KOMALAPURAM SPINNING AND WEAVING MILLS Vs. ASSISTANT PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER
LAWS(KER)-2017-12-208
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on December 19,2017

Komalapuram Spinning And Weaving Mills Appellant
VERSUS
ASSISTANT PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER Respondents

JUDGEMENT

K.Vinod Chandran, J. - (1.) The appellant is aggrieved with the judgment of the learned Single Judge in the above appeal. The appellant, before the Writ Court, challenged the orders issued under Sections 14B and Section 7Q of the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (for brevity, 'EPF & MP Act'). The learned Single Judge found that since the Standing Counsel for the respondent had clearly submitted that there was no hearing granted to the petitioner, the petitioner should be granted a hearing with respect to Section 14B. The order under Section 14B was set aside and remanded for fresh consideration, after affording a reasonable opportunity of hearing. With respect to the order under Section 7Q, the learned Single Judge granted instalments for payment of the same, commencing from 04.12.2017.
(2.) The learned Counsel for the appellant submits that, in fact, there were contentions raised against the order under Section 7Q also before the learned Single Judge, which was not considered. The first contention against Section 7Q is that the transfer, as effected of the Company, Kerala Spinners, Alappuzha to the appellant-Company was under the Kerala Spinners, Alappuzha (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 2010 ('Acquisition Act' for short). It is not a transfer as contemplated under Section 17B, since only a transfer simplicitor would be covered under Section 17B. The further contention is that the Acquisition Act provides for, by Chapter VI, appointment of a Commissioner of Payments and any claim against the earlier Company, would have to be made to the said Commissioner. The further argument is that the Company which was taken over, has been declared as 'sick' under the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985. An order of the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) is also produced along with memo dated 19.12.2017.
(3.) The learned Counsel for the respondent Organisation submits that Section 7Q is automatic as has been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in M/s. Arcot Textile Mills Ltd. v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and others, 2013 16 SCC 1. It is also contended that Section 17B takes in any transfer and the EPFO is not obliged to approach the Commissioner for recovering the liability under the EPF & MP Act.;


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