ANTOINE BENTZ PRIVATE LIMITED Vs. REGIONAL PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
ANTOINE BENTZ PRIVATE LTD.
REGIONAL PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER
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(1.)In the instant case, the petitioners invoked the writ jurisdiction of this Court basically for the purpose of quashing the criminal proceeding pending before the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, 24 Pgs. (South) being Ballygunge P.S. Case No. 5 dated 11-1-2002 (State v.347Pradeep Mehta) under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code.
(2.)Out of the four petitioners, first petitioners is the Company which has been shown as defaulter and the petitioner Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are the Directors of such Company. The petitioners Nos. 2 and 4 have already obtained a bail, but, as and when actions are going to be taken as against the petitioner No. 3, the writ petition was moved by taking a plea that a sum of Rs. 160/- was only due and payable and as against the same a criminal proceeding was initiated against the elderly lady who is also having terminal disease.
(3.)The Court prima facie accepted the view and passed interim order which was extended from time to time and directed to hear out all the parties at length. Today, the petitioners, the appropriate Provident Fund Authority and the Enforcement Department represented through their respective Counsels had made their arguments at length. The petitioners case is that the alleged non payment of Rs. 8.181/- was the subject matter of dispute in the complaint under Section 505 (Explanation I) punishable under Section 406/409, I.P.C. as well as in the F.I.R. But, before the F.I.R. was lodged on 11-1 -2002, the respective payments were made and communicated on 4-1 -2002 and 7-1-2002. The only remaining unpaid amount, if any, is a sum of Rs. 125/- which was wrongly stated to be Rs. 160/- on the earlier occasion on account of damages and/ or interest which was also paid on 25-2- 2003. Therefore, nothing is due in connection with any payment on account of Provident Fund by the employer. In AIR 1987 SC 1738 (Provident Fund Inspector, Faridabad v. M/s. Jaipur Textile, Faridabad) the Court held that whenever payment of arrears of Provident Fund in respect of the prosecution was paid within the time prescribed by the Court the prosecution against them shall come to an end. Such judgment was followed by a Division Bench of this Court in (1995) 1 Cal HN 115 (The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, West Bengal v. Raj Kumar Neman!) where it was held that when the entire arrears of Provident Fund being the subject matter of the complaint made by the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, having beeri deposited prior to the lodging of the complaint the prosecution could not be proceeded with. The Division Bench has also followed the principles of well celebrated judgment of Bhajan Lais case reported in AIR 1992 CC 604 : (1992 Cri LJ 527) (State of Haryana v. Ch Bhajan Lai). It is well known by now that the scope and ambit of the invocation of writ jurisdiction is only lying within the four corners of the Bhajan Lais case reported in AIR 1992 SC 604 : (1992 Cri LJ 527) (supra). In the Bhajan Lals case several exceptions are given by saying when the extraordinary power under Art. 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code will be made applicable for the purpose of quashing the proceedings. One of such clauses for the purpose of quashing the crimianl proceeding is that where the allegations made in the F.I.R. or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
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