Decided on July 04,1974

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.) The plaintiff which is a firm engaged in the manufacture and sale of handloom clothes is the appellant. The suit was for a prohibitory injunction to restrain the Union of India and the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner. Trivandrum from taking any steps against the plaintiff for recovery of any amount on the basis of the Employees' Provident Funds Act (hereinafter called the Act). The third defendant, the State of Kerala was impleaded in the suit because it was through the State that defendants 1 and 2 were threatening to take coercive steps.
(2.) The allegations in the plaint were centred on three basic factors: (1) The plaintiff had got a decree against the defendants in O. S.73 of 1958 of the Cannanore Munsiff Court, confirmed in appeal by the District court, Tellicherry in A. S.39/60 of that court declaring that no amount could be realised from the plaintiff under the Act and restraining the defendants from taking steps to recover any amount from the plaintiff under the Act. (2) The persons working in the concern of the plaintiff are not employees within the definition of the Act. There is no relationship of master and servant or employer and employee between the workers and the plaintiff. (3) Action could not be taken by the defendants without enquiry under S.19A of the Act.
(3.) The defendants contended that the earlier decree was on the ground that for the applicability of the Act at the relevant time to a concern, it should have at least 50 workers engaged under it and the textile mill of the plaintiff did not have 50 workers. After the decree the Act was amended by Central Act 46 of 1960 by which the Act applied to every establishment which is a factory engaged in any industry specified in Schedule.1 of the Act and in which 20 or more persons were employed. The plaintiff, according to the defendants are employing more than 20 persons. They also contended that there was employer - employee relationship between the plaintiff and the workers concerned. According to the defendants there was no necessity to make any enquiry under S.19A in respect of matters involved in the suit. The plaintiff, the defendants contend are liable to remit contributions to the Employees Provident Fund from 1-1-1961 onwards.;

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