U.P. Handicrafts Development And Marketing Corporation Ltd, Moti Mahal Lucknow Versus Central Govt. Industrial Tribunal Cum Labour Court, Lko. Thru. Its Presiding Officer And Another [WRIT – C No. – 282 of 2022]
1. Heard Mr. Shobhit Mohan Shukla, learned counsel for the petitioner, as well as Mr. K.K Pandey, learned counsel for respondent-Regional Provident Fund Commissione-II, and gone through the record.
2.The present petition, under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, has been filed, impugning the order dated 20.07.2021 in Appeal No.28 of 2021 filed by the petitioner as well as the order dated 23.09.2021 in modification application preferred by the petitioner passed by respondent no.1-Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Lucknow.
3. The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-II, Lucknow (for short “Commissioner” vide order dated 16/17.02.2021 had assessed the amount Rs.31,96,427=00 to be paid by the petitioner-Corporation under Section 14-B of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (for short “Act, 1952”) for the period March, 1996 to February, 2018. The Commissioner had directed the employer to pay the aforesaid amount of damages within 15 days from receipt of the order otherwise action under Section 8F of the Act, 1952 would be taken against the employer. The Commissioner has also passed the order on the same day i.e. 16.17/02.2021, assessing the amount of interest under Section 7-Q of the Act, 1952 to Rs. 20,45,457=00.
4. Aggrieved by the said orders, the petitioner-Corporation has filed Appeal No. 28 of 2021 before the appellate Authority. The appellate Authority vide order dated 20.07.2021 had directed the petitioner-Corporation to deposit the entire amount worked-out under Section 7Q of the Act, 1952 as well as 10% of the amount assessed under Section 14B of the Act, 1952 within four weeks.
5. The petitioner-Corporation thereafter moved an application for modification of the said order on the ground that in another appeal being, ATA No.19 of 2018, bank guarantee was allowed to be furnished by the appellate Authority and the bank guarantee was operative till 16.11.2021 and, it was also said that the amount for the period involved in Appeal No.19 of 2018 may be adjusted. However, the Tribunal vide the impugned order dated 23.09.2021 has rejected the modification application of the petitioner-Corporation on the ground that under Section 70 of the Act, 1952, there is no provision for furnishing bank guarantee in lieu of cash deposit. However, one month’s time was granted for making pre-deposit for admission of appeal.
6. I have considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties.
7. Considering the fact that the Commissioner has substantially reduced the amount to be deposited by the petitioner-Corporation to 10%, which was assessed under Section 14B of the Act, 1952, I do not find any ground to interfere in the said direction passed/issued by the appellate Tribunal for making the deposit of 10% assessed under Section 14B of the Act, 1952. However, in respect of the amount assessed under Section 7Q of the Act, 1952 the petitioner-Corporation shall deposit 50% of the assessed amount. The said amount should now be deposited within three weeks from today so that the appeal may be heard and decided on merit. In case the petitioner-Corporation fails to deposit 50% of the amount assessed under Section 7Q and 10% of the amount assessed under Section 14-B of the Act, 1952, the appeal is liable to be dismissed.
8. With the aforesaid direction, the present petition stands finally disposed of.