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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

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