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Maya Agro Products Ltd. v/s Union of India (UOI)

    C.M.W.P. Appeal No. 192 of 1996

    Decided On, 17 January 1996

    At, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad


    For the Appearing Parties: P.K. Mukherjee, Advocate.

Judgment Text


(1) BY this petition, petitioner prays for an order, direction or writ in the nature of Certiorari quashing the impugned demand note dated October 9, 1995 (Annexure 4 to the writ petition).

(2) THE case of petitioner M/s. Maya Agro Products Ltd. , 269/b, Mutthiganj, Allahabad is that it is a public limited Company registered under the Indian Companies Act and carries on business of manufacturing Vanaspati and refined oil at the factory situated at Sarai Sayeed Pargana harwa, Tehsil and Distt Fatehpur. However, its registered office is located at 281, Mutthiganj, allahabad and its administrative office establishment is at 269/b, Mutthiganj, Allahabad but at both these places i. e. 281 and 269/b, Mutthiganj, Allahabad, only administrative work is done and not sale or business is transacted, as such both these places are commercial establishments where accounting, personnel management and planning works are being carried out, therefore, these two places do not come within the ambit of Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (for short the 'act'), consequently impugned demand notice is without jurisdiction.

(3) LEARNED counsel for the petitioner invited attention of this Court to the Notification dated january 24, 1981 (Annexure 1-A to the writ petition) whereby the Act has been made applicable in Allahabad also and submitted that only Hotel, Restaurant, shops, establishments carrying out the construction of roads, cinema theatres and newspaper establishments have been brought within the purview of the Act and not the commercial establishments which are referred to above.

(4) HAVING heard learned counsel for the petitioner and having perused the records we are of the opinion that the submissions of Sri Mukerji have no force and writ petition suffers from the doctrine of Exhaustion of Alternative Remedy.

(5) BEFORE endeavouring to meet the arguments of learned counsel it appears necessary to discuss the object of the Act. The main object of the Act is to secure sickness, maternity, disablement and medical benefits to employees of factories and establishments and to their dependents. The term 'employee' is defined under Section 2 (9) of the Act. It includes both types of employees i. e. those who work inside the factory or elsewhere employed in the factory or establishment. Thus the term 'employee' within the meaning of Section 2 (9) of the Act is wider than the term 'worker' as defined in other labour laws or Acts including Factories Act.

(6) UNDISPUTEDLY the Act applies to the factories and other establishments. Thus, the application of the Act is not confined to the factories defined under Section 2 (12) of the Act rather it applies to other establishments as well. In the instant case, though the petitioners have set up 2 establishments at Allahabad for accounting etc. yet the same are covered within the ambit of the act and the, petitioner cannot be absolved of the liability accrued under the Act to pay insurance money to the employees working in the establishments.

(7) MR. Mukerji, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that much emphasis is to be given on the word 'shops' referred in the Notification which extends application of the Act to allahabad and the establishments of the petitioner located at Allahabad, not being shops, are not covered under the Act.

(8) INDEED, shops are commonly known as the place where the transactions of purchase and sale usually take place. But in the context of the Act and the Notification, the rigid interpretation of the 'shop' cannot be given. The concept of shop is not confined to its meaning as known in common parlance and only to the places where transactions of purchase and sale take place rather it extends to the places even where there is no element of purchase and sale.

(9) IT is to be noted that in construing a remedial statute where a social legislation is to be implemented, the Court ought to give to it 'the widest operation which its language will permit'. They have only to see that the particular case is within the mischief to be remedied and falls within the language of the enactment. The words of such a statute must be so construed as 'to give the most complete remedy which the phraseology will permit, 1 to secure that the relief contemplated by the statute shall not be denied to the class intended to be relieved'. (See in re. Hindu Women's Right to Property Act AIR 1941 P. C. 72 at page 77, and Shivaji Dayanu Patil v. Smt. Vatschala Uttam More AIR 1991 SC 1769 at pages 1776 and 1781).

(10) IN the field of labour and welfare legislation which have to be broadly and liberally construed, the Court ought to be more concerned with the colour, the content and the context of the statute rather than with its literal import. (See N. K. Jain v. C. K Shah AIR1991 SC 1289 at pages 1304 and 1305).

(11) IN Buckingham and Carnatic Co. v. Venkatiah, (1963-II-LLJ-638) (SC) dealing with Section 73 of the Employees State Insurance Act 1948, Hon'ble Gajendra Gadkar, J. observed that the liberal construction must ultimately flow from the words used in the Section. If the words used in the Section are capable of two constructions one of which is shown patently to assist the achievement of the object of the Act, Courts would be justified in preferring that construction to the other which may not be able to further the object of the Act. But on the other hand, if the words in the Section are reasonably capable of only one construction, the doctrine of liberal construction can be of no assistance.

(12) IN the instant case the object of the Act is to secure sickness, maternity, disablement and medical benefits to employees of factories and establishments and to their dependents. Therefore, in the opinion of this Court the two establishments of the petitioner at Allahabad come within the meaning of establishments and shops as in these establishments of petitioner accounting process is done for the purposes of purchasing raw materi

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als and selling the finished goods. (13) AS far as the alternative remedy is concerned Section 75 of the Act provides adequate alternative remedy as under Section 75 (a) of the Act whether any person is an employee within the meaning of the Act or whether he is liable to pay the employees contribution, can be decided by Employees' Insurance Court. However, in the instant case since we have come to the conclusions that the two establishments of the petitioner at Allahabad come within the purview of the Act hence there is no need to refer the matter again to Insurance Court, in the result the writ petition fails and is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.