5 on a monthly remuneration of Rs. 60/- apart from food and clothings from 1959 to 1979. During this period, the father of the petitioner took Rs. 500/- for his daughter's marriage and no further money has been received and according to the allegation said opposite party 2 is entitled to receive the balance salary of Rs. 990/-. It was further alleged that opposite party 4 who is the other son was also working in the house of petitioner 4 on a monthly remuneration of Rs. 60/- and he worked there for about twelve years, but he was driven out without giving the arrear salary. In 1969, opposite party 2 himself went and served under petitioner 1 for a monthly wage of Rs. 60/-, but after one year of his service he was driven out without payment of salary. On receiving the aforesaid application of Mangulu Ghadei, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate came to hold that an offence under the Act has been committed and accordingly summoned the petitioners. The petitioners pursuant to the summons appeared before opposite party 1 and they were examined and they denied the entire allegations made in the application filed by opposite party 2. Opposite Parties 2 and 3 were also examined. Ultimately the learned Magistrate on 28-6-86 held that a case exists under S.2(g)(iv) of the Act and accordingly directed to start separate case records for the opposite parties and directed issuance of notice. As a result of such order, Bonded Labour Cases Nos. 2/86 and 3/86 have been initiated against petitioners 5 and 4 respectively. The petitioners have, therefore, approached this Court for quashing the entire proceedings.
(3.) Mr. Ratho, the learned counsel for the petitioners contends that the entire allegations made by the complainant Mangulu Ghadei as well as the statements recorded by the Magistrate do not constitute the offence in question and, therefore, the entire proceeding is wholly misconceived. He further contends that out of the incidents referred, two of the incidents were even prior to the enforcement of the Act.;

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