Berger Paints India Ltd. vs. State of Goa: Conviction under Factories Act

In a recent landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India delivered a verdict in the case of Berger Paints India Ltd. against the State of Goa. The court convicted the company under the Factories Act, imposing a fine of Rs. 1,00,000. This decision follows a fire incident at the factory premises in Goa, where one worker sustained minor injuries. The court’s ruling signifies a crucial development in ensuring workplace safety and adherence to industrial regulations. Stay informed with the latest legal updates on this case. #BergerPaints #SupremeCourt #LegalCase #FactoriesAct


  • On April 28, 2006, a fire broke out at the factory premises of M/s. Berger Paints India Ltd. located in IDC Kundaim, Goa.
  • Allegations were made that the accused, Mr. Subir Bose, failed to take adequate measures to prevent explosion or ignition of inflammable substances as required by Sections 37 and 38 of the Factories Act.
  • Inspector of Factories, Altinho, Panaji, Goa filed a private complaint against Mr. Subir Bose and Shri S.M. Lahiri, the Manager of the Company, under Section 92 of the Factories Act.
  • The complaint alleged that the company was operating the factory premises at Kundaim Industrial Estate, Goa without proper license/permission, contravening the Goa Factories Rules, 1945.
  • On the day of the fire, one worker named Shri Tulsidas Dutta Palkar sustained minor injuries, was taken to the hospital, and discharged after treatment.

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  • The report by the Additional Public Prosecutor was accepted by the Judicial Magistrate, Ponda.
  • The Magistrate took cognizance of the offence under Section 92 of the Factories Act.
  • The appellant, the Managing Director, argued that the factory was in the process of closure, which was a factual assertion by the defense.
  • Shri Tulsidas Datta Palkar sustained minor injuries and was discharged from the hospital on the same day after receiving first aid.
  • The court did not interfere with the order taking cognizance for an offence under Section 92 of the Factories Act.
  • The closure report stated that the case was not fit for filing a charge sheet as criminal charges were not established.
  • The question of whether adequate measures were taken to prevent explosions or ignition of inflammable substances was raised.
  • The closure report in FIR No. 110 of 2006 under Sections 285 and 336 of the IPC involved Shri S.M. Lahiri, Shri Jayanta Bhattacharya, Shri Bikas Pukait, and Shri Tulsidas Datta Palkar.
  • In the peculiar facts of the present case, the court is inclined to accept the prayer made by Shri Tulsidas Datta Palkar, who was himself one of the accused in the FIR but suffered only minor injuries and was discharged on the same day.
  • The complaint mentions a violation of Sections 37 and 38 of the Factories Act but lacks specific details and particulars, making it vague and not disclosing a specific violation.
  • The appellant, upon instructions, has expressed willingness to plead guilty and settle the matter by paying the maximum fine allowable.
  • Considering the appellant’s age of over 70 years at present, along with the extensive scale of operations of the company and the potential for unnecessary delay in trial proceedings, imposing imprisonment may not be necessary.
  • Hence, it is decided that the appellant will pay the maximum fine without facing imprisonment.

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  • The interim order dated 17.07.2009 passed by the Court is vacated.
  • The order is not to be treated as a precedent.
  • The criminal proceedings against the appellant in Criminal Case No. 9/LAB/2006/B before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class ‘B’), Ponda, Goa are disposed of.
  • Due to the age of the appellant and the time the trial would take, the appellant’s confession of guilt is accepted.
  • The appellant is convicted under Section 92 of the Factories Act and fined Rs. 1,00,000.
  • The fine should be deposited with the trial court within four weeks from the date of the judgment.
  • Failure to deposit the fine will result in the appellant undergoing simple imprisonment for eight weeks.

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Case Number: Crl.A. No.-001963-001963 / 2010

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