Section 85 of The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948

Section 85(a)(i)(b) of The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 prescribes punishment for a particular offence as imprisonment which shall not be less than Six Months and fine of Five Thousand Rupees. The proviso empowers the Court that it may, “for any adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a lesser term“.

My Lord, Has the Court has been given judicial discretion only to reduce the sentence of imprisonment for any term lesser than Six Months or whether it has discretion to levy no fine or a fine of less than Five Thousand Rupees?

The law is well settled that when the wordings of the stature are clear, no interpretation is required unless there is a requirement of saving the provisions from the vice of unconstitutionality or absurdity. Neither of the twin situations is attracted herein. Hence… it is held that the amount of fine has to be Rupees Five Thousand and the Courts have no discretion to reduce the same once the offence has been established. The discretion as per the proviso is confined only in respect of term of imprisonment.”

Hon’ble Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, Employees State Insurance Corporation v. A.K. Abdul Samad, [Criminal Appeal Nos.1065-1066 of 2005].

 

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