THE PACHORA PEOPLES CO-OP BANK LTD Vs. THE EPFO THR. P.F COMMISSIONER
LAWS(BOM)-2017-1-27
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on January 11,2017

The Pachora Peoples Co-Op Bank Ltd Appellant
VERSUS
The Epfo Thr. P.F Commissioner Respondents

JUDGEMENT

RAVINDRA V.GHUGE,J. - (1.) By this Review Application, the Applicant Bank has prayed for reviewing the order dated 07.02.2014 passed by this Court in Writ Petition No.5086/2011. By the said order, the Writ Petition filed by the Review Applicant was dismissed and the order dated 28.09.2010 passed by the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner (Compliance), Sub- Regional Office, Nashik (hereinafter referred to as "the APFC") and the order dated 20.05.2011 passed by the Employees Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi, holding that the Bank was liable to contribute provident fund contributions of the pigmy agents, were sustained.
(2.) We have heard the learned Advocates for the respective sides at length. The grounds put forth by the Applicant are as under:- "(I) It may please be considered that the orders under challenge passed by the authorities below are quite contrary to the evidence on record. (II) It may please be considered that the Pigmy Deposit Collectors are not employed on wages as per the provisions of Section 2(F) of the said Act. (III) It may please be considered that the commission is expressly excluded from the definition of "wages" and as such the pigmy agents cannot be called the employees working for the wages. The commission paid to the pigmy deposit collectors is not fixed; it may vary with the collection of amount. The engagement of pigmy deposit collectors is purely on contractual basis for a specific period and it does not require any qualification. (IV) It may please be considered that the work of pigmy deposit collectors is not like the other regular employees of the bank. There is no any master - servant relationship between the applicant Bank and the pigmy deposit collectors. (V) It may please be considered that the authorities below have wrongly relied upon the reported case law which is not at all applicable to the present case. The pigmy deposit collectors are collecting the amount from the customers of the Bank and getting commission for it as per their collection. As such, the commission paid to them is not fixed and therefore, it cannot be called as wages/ salary/ emoluments etc.. (VI) It may please be considered that the Bank has intimated the pigmy agents to deposit their contribution as per letter/ order issued by the respondent authority. But, till this date they have not deposited their contribution. The respondent authority is likely to cease the account of the applicant bank. The respondent authority has issued notice dated 21.03.2014 and directed the Bank to deposit further amount of Rs.502652/- towards the provident fund, otherwise, the authority will proceed under the Act."
(3.) Notwithstanding the grounds as above, we find that the whole thrust of the Applicant in this Review Application is that this Court has erroneously relied upon the judgment delivered by the Honourable Apex Court in the matter of the Indian Banks Association vs. Workmen of Syndicate Bank and others, AIR 2001 SC 946. It was also canvassed that the said reported judgment was delivered by the Honourable Apex Court while considering whether, the pigmy agents could be covered by the definition of "workman" under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, as amended in 1984 and could not have been relied upon for deciding whether, the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (for short "the EPF Act") would be applicable to them.;


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