Judgment : Ragini Sinha V. State of Bihar & Ors

Judgment Date  01 Jan 1970                                                                                         Click Here To Read Digest

Ragini Sinha V. State of Bihar & Ors

1) These appeals are directed against the final
judgment and order dated 18.01.2008 passed by
the High Court of Judicature at Patna in LPA
No.530/1998 and order dated 18.01.2008 in LPA
No.620/1998 whereby the High Court dismissed the
appeals filed by the appellant herein and confirmed
the orders of the Single Judge dated 31.03.1998
passed in CWJC No.12009/1996 and dated
22.04.1998 in CWJC No.12010/1996.

2) The controversy involved in these appeals lies
in a narrow compass as would be clear from the few
facts mentioned hereinbelow.

3) Two persons, namely, Santosh Kumar and
Hira Singh filed their claim petitions before the
competent authority under the Minimum Wages
Act, 1948 (for short “the Act”) against the appellant
herein being case Nos. MW (2) 19/
93 and MW (2) 20/

4) In these claim petitions, the respondents
claimed that they had worked with the appellant on
her land for the period from 01.01.1991 to
30.10.1992 but she did not pay them their
legitimate wages despite rendering their services for

5) This, in substance, was their grievance. The
two applicants (workers/employees), therefore,
claimed that their legitimate wages for the period in
question be determined in the light of the provisions
of the Act and the claimants be accordingly paid
their minimum wages for the period in question by
the appellant.

6) The appellant contested the matter. An
enquiry was accordingly held. Report from the
concerned authority was also called for. By order
dated 29.10.1995 the competent authority allowed
the claim petitions of the two workers and
accordingly directed the appellant (employer) to pay
them wages as determined along with the penalty
amount awarded by the authority.

7) The appellant felt aggrieved and filed appeal
before the appellate authority under the Act. By
order dated 08.10.1996, the appellate authority
dismissed the appeal and affirmed the order of the
competent authority.

8) The appellant felt aggrieved and filed writ
petition in the High Court at Patna. By orders dated
31.03.1998 and 22.04.1998, the Single Judge of the
High Court dismissed the writ petitions. The
appellant felt aggrieved and filed LPAs before the
Division Bench in the High Court. By impugned
orders, the Division Bench dismissed the appeals,
which have given rise to filing of these appeals by
way of special leave by the appellant(employer) in
this Court.

9) The short question, which arises for
consideration in these appeals, is whether the High
Court was justified in upholding the orders passed
by the two authorities under the Act.

10) We have heard Mr. Vivek Singh, learned
counsel for the appellant and Mr. Gopal Singh,
learned counsel for the respondents and have also
perused the written submissions filed by the
counsel for the appellant.

11) Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case and
the written submissions of the learned counsel, we
find no merit in these appeals.

12) In our considered opinion, no case has been
made out to call for any interference in the
impugned orders for more than one reason. Firstly,
what is involved in this case is a pure question of
fact which cannot be gone into in these appeals;
Secondly, the question as to whether the two
workers ever worked with the appellant and, if so,
for how much period and how much wages were
payable to them by their employer are the material
questions, which were gone into by the competent
authority and appellate authority and decided in
favour of the two workers. A concurrent finding of
fact recorded on these issues by the two authorities
was binding on the High Court while deciding the
writ petitions and the intra Court appeals; Thirdly,
the writ Court rightly dismissed the writ petitions
inter alia on the ground that two workers in whose
favour the orders had been passed by the
authorities under the Act were necessary parties in
the writ petitions and since they were not impleaded
in the writ petitions, the writ petitions were liable to
be dismissed on this ground alone; Fourthly, even
in the intra Court appeals, the appellant though filed
an application for their impleadment but it was
done after a long lapse of time and, therefore, the
Division Bench rightly dismissed the application on
the ground of delay and laches. Moreover, in the
meantime, both the workers also expired and their
legal representatives were not made parties either in
the intra Court appeals or in these appeals. This
ground is, therefore, enough for dismissal of the
writ petitions, intra Court appeals and these

13) That apart, we find that the claim in question
relates to the year 1991 and pertains to the
payment of minimum wages payable to two workers,
who are now dead and not represented before this

14) Even then we examined the appellant’s case on
merits. We, however, find that the appellant has
not been able to make out any case on merits.

15) The only grievance of the appellant before the
High Court was that she was not afforded an
adequate opportunity in the proceedings and
secondly penalty imposed by the authorities on her
was excessive in quantum and hence either it
should be set aside or reduced to some extent.>br>
16) We find no merit in the aforementioned
submissions. In our view, the appellant was
afforded a sufficient opportunity to defend and
which she also availed of. That apart, no material
was produced by the appellant at any stage of the
proceedings to show that any prejudice was caused
to her. We also find that having regard to the nature
of breaches committed by the appellant and which
were held proved, the authority was justified in
imposing the penalty on the appellant.

17) It is not in dispute that the authority has the
power under the Act to impose the penalty, once the
breaches alleged against the employer are proved.
Neither the appellate authority, nor the writ Court
and nor the Division Bench in their respective
jurisdiction considered it proper to interfere on any
of these issues and, in our view, rightly.

18) In the light of the foregoing discussion, we find
no merit in these appeals. The appeals thus fail and
are accordingly dismissed.

19) The appellant is directed to calculate the entire
amount payable to the two workers (since dead) in
terms of the impugned orders and the same be paid
to the legal representatives of the two workers
within three months from the date of this order. Let
the compliance report be submitted by the appellant
within three months to this Court and also to the
concerned competent authority.

20) A copy of this order be sent to the concerned
competent authority and one copy of this order be
sent on the addresses of the two deceased workers
which are mentioned in the record of the case for
the information of their legal representatives so that
they are able to implement this order against the
appellant for recovery of the awarded sum in their



New Delhi;
January 07, 2019

January 17, 2019

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