Decided on June 11,1976



- (1.)In this appeal under section 82(2) of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the said Act) and in the revisional application in the alternative the appellant challenges an order dated April 30, 1971, passed by the Employees' Insurance Court, West Bengal, in Case No. 53 of 1971. By the said order the said Court dismissed the appellant's application for an interim stay pending the disposal of the proceedings initiated before the said Court under section 75 of the said Act of further proceedings of a certificate proceeding. Such application of the appellant was dismissed by the said Court not on merits but on a view that the said Court had no jurisdiction to entertain such an application. This appeal thus involves a short but an important question of law as to whether an Employees' Insurance Court constituted under section 74 of the said Act and adjudicating a dispute under Chapter VI thereof has any jurisdiction to entertain any application for an into entertain any application for an interim relief when made in support of a relief claimed and awaiting adjudication in the proceedings under Section 75 of the said Act.
(2.)Facts are not in dispute. The Employees' State Insurance Corporation, the respondent in this appeal (hereinafter referred to as the Corporation) demanded of the appellant a contribution of Rs. 63,965.24 p. to the Employees' State Insurance Fund in respect of some contractors' employees alleged to be working in the factory of the appellant. The appellant disputed such a claim on various grounds including one of denial of any liability under the said Act to make any such contribution in respect of any such employee. The Corporation, however, with a view to enforce realization of such a demand started a certificate proceeding under the provisions of the Bengal Public Demand Recovery Act read with Section 45B of the said Act. The appellant carried the dispute to the Employees' Insurance Court as aforesaid by filing an application-raising dispute under Section 75 of the said Act. Pending disposal of the proceeding so initiated, the appellant on an independent application prayed for an interim stay of the certificate proceedings. As stated hereinbefore, the said Court dismissed the said application a view that it had no jurisdiction to entertain such an application and as a matter of fact the said Court observed: - Powers of Employees' Insurance Court to act a Civil Court appear to have been limited by Section 78 of E.S.I. Act. By necessary implication, all the powers of a Civil Court under Civil Procedure Code cannot be invoked by this Court. The E.S.I. Act, which is a self contained Act, also does not provide for issuing of injunction or restraint orders. The E.S.I. Court, therefore, is deprived of any inherent power which is available to a Civil Court. The injunction or restraint matter cannot be said to be or which may be decided by E.S.I. Court under the Act which has been provided by amendment under which has been provided by amendment under Section 75(1) (g) of E.S.I. Act. Considering all these I am of opinion that E.S.I. Court has no power to issue restraint order as sought for. The correctness of the views so taken by the said Court is being challenged in this appeal.
(3.)Mr. Datta, learned advocate appearing for the appellant has first contended that the dispute so raised in the interim application is a dispute which comes within the wide terms of Section 75(1) (g) of the said Act and as such the jurisdiction to entertain such a claim is expressly conferred on the said Court by the Statute which provision the said Court overlooked in dismissing the application. Mr. Datta, has next contended that in any event such a claim being incidental and ancillary to the said claim under adjudication by the said court, the said court had the inherent jurisdiction to entertain such an application for interim relief. To hold otherwise, Mr. Datta, learned advocate for the appellant contends, would lead to strange consequences, namely, that though the said court is capable of and can grant permanent relief in respect of a dispute coming within the scope of section 75, the court, however, would have no jurisdiction to grant a temporary relief in support of such a permanent relief which again may frustrate the very object of adjudication.

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