advocatemmmohan

My photo

ADVOCATEMMMOHAN -  Practicing both IN CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND FAMILY LAWS,Etc.,

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO MY LEGAL WORLD - FOR KNOWLEDGE IN LAW & FOR LEGAL OPINIONS - SHARE THIS

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Section 106 of the Factories Act, 1948 - complaint should be filed with in 3 months by Inspector of factories - whether the complaint made by the Inspector of Factories that the appellants have allegedly committed offences was made within three months of the date on which the alleged commission of the offence came to the knowledge of the Inspector, as required by Section 106 of the Factories Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Act’). Apex court held that No and further held that already the appellant deposited entire compensation also =CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.1668-1670 OF 2014 [Arising out of SLP (Crl.) Nos. 5340-5342/2007] J.J. IRANI & ANR. …. APPELLANTS VERSUS STATE OF JHARKHAND …. RESPONDENT = 2014 Aug. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41817

Section 106 of the Factories Act, 1948 - complaint should be filed with in 3 months by Inspector of factories - whether the complaint made by the Inspector of Factories that the appellants have allegedly committed offences was made within three months of the date on which the alleged commission of the offence came to the knowledge of the Inspector, as required by Section 106 of the Factories Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Act’).  Apex court held that No and further held that already the appellant deposited entire compensation also =


On 3rd March, 1989, the Tata Iron and 
Steel Company Limited (TISCO) celebrated the 150th birthday of
Mr. J.N. Tata, as Foundation Day. They constructed temporary
Pandals at the main gate of the Factory premises. All of a
sudden a fire broke out and two of the Pandals, where guests
were seated, were badly gutted. There was panic due to the
fire. As a result 18 to 20 persons died on the spot and a larger
number were admitted with burn injuries at the Tata Hospital,
some of whom later succumbed to their injuries. The injured
and the dead were mainly employees of TISCO, its officers and
their family members=

At the relevant time the appellant No. 1 - Dr. J.J. Irani
was “Occupier” and the appellant No. 2 - Mr. P.N. Roy was
“Manager” of the factory within the meaning of the Act.=

 On 07.05.1990, three criminal complaints were filed under
different provisions of the Act by the Inspector of Factories,
Jamshedpur Circle – I, Jamshedpur, which are as under:
“(i) Complaint No. 224 of 1990 – (along with
detailed statement in support of the petition of
complaint) alleging contravention of provisions of
Section 6(1)(aa) of the Factories Act read with Rule 8
of the Bihar Factories Rules, 1950, for not submitting
the plans of Pandals and structures (6 in number)
constructed inside the premises of TISCO for the
150th Birthday celebrations of J.N. Tata (near the
main gate around the statue of J.N. Tata and not
getting the same approved by the Chief Inspector of
Factories).
(ii) Complaint No. 225 of 1990 (along with
detailed statement in support of petition of
complaint) for violating the provisions of Section 38
of the Factories Act, 1948, read with Rule 62 of the
Bihar Factories Rules, 1950 by not taking precautions
in case of fire as envisaged under Section 38 of the
Factories Act, 1948 read with Rules 62 of the Bihar
Factories Rules, 1950 such as safe means of escape
in the event of fire for all persons, and by not
providing necessary equipment and facilities for
extinguishing fire; and
(iii) Complaint No. 226 of 1990 (along with
detailed statement in support of petition of
complaint) for violating the provisions of Section
41B(4) of the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 by
not drawing up with the approval of the Chief
5Page 6
Inspector of Factories, Bihar, an “on-sight”
Emergency Plan and Disaster Control for the Pandals
and structures (6 in number) constructed inside the
factory (TISCO), near its main gate around the
statue of its founder Shri Jamshedji Tata for
celebrating his 150th Birthday, and constructing such
pandals and structures of highly combustible
material – an actual fire hazard.”=

We find that it has not been disputed at any stage that the
complainant was not associated with and did not participate in
the preliminary investigation from 5th to 6th March 1989 along
with the Chief Inspector of Factories. 
This is obvious from the
letter/report of preliminary investigation dated 08.03.1989. 
The
Inspector must be taken as having acquired knowledge of the
10Page 11
alleged commission of the offence soon before or at least on
08.03.1989, when the report of preliminary investigation was
sent to the Commissioner of Labour, Bihar. In fact, a perusal of
allegations of the offence against the appellants, makes it clear
that an inquiry or investigation at the site of the accident was
not necessary in order to gain knowledge of the alleged breach.
For instance, the failure to submit “Plans of Pandals and
Structures” as required under Section 6(1)(aa) of the Act read
with Rule 8 of the Bihar Factory Rules, 1950; not drawing up an
“on-sight” Emergency Plan and Disaster Control for the Pandals
and Structures as required under Section 41B(4) of the Factories
(Amendment) Act, 1987 are alleged breaches, which could have
been ascertained even from the office record of the Inspector.
The third breach is not taking precautions in case of fire as
envisaged under Section 38 of the Factories Act, 1948 read with
Rule 62 of the Bihar Factories Rules, 1950 or providing a safe
means of escape in the event of fire for all persons, and
providing necessary equipment and facilities for extinguishing
fire, can be easily and must have been ascertained at the first
inspection of the site. 
We are clearly of the view that it was not
necessary for the Inspector to have waited to receive the report
on 23.04.1990 from the Government under cover of the letter
dated 21.04.1990 directing him to file a complaint for the
prosecution of the appellants. 
We thus agree with the view of
11Page 12
the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jamshedpur and disagree
with the view of the High Court.=
Accordingly, we see no reason whatsoever to consider this submission
any further. We are informed that in pursuance of the Order of this
Court in Lata Wadhwa and Others v. State of Bihar and Others,
(2001) 8 SCC 197 the TISCO has deposited an amount of Rs. 6.95
crores in the Registry of the Supreme Court. Shri F.S. Nariman,
learned senior counsel, appearing for the appellants has very fairly
submitted that the appellants and TISCO have no grievance
whatsoever in making any payment to the victims by way of
compensation since the accident was a terrible tragedyShri Nariman
submitted that the TISCO has not treated any litigation in this matter
as an adversarial litigation. 
20. In the result, appeals are allowed. The Judgment and Order of
the High Court dated 15.6.2007 is set aside and Criminal complaints
are dismissed.

2014 Aug. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41817

Page 1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
 CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.1668-1670 OF 2014
[Arising out of SLP (Crl.) Nos. 5340-5342/2007]
J.J. IRANI & ANR. …. APPELLANTS
VERSUS
STATE OF JHARKHAND …. RESPONDENT
JUDGMENT
S. A. BOBDE, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. In this batch of appeals, the appellants have challenged
the Judgment and Order of the High Court of Jharkhand at
Ranchi dated 15th June, 2007 allowing the three Criminal
Revision Nos. 212 – 214 of 1990 filed by the State, and
reversing the Order dated 29.06.1990 of the Chief Judicial
1Page 2
Magistrate, Jamshedpur and further directing the Chief Judicial
Magistrate, Jamshedpur to proceed against the appellants in
accordance with law. Since they arise out of the same incident
they have been taken up together for disposal.
3. The only question that arises in these appeals is whether
the complaint made by the Inspector of Factories that the
appellants have allegedly committed offences was made within
three months of the date on which the alleged commission of the
offence came to the knowledge of the Inspector, as required by
Section 106 of the Factories Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as
‘the Act’). At the relevant time the appellant No. 1 - Dr. J.J. Irani
was “Occupier” and the appellant No. 2 - Mr. P.N. Roy was
“Manager” of the factory within the meaning of the Act.
4. On 3rd March, 1989, the Tata Iron and
Steel Company Limited (TISCO) celebrated the 150th birthday of
Mr. J.N. Tata, as Foundation Day. They constructed temporary
Pandals at the main gate of the Factory premises. All of a
sudden a fire broke out and two of the Pandals, where guests
were seated, were badly gutted. There was panic due to the
fire. As a result 18 to 20 persons died on the spot and a larger
number were admitted with burn injuries at the Tata Hospital,
some of whom later succumbed to their injuries. The injured
and the dead were mainly employees of TISCO, its officers and
their family members.
2Page 3
5. As required by Section 88(1)1
 of the Act read with Rule 96
of the Bihar Factories Rules, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the
Rules’) formal notice of intimation of the accident was given to
the Inspector of Factories. In pursuance of the Notice on 5th and
6
th March, 1989, the Chief Inspector of Factories of the then
State of Bihar and the Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories,
Jamshedpur, conducted a preliminary investigation. These
Officers submitted a Report to the Commissioner of Labour,
Patna on 08.03.1989. Before submitting the Report a
preliminary inquiry was conducted, photographs of the Pandals
and other affected areas were taken, Pandals were measured,
and distances between Pandals and Roads were also measured.
A list of those dead and injured was prepared and the cause of
the accident was gone into and ascertained. Apparently, the
cause was a high powered cracker fired on the occasion, which
fell on roof of one of the Pandals made of combustible material,
and started the blaze. The officers also determined the factors
that prevented the stopping of the fire, such as the narrowness
of the pathways and the distance of the fire hydrants from the
place of occurrence and the seating arrangement because of
1
 Section 88 requires the authority, who receives the Notice,
to make an inquiry into the occurrence within one month of the receipt of the
Notice.
3Page 4
which it was not possible for the guests to escape from the site.
The Chief Inspector of Factories, who signed the preliminary
report, recommended to the State Government that a
Committee be constituted under Section 90 of the Act for
conducting a detailed investigation into the cause of the
accident. The preliminary report records that the Committee
should be constituted by the State Government under the
Chairmanship of the Chief Inspector of Factories in which other
Members shall be (1) Dy. Chief Inspector of Factories,
Jamshedpur as Co-ordinator; (2) Dy. Chief Inspector of
Factories, Ranchi as Member; (3) Dy. Chief Inspector of
Factories, Patna as Member; and (4) Chief Security and Fire
Extinguisher Officer, Barauni Oil Refinery, Begusarai as Member.
6. It is of significance that the Factory Inspector, Jamshedpur
Circle, who filed the complaint was part of the team that
conducted this preliminary detailed investigation (vide para 9 of
the letter dated 08.03.1989).
7. In pursuance of the recommendation of the Preliminary
Report, the State Government constituted a three Member
Committee under Section 90 of the Act consisting of (i) Chief
Inspector of Factories, Bihar (Ranchi) as Chairman; (ii) Dy. Chief
Inspector of Factories (Jamshedpur) as Member; and (iii) Chief
Safety and Fire Officer (Begusarai) as Member. The Government
further directed the Committee to submit its report within two
4Page 5
months of its constitution. Instead of submitting the report in
two months, the Committee concluded its inquiry by 03.09.1989.
Two of its Members signed the Report on 26.09.1989. The third
Member signed on 16.03.1990. The Report is said to have been
handed over to the Inspector of Factories on 23.04.1990.
8. On 07.05.1990, three criminal complaints were filed under
different provisions of the Act by the Inspector of Factories,
Jamshedpur Circle – I, Jamshedpur, which are as under:
“(i) Complaint No. 224 of 1990 – (along with
detailed statement in support of the petition of
complaint) alleging contravention of provisions of
Section 6(1)(aa) of the Factories Act read with Rule 8
of the Bihar Factories Rules, 1950, for not submitting
the plans of Pandals and structures (6 in number)
constructed inside the premises of TISCO for the
150th Birthday celebrations of J.N. Tata (near the
main gate around the statue of J.N. Tata and not
getting the same approved by the Chief Inspector of
Factories).
(ii) Complaint No. 225 of 1990 (along with
detailed statement in support of petition of
complaint) for violating the provisions of Section 38
of the Factories Act, 1948, read with Rule 62 of the
Bihar Factories Rules, 1950 by not taking precautions
in case of fire as envisaged under Section 38 of the
Factories Act, 1948 read with Rules 62 of the Bihar
Factories Rules, 1950 such as safe means of escape
in the event of fire for all persons, and by not
providing necessary equipment and facilities for
extinguishing fire; and
(iii) Complaint No. 226 of 1990 (along with
detailed statement in support of petition of
complaint) for violating the provisions of Section
41B(4) of the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 by
not drawing up with the approval of the Chief
5Page 6
Inspector of Factories, Bihar, an “on-sight”
Emergency Plan and Disaster Control for the Pandals
and structures (6 in number) constructed inside the
factory (TISCO), near its main gate around the
statue of its founder Shri Jamshedji Tata for
celebrating his 150th Birthday, and constructing such
pandals and structures of highly combustible
material – an actual fire hazard.”
9. The dispute in these appeals centers around the question
whether the filing of complaint on 07.05.1990 was within three
months of the date on which the alleged commission of the
offence came to the knowledge of the Inspector (vide Section
106 of the Act).
10. There is no dispute about the meaning of the term
“commission of the offence” or “knowledge,” hence the question
is essentially: when did the Inspector come to know of the
commission of the offences? Section 106 of the Act reads as
follows:
“Section 106: Limitation of prosecution: No
Court shall take cognizance of any offence
punishable under this Act unless complaint thereof is
made within three months of the date on which the
alleged commission of the offence came to the
knowledge of an Inspector:
Provided that where the offence consists of
disobeying a written order made by an Inspector,
complaint thereof may be made within six months of
the date on which the offence is alleged to have been
committed.
[Explanation: - For the purpose of this section -
6Page 7
(a) in the case of a continuing offence, the period of
limitation shall be computed with reference to every
point of time during which the offence continues;
(b) where for the performance of any act time is
granted or extended on an application made by the
occupier or manager of a factory, the period of
limitation shall be computed from the date on which
the time so granted or extended expired.]”
11. The Respondent – State claims that the Inspector of
Factories, who filed the complaints, came to know of the
commission of the offences on 23.04.1990, when the Report of
the Committee, constituted under Section 90 of the Act, was
received by him. According to the appellants, who are accused,
by virtue of the Occupier and Manager of the Factory within the
premises of which the accident occurred, the complaint is clearly
barred by the limitation of three months provided by Section 106
of the Act because the Inspector of Factories had knowledge of
the commission of the offence as early as 05.03.1989 when he
conducted the preliminary investigation into the accident
between 5th and 6th March, 1989 along with the Chief Inspector
of Factories and Dy. Chief Inspector of Factories, Jamshedpur. In
any case, he had been directed to carry out an intensive
investigation, and having been inducted into the Committee
under Section 90 of the Act on 8.3.1989, he knew of the alleged
commission of the offence much earlier. According to the
Respondent – State the copy of the inquiry report and the
Government’s letter were handed over to the complainant on
23.04.1990 by the Chief Inspector of Factories under cover of
7Page 8
letter dated 21.04.1990, and therefore 23.04.1990 must be
taken as the date on which the complainant came to know about
the commission of the offence alleged against the Occupier and
Manager of the Factory. It was argued also before the High
Court that he was directed by the letter of the Government to
file a complaint for that prosecution and accordingly he filed the
complaint on 7.5.1990. According to the respondent, the
complaint has been filed well within three months from
23.4.1990 on 7.5.1990.
12. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, who heard the complaint
found that the Factory Inspector – Complainant, had knowledge
of the occurrence at least on 5.3.1989 when a detailed inquiry
was conducted by the Chief Inspector of Factories. The Chief
Judicial Magistrate, therefore, dismissed the complaint as being
barred by limitation holding that the offence was not a
continuing offence and that the limitation be reckoned from
5.3.1989 – i.e. the date of knowledge.
13. The High Court accepted that the starting point for
limitation was the date of knowledge of the commission of
offence but took the view that in the present case the date of
accident and the date of knowledge of the commission of the
offence are different. The High Court relied on the decision of
this Court in P.D. Jambekar v. State of Gujarat, (1973) 3
SCC 524, in which this Court observed as follows:
8Page 9
“As Section 106 makes the date of knowledge of the
commission of the offence the starting point of the
period of limitation, we find it difficult to read the
section so as to make the date on which the
Inspector would or ought to have acquired
knowledge of the commission of the offence had he
been diligent, the starting point of limitation,
especially where, as here the statute does not
provide for an inquiry into the accident much less the
period with which the inquiry has to be made. It is
only in the jurisprudence of Humpty Dumpty that we
can equate the “date on which the alleged offence
came to the knowledge of an Inspector” with the
date on which the alleged offence ought to have
come to his knowledge. We think that the High Court
was right in its conclusion (para 8).”
14. The High Court took the view that it cannot be said that
the complainant came to know of the commission of the offence
in the preliminary inquiry conducted on 5.3.1989 by the Chief
Inspector of Factories in his presence by distinguishing the
difference between “knowledge of an accident” and “knowledge
of commission of the offence.” The High Court observed that the
complainant could have known of the breach only when the
cause of accident, which was inquired into, was reported by the
Chief Inspector of Factories in his report, which was received by
the complainant on 23.04.1990; and it was only from the inquiry
report that it could be gathered that the accident of fire took
place because of breach of provisions of law.
15. We have heard the matter and considered the issue at
length and we find ourselves unable to uphold the reasoning of
the High Court. Jambekar’s case (supra) is of no assistance
9Page 10
in deciding the present case. In that case this Court accepted
that from a reading of the report of the incident it was difficult
for anyone to come to the conclusion that an offence under
Section 21(1)(iv)(c) has been committed. The Inspector’s
statement that the report did not convey to him any knowledge
that the offence was committed was accepted and this Court
concluded that the Inspector did not acquire the knowledge of
the ‘commission of the offence’ when he received the report.
The case before us is entirely different. Here the Inspector was
himself part of the team, which conducted the preliminary
inquiry between 5th and 6th March, 1989. As observed earlier,
the inquiry is a detailed investigation going into all aspects of the
occurrence. In these circumstances it is not possible to hold that
the Inspector of Factories, who undertook a detailed inquiry into
the accident along with the Chief Inspector of Factories,
remained ignorant that the offences in question have been
allegedly committed. It is proper to assume that an officer,
conducting an investigation, comes to know what has happened,
that being the only purpose of the investigation.
16. We find that it has not been disputed at any stage that the
complainant was not associated with and did not participate in
the preliminary investigation from 5th to 6th March 1989 along
with the Chief Inspector of Factories. This is obvious from the
letter/report of preliminary investigation dated 08.03.1989. The
Inspector must be taken as having acquired knowledge of the
10Page 11
alleged commission of the offence soon before or at least on
08.03.1989, when the report of preliminary investigation was
sent to the Commissioner of Labour, Bihar. In fact, a perusal of
allegations of the offence against the appellants, makes it clear
that an inquiry or investigation at the site of the accident was
not necessary in order to gain knowledge of the alleged breach.
For instance, the failure to submit “Plans of Pandals and
Structures” as required under Section 6(1)(aa) of the Act read
with Rule 8 of the Bihar Factory Rules, 1950; not drawing up an
“on-sight” Emergency Plan and Disaster Control for the Pandals
and Structures as required under Section 41B(4) of the Factories
(Amendment) Act, 1987 are alleged breaches, which could have
been ascertained even from the office record of the Inspector.
The third breach is not taking precautions in case of fire as
envisaged under Section 38 of the Factories Act, 1948 read with
Rule 62 of the Bihar Factories Rules, 1950 or providing a safe
means of escape in the event of fire for all persons, and
providing necessary equipment and facilities for extinguishing
fire, can be easily and must have been ascertained at the first
inspection of the site. We are clearly of the view that it was not
necessary for the Inspector to have waited to receive the report
on 23.04.1990 from the Government under cover of the letter
dated 21.04.1990 directing him to file a complaint for the
prosecution of the appellants. We thus agree with the view of
11Page 12
the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jamshedpur and disagree
with the view of the High Court.
17. Mr. Tapesh Kumar Singh, learned counsel appearing for the
State/respondent pointed out that whilst these Criminal Revision
Petitions against the judgments of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in
the three criminal cases were pending in the High Court, Writ
Petition 232 of 1991 was filed under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India against State of Bihar, TISCO and its
directors and officers to which the Inspector of Factories,
Jamshedpur was also a party. This Writ Petition was filed by
victims on behalf of themselves and all other persons affected by
the fire. A prayer was made in the Writ of Mandamus ordering
prosecution of Directors and Officers of TISCO for negligence in
organizing of the function. A prayer for appropriate
compensation was also made in the said Writ Petition. By
Preliminary Order dated 15.12.1993, this Court after laying down
certain principles of compensation directed that the retired Chief
Justice Mr. Chandrachud should determine the compensation. It
was then directed as follows:
“Pending further orders, the following criminal cases
shall be stayed:
“1. G.R. Case No. : 365-A/89 pending in the Court of
Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Jamshedpur.
12Page 13
2. Crl. Rev. Nos. 212, 213 and 214 of 1991 pending before
Ranchi Bench of the Patna High Court.”
18. Chief Justice Chandrachud (Retd.) eventually assessed the
compensation in November, 2000 for an aggregate sum of Rs.5.47
crores. Finally, this Court disposed of the Writ Petition on 16.8.2001
[reported as (2001) 8 SCC 197] after observing that Criminal
Revision Petitions had been stayed by its earlier Order dated
15.12.1993. This Court then enhanced the aggregated compensation
amount by adding a certain amount on compassionate grounds. The
Writ Petition was accordingly disposed of.
19. It was argued by Mr. Tapesh Kumar Singh that the above
sequence of events meant that the Criminal Revisions before the High
Court remained stayed notwithstanding the disposal of the Writ
Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, and therefore, it could not
have proceeded to decide the matter. We fail to understand this
submission coming from the State. In the first place, there is no
warrant for assuming, unless specifically directed or necessarily
intended, that an interim order such as the Stay of proceedings before
a lower forum continues even if the proceedings in the higher forum is
disposed of. This Court has made observations to that effect in Prem
Chandra Agarwal and Another v. Uttar Pradesh Financial
Corporation and Others, (2009) 11 SCC 479. In any case, in this
case the parties understood that the true position was that the Stay
had ceased to operate and argued the matter on that understanding
before the High Court. What is more surprising is that this contention
comes from the State, which has succeeded before the High Court.
13Page 14
Accordingly, we see no reason whatsoever to consider this submission
any further. We are informed that in pursuance of the Order of this
Court in Lata Wadhwa and Others v. State of Bihar and Others,
(2001) 8 SCC 197 the TISCO has deposited an amount of Rs. 6.95
crores in the Registry of the Supreme Court. Shri F.S. Nariman,
learned senior counsel, appearing for the appellants has very fairly
submitted that the appellants and TISCO have no grievance
whatsoever in making any payment to the victims by way of
compensation since the accident was a terrible tragedy. Shri Nariman
submitted that the TISCO has not treated any litigation in this matter
as an adversarial litigation. 
20. In the result, appeals are allowed. The Judgment and Order of
the High Court dated 15.6.2007 is set aside and Criminal complaints
are dismissed.
...........................................………………..J.
 [ SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA ]
…..................................………………………J.
 [ S.A. BOBDE ]

New Delhi,
August 8, 2014
14

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.