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Navakesari Prakashan Ltd. Versus E.S.I. Corpn.

1984 (10) TMI 242 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

C.A. 3296 of 1984 - Dated:- 15-10-1984 - Sen, A.P., And Venkataramiah, E.S., JJ. For the Appellants : B. Kanta Rao and Vijay Phadke For the Respondent : Abaul Khader and R.N. Poddar JUDGMENT: VENKATARAMIAN, J. Shri Navakesari Prakashan Ltd. and Nav Samaj Ltd., Nagpur are the appellants in the above two appeals by special leave filed under Article 136 of the Constitution. The appellants respectively are printers and publishers of newspapers known as 'Tarun Bharat' and 'Nagpur Times .....

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t liable to make any contributions under the Act in respect of the employees up to that date. They however admit their liability to make contributions during that period in respect of persons employed by them for wages in the printing presses belonging to them. The dispute regarding the liability of the appellants to make contributions under the Act in respect of the members of the administrative and editorial staff arose on the Assistant Regional Director of the Employees' State Insurance C .....

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ontributions in respect of their employees working in the administrative and editorial sections of their presses during the period between January 28, 1968 and November 19, 1976. They, however, did not dispute their liability in respect of the period subsequent to November 19, 1976 on which date the notification was issued under section 1(5) of the Act by the Maharashtra State Government. The applications were contested by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation The Employees Insurance Co .....

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ed appeals before the High Court of Bombay under section 82' of the Act. The High Court allowed the said appeals holding that the employees concerned came within the definition given in section 2 (9) of the Act and, therefore the appellants were liable to make contributions during the relevant period in respect of them also under the Act. The appellants have filed these appeals against the judgment of the High Court. Before dealing with the contentions raised by the appellants, it has to be .....

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factory sections of their printing presses and the establishment sections which included the administrative and editorial sections of their presses, the employees in the establishment sections could not be treated as employees to whom the Act was applicable until the notification issued under section 1 (5) of the Act expressly brought the said establishment sections also within the scope of the Act. Section 2 (9) of the Act which defines the expression 'employee' during the period in que .....

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emises of the factory or establishment or under the supervision of the principal employer or his agent on work which is ordinarily part of the work of the factory or establishment or which is preliminary to the work carried on in or incidental to the purpose of the factory or establishment; or (iii) whose service are temporarily lent or let on hire to the principal employer by the person with whom the person whose services are so lent or let on hire has entered into a contract of service; and in .....

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loyee whose wages excluding remuneration for overtime work exceed five hundred rupees a month at any time after and not before the beginning of the contribution period, shall continue to be an employee until the end of that period." The object of the Act is to provide for certain benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injury and to make provisions for certain other matters in relation thereto. Section 1(4) of the Act provides that it shall apply, in the first in .....

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to the operation of the Mines Act, 1952 or a railway running shed. It is admitted, as mentioned earlier, that the printing presses owned by the managements where the newspapers are printed and published are factories and are governed by the Act. Section 1 (5) of the Act, however, provides that the appropriate Government, in consultation with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation and where the appropriate Government is a State Government with the approval of the Central Government after .....

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ovides that subject to the provisions of the Act, all employees in factories or establishments to which the Act applies shall be insured in the manner provided by the Act. Section 39 of the Act states that the contribution payable under it shall comprise contribution payable by the employer and contribution payable by the employee. The contributions have to be paid at the rates specified in the First Schedule to the Act except where the employees concerned are excluded from some of the benefits .....

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rative or editorial sections of the printing presses are employed in connection with the work of the printing presses which are admittedly factories, then they have to be treated as employees under section 2 (9) of the Act even though no notification is issued under section 1 (5) of the Act making the Act applicable to those sections. The fact that such a notification has been issued, either as a matter of abundant caution or on a wrong understanding of the true implication of the definition in .....

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in connection with the work of the cinema theatre. The Court, however, observed that merely being employed in connection with the work of a factory or of an establishment in itself did not entitle a person to be an employee but it must be proved that he was not only employed in connection with the work k of the establishment but also be shown to be employed in one or other of the three categories mentioned in section 2 (9) of the Act. At this stage, two decisions of this Court are required to be .....

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factories. Negativing the above contention, this Court held that any person employed for wages in the zonal offices for the purpose of purchase of raw materials or distribution or sale of the products of the factory or for administrative purposes of the factory was a person employed in connection with the worker of the factory and hence was an employee as defined by section 2 (9) of the Act. The Court in reaching the conclusion also relied on the amendment of section 2 (9) of the Act by Act No. .....

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ncidental or preliminary or connected with the work of the factory. The work of the factory in each case being printing and publication of a newspaper, its work cannot be carried on without the assistance of the members of the editorial staff who are engaged in preparing the material for printing the newspaper and of the administrative staff which is needed for managing the affairs of the factory. It is a matter of common knowledge that the members of the editorial staff work almost round the cl .....

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paper. There are cases where changes in the matter to be printed are effected even a few minutes before the process of printing is begun and cases where even after a few copies of newspaper are printed, they are withheld and destroyed on the last minute advice of a responsible members of the editorial staff are not unknown. The editors, news editors, sub-editors, reporters etc. who constitute the editorial staff at the press are the collectively referred to as the gate keepers' of news becau .....

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orial staff clearly fall under clause (i) of section 2(9) of the Act. It is so even in the case of the administrative staff. They fall under the clause containing the words includes any person employed for wages on any work connected with the administration of the 'factory'. It may be stated here that even without the amendment made by Act No. 44 of 1966 this Court in Nagpur Electric Light & Power Co. Ltd. v. Regional Director Employees State Insurance Corporation etc had taken the v .....

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