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State of Maharashtra v/s Simplex Woolen Mills & Others

    CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.212 OF l98S

    Decided On, 12 August 1997

    At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay

    By, THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE V.H. BHAIRAVIA

    Mr.D.A.Nalavade, A.P.P., for the appellant. Mr.M. Janardhanan and Mrs. Shilpa Gajare for the respondents.



Judgment Text

ORAL JUDGMENT


This appeal for enhancement is preferred by the State against the order dated 23rd August 1984 passed by the learned Magistrate in Criminal Case No.3400 of 1984, whereby the respondents-accused have been convicted for offence punishable under sections 14(2) and 14(1A) of the Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.50/- each, in default to suffer R.I. for 15 days each.


2.It has been emphatically submitted by Mr.D.A.Nalavade, learned A.P.P., that the maximum punishment for an offence punishable under section 14(1A) of the said Act is six months and the minimum punishment is not less than three months in case of default in payment of the employees' contribution which has been deducted by the employer from the employees' wages and not less than one month in any other case. She has, therefore, pressed this appeal for enhancement of the punishment awarded by the learned Magistrate to the respondents-accused.


3.Now, section 14(1A) of the Act reads as under:

"An employer who contravenes, or makes default in complying with the provisions of section 6 or clause (a) of sub-Section (3) of section 17 in so far as it relates to the payment of inspection charges, or paragraph 38 of the Scheme in so far as it relates to the payment of administrative charges, shall he punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, but

(a)which shall not be less than three months in case of default in payment of the employees' contribution which has been deducted by the employer from the employees' wages;

(b)which shall not be less than one month, in any other case.

Provided that the court may, for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a lesser term or of fine only in lieu of imprisonment."


4.Having gone through the record and proceedings of the case, it appears that the learned Judge has given reasons for awarding lesser sentence than the minimum. The learned Judge has taken into consideration the plea of the respondents-accused that there was a labour problem in the factory and in support of that, they have produced the certificate issued by the Deputy Labour Commissioner. The learned Judge, accepting the plea of the respondents-accused, has convicted the respondents-accused for the said offence and, taking a very lenient view, sentenced them to pay a fine of Rs.50/- each, in default to suffer R.I. for 15 days month each. The learned A.P.P. has submitted that this is not an adequate reason for giving the benefit of the proviso to section 14(1A) of the Act to the respondents-accused. Mr. M.Janardhanan, learned Counsel for the respondents-accused, has submitted that after the complaint was filed within one month the respondent-accused have deposited the entire amount of contribution and that was one of the reasons for taking a very lenient view in awarding the sentence. However, I find that the learned Magistrate has not mentioned that reason in his order. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, I do not find any just reason to interfere with the order passed by the learned Magistrate and enhance the sentence. The order is just and proper. The appeal, therefore, deserves to be dismissed.


5.In t

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he result, this appeal fails and the same is dismissed. 6.Mrs. S.G.Joshi, learned A.P.P., has requested for urgent supply of certified copy of this order as the appellant wants to challenge this order. However, in my view, since there is no urgency to supply certified copy, the said request is rejected. The certified copy of this order be issued in due course.
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