MOTOR CAR BEEDI FACTORY Vs. CONTROLLING AUTHORITY UNDER PAYMENT OF GRATUITY ACT
LAWS(APH)-2008-12-75
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on December 30,2008

MOTOR CAR BEEDI FACTORY Appellant
VERSUS
CONTROLLING AUTHORITY UNDER PAYMENT OF GRATUITY ACT Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

INDIA CEMENTS LTD VS. CHAIRMAN APSERC [LAWS(APH)-2011-7-20] [REFERRED]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THE petitioner, namely M/s. Motor Car Beedi Factory, represented by its Proprietor, has filed this writ petition, praying for a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, order or orders or directions quashing the orders dated 18-10-2008, passed by the respondent No. 1, namely the Controlling Authority under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, in P. G. Nos. 21 to 27, 29 to 46, 48, 49, 51, 54 to 68, 70 to 75, 77, 79 to 81, 83 to 86, 88, 95 and 97 to 99 of 2007.
(2.)THE petitioner states that the factory is engaged in the manufacture of beedis, and that it came into existence about four decades back. It is registered with the Central Excise Department and is also covered by the Provident Fund Act. The petitioner states that the factory engaged nearly 32 home workers and it was regularly paying central excise duty and contributing to the provident fund. That it maintained the books of accounts to show the purchase of raw materials, expenses and personal ledgers, till it was permanently closed down in the year 2005 under intimation to the Central Excise Department and Provident Fund Department.
The petitioner states that respondent Nos. 2 to 64 herein never worked in the factory. However, they along with 78 other persons filed cases before respondent No. 1 claiming gratuity on the ground that they were in the employment of the petitioner-factory since many years. The petitioner contested the said cases inter alia taking a stand that the said persons never worked in the factory, and there is no relationship of employer-employee between them. Before respondent No. 1, on behalf of the claimants, one witness was examined and Exs. A-1 to A-3 were filed, while on behalf of the petitioner, the petitioner deposed as M. W. 1, and marked Exs. B-1 to B-15. However, the petitioner states that respondent No. 1 without deciding the issue relating to relationship of the said persons with the petitioner, passed order dated 24-4-2008, awarding gratuity to all the 141 claimants. Questioning the said order, the petitioner states that the factory filed writ petitions in W. P. No. 13206 of 2008 and batch, and this Court by order dated 08-07-2008, allowed the writ petitions, and while setting aside the order impugned therein, remanded the matter to respondent No. 1, for consideration and disposal of the matter afresh in accordance with law.

(3.)ON remand, the petitioner states that the claimants did not adduce any further evidence before respondent No. 1. Exs. A-1 and A-2, the petitioner states, are the legal notice issued by the claimants and the reply notice issued by the petitioner. While Ex. A-3, is and letter dated 16-04-2005, alleged to have emanated from the Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Kurnool, and addressed to the President, Kurnool Beedi Workers Union, wherein it is stated that the Assistant Labour Officer, Kurnool-ll Circle visited the factory of the petitioner on 17-09-2004 and found that about 81 persons were on the rolls, and that out of the said 81 persons, 76 were physically present on that day and the remaining five were not present. Relying on Ex. A-3, it is the case of the petitioner that respondent No. 1, by his orders dated 18-10-2008, allowed the claim of respondent Nos. 2 to 64, while he rejected the claim of the remaining claimants. Questioning the said order, on several grounds, the petitioner filed the present writ petition, praying for the relief, as stated in the introductory paragraph of this order.
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