The Assistant Commissioner of Labour, Parvathipuram-the respondent herein inspected the theatre in December, 1995 and passed an order dated 18.12.1995 holding that the theatre was due of an amount of Rs.38,200/- to its employees towards the difference of the actual wages and the prescribed minimum wages and a direction was issued for payment of that amount as well as penalty of equal amount within three months. 2. Complaining that the amount, as directed, was not paid, the respondent filed Crl.M.P.No.3258 of 1996 before the Additional Judicial Magistrate of I Class, Parvathipuram under Section 20(5)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (for short 'the Act'). = The approach of the Court is not correct. It must not be forgotten that the entire mechanism of the Act is provided only to ensure that the workmen are paid the wages, in accordance with law. Once a workman appears before the Court and states that he has received the wages that were determined by the authority, the proceedings must halt there. Carrying out the matter further, despite such a plea, brings about a situation where the order passed by the authority tends to become a decree in his favour. That was not at all in the contemplation of the Legislature, when it enacted the Act.


THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE L.NARASIMHA REDDY        

WRIT PETITION No.7138 of 2001  

02.08.2012

Smt. Potta Bharati

&The Assistant Labour Officer, Parvathipuram, Vizianagaram District

!Council for the Petitioner: Sri O.Manohar Reddy

^Council for Respondent: G.P. for Labour

<Gist:

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE L.NARASIMHA REDDY        

WRIT PETITION No.7138 of 2001  

ORDER:


The petitioner is owner of Veerabhadra Talkies, Parvathipuram.  It is stated
that the theatre was closed on several occasions due to local political issues,
and labour problems, and that the husband of the petitioner, who earlier worked
in the Engineering Department of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, resigned the job and
was maintaining the threatre.  The Assistant Commissioner of Labour,
Parvathipuram-the respondent herein inspected the theatre in December, 1995 and
passed an order dated 18.12.1995 holding that the theatre was due of an amount
of Rs.38,200/- to its employees towards the difference of the actual wages and
the prescribed minimum wages and a direction was issued for payment of that
amount as well as penalty of equal amount within three months.

2.      Complaining that the amount, as directed, was not paid, the respondent
filed Crl.M.P.No.3258 of 1996 before the Additional Judicial Magistrate of I
Class, Parvathipuram under Section 20(5)(b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (for
short 'the Act').  On receiving notice, the petitioner entered appearance.  It
was pleaded that the amount ordered by the respondent was paid to employees and
that nothing is due.  The employees were examined as R.Ws.1 to 14.  However the
trial Court allowed the Crl.M.P through order dated 12.04.1990 directing the
petitioner to deposit the amount.  It has taken the view that it has no
jurisdiction to decide whether the amount was paid to workmen or not.

3.      Aggrieved by the order of the trial Court, the petitioner filed Criminal
Revision Petition No.28 of 1999 before the Court of the Additional District
Judge, Vizianagaram.  The revision was dismissed through order dated 10.10.2000
holding that the revision is not maintainable.  Hence this writ petition.

4.      Heard learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Government
Pleader for Labour.

5.      The respondent exercised his power under the provisions of the Act,
visited the theatre and passed an order dated 18.12.1995 holding that the
petitioner is liable to pay a sum of Rs.38,200/- as difference of wages and
penalty of equal sum.  Section 20(5)(b) of the Act provides for a mechanism for
implementation of orders passed by the authority under the Act.  For all
practical purposes, an application filed under the provision can be treated as
an execution petition, though presented before a criminal Court.  If the
authority under the Act passed an order determining the amount to be paid either
as difference of wages or penalty, there is no prohibition in law for the
employer to straight away comply with it by paying the amount to the workmen.
It is not necessary that the amount must be deposited into the Court or with the
authority itself.

6.      It is not as if the petitioner made a statement that she complied with the
orders passed by the respondent but as many as 14 workmen were examined as  
R.Ws.1 to 14 and all of them stated nothing is due to them.  Still the Court
proceeded to direct recovery of the amount by observing that it is no
jurisdiction to verify the plea as to compliance of the orders passed by the
authority.

7.      The approach of the Court is not correct.  It must not be forgotten that
the entire mechanism of the Act is provided only to ensure that the workmen are
paid the wages, in accordance with law.  Once a workman appears before the Court
and states that he has received the wages that were determined by the authority,
the proceedings must halt there.  Carrying out the matter further, despite such
a plea, brings about a situation where the order passed by the authority tends
to become a decree in his favour.  That was not at all in the contemplation of
the Legislature, when it enacted the Act.

8.      The Writ Petition is therefore allowed.  The impugned order is set aside.
Miscellaneous petition pending in this writ petition also stands disposed of.
There shall be no order as to costs.



________________________  
L.NARASIMHA REDDY, J    
02.08.2012

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