'Inspector of Factories acted on SC directive'

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Chennai, Nov 12: The Madras High Court has dismissed as misconceived and devoid of merit, writ petitions challenging an order of the Inspector of Factories, Mettur, that directed powerloom factories in Salem to comply with an earlier legal notice issued to them for allegedly violating the law by employing child labour. In his order, Justice K Chandru said the official had acted on the Supreme Court's directive, which was binding on all authorities. There could be no exception to either the show cause notice or the final order passed by the Inspector of Factories.
The grievance of the petitioners, who were either proprietors or partners of powerloom factories at Taramangalam, was that they received a legal notice from the Inspector in November 1997, stating they employed child labour in violation of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. The name and age of the child and the father's name were mentioned and the petitioners' attention was drawn to a Supreme Court judgment. The respondent inspected the factories and directed the petitioners to deposit Rs 20,000 towards the child labour rehabilitation-cum-welfare fund in 10 days.

In one case, the petitioner sent a reply. It was stated that the worker concerned was 17 years old and she was working in the petitioner's address as an independent weaver. The person who came for inspection had not determined her age. A demand was made to re-inspect the factory and cancel the notice.

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