ELECTRIC LAMP MANUFACTURERS (INDIA) LTD. Vs. REGIONAL PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
ELECTRIC LAMP MANUFACTURERS (INDIA) LTD.
REGIONAL PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER
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SATYABRATA SINHA, J. -
(1.)ALTHOUGH this appeal was preferred against a judgment and order dated August 4, 1994 passed by a learned Single Judge of this Court refusing to pass an interim order, in view of the direction given by a Division Bench of this Court a Paper Book was prepared and the Learned Counsel for both the parties agreed that the entire writ application be heard and disposed of by this Bench and thus we have heard the Learned Counsel for the parties and are disposing of the writ application.
(2.)THE petitioner, inter alia, in this application has questioned the orders passed by the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner which are contained in annexures 'E', 'H' and 'N'.
The fact of the matter lies in a very narrow compass. The writ petitioner is private limited company. It applied for and was granted exemption in terms of the provision of the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 (here -in -after referred to as the said 'Act') by reason of a Notification dated August 5, 1963 with effect from October 31, 1952. The said Notification contains a Schedule laying down the terms and conditions for grant of such exemption; Clauses 15 and 16 whereof read thus: '15. Exemption granted by this notification is liable to be withdrawn by the Central Provident Fund Commissioner for breach of any of the aforesaid conditions or for any other sufficient cause which may be considered appropriate.
16. The Central Government reserve the right to impose such further conditions as may be deemed necessary in the interests of the employees in the establishment'.
(3.)IT is not in dispute that pursuant to the aforementioned exemption, the matters relating to provident fund payable to the employees were being managed by the Board of Trustees appointed for that purpose. According to the petitioner, the Trustees invested the amount in securities approved by the Reserve Bank of India and the authorities of the Income -tax Department and in terms of the provisions of the Income -tax Act some of the securities were fetching interest @ 5 to 6%p.a. However on their maturity they were reinvested. Admittedly the Board of Trustees had been paying interest on the amount of the provident fund at a rate less than 12%. By a letter dated May 2, 1991 the Central Government approved 12% interest in terms of paragraph 60(1) of the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme 1952 for the year 1991 -1992. It however appears that the petitioner had been facing some difficulties and the petitioner in terms of letter dated April 2, 1991 addressed to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner brought to his notice his difficulties as regards payment of minimum rate of interest as announced by the Central Government periodically for the reasons stated therein. It was inter alia stated as follows : 'May we request you to kindly consider the above in particular the conditions imposed by the Government of India in 1963 while granting exemption and confirm whether our Company is liable to pay the short -fall interest to the members of the Fund'.
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