At, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BALA KRISHNA NARAYANA THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE PRADEEP KUMAR SINGH BAGHEL
For the Petitioner: S.K. Mehrotra, Advocate. For the Respondent: C.S.C.
1. Heard learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Standing for the State.
2. The petitioners M/s. Jain Cold Storage and Ice Factory Balrampur and Sri Pankaj Jain, Partner of M/s. Jain Cold Storage and Ice Factory, Balrampur have filed this writ petition with a prayer to issue a writ of certiorari quashing the order dated 11/13.08.1998 passed by the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Faizabad Region, Faizabad in exercise of his powers conferred upon him under Section 3 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as the Act).
3. Briefly stated the facts of the case are that Jain Cold Storage and Ice Factory was inspected by the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer, Faizabad on 11.12.1997 who in his report of the same date reported that he had found eight boys, who were aged below 14 years and whose names were disclosed by him in his report, were found working in the Cold Storage.
4. The petitioners filed an objection against the report of the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer, Faizabad before him on 16.12.1997, copy whereof has been brought on record as Annexure-3 to the writ petition. The petitioners in their reply had categorically stated that they had not employed any child below 14 years of age in their Cold Storage and the boys whose presence was found by the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer, Faizabad within the premises of the petitioners' Cold Storage, were actually the sons of the women who had been employed by the petitioners in the Cold Storage for the purposes of picking up the potatoes in their Cold Storage and who often accompanied their mothers to the Cold Storage and remained there till their work was completed.
5. The respondent no. 1, however, even without adverting to the objection filed by the petitioners to the report of the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer dated 11.12.1997 passed the impugned order dated 11/13.8.1998 holding that the petitioners had violated Section 3 of the Act and further directing the petitioners to deposit Rs.1,60,000/- calculated at the rate of Rs.20,000/- per alleged child labourer found working in the petitioners' Cold Storage as penalty, copy whereof has been brought on record as Annexure-1 to the writ petition.
6. It has been submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioners that a perusal of the impugned order shows that the respondent no. 1 before holding that the petitioners had violated the provisions of Section 3 of the Act, has not even adverted to the objection filed by the petitioners against the report of the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer dated 11.12.1997 and has passed the order impugned in a mechanical manner. It is further submitted that the impugned order apparently suffers from complete non-application of mind and, as such, the same is liable to be quashed.
7. Per contra, the learned Standing Counsel has made a submission in support of his impugned order. However, he had failed to bring to our notice any material on record which may even remotely indicate that the respondent no. 1 while passing the impugned order has not even adverted to the objection filed by the petitioners against the report of the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer, Faizabad dated 11.12.1997 upon which he has extensively relied while holding that the petitioners had violated Section 3 of the Act.
8. For the aforesaid reasons, we have no hesitation in holding that the impugned order which is an absolutely cryptic order, has been passed by the respondent no.1 without considering the objections/reply filed by the petitioners against the report of the Inspector/Labour Enforcement Officer dated 11.12.1997 cannot be sustained and is liable to be quashed.
9. In view of the aforesaid, the writ petition succeeds a
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nd is allowed. The impugned order dated 11/13.8.1998 is quashed. The matter is remitted back to the respondent no. 1 with a direction to him to pass a fresh order in the matter after affording opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and considering their objections, within a period of two months from the date of production of a certified copy of this order before him. 10. There shall be no order as to costs.