Today, in its latest Judgment, Allahabad High Court at Lucknow has imposed a heavy cost of Rs 50,000 for delaying the proceedings.
The matter before the Allahabad HC pertained to the Employees Provident Fund.
What was the Controversy before Allahabad High Court?
Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Lucknow passed some orders in proceedings under Section 7-A of the Act of 1952. By means of these order liability of the petitioners as an employer was determined under the Act.
Notice was issued for determining the number of persons in employment with the petitioners.
Petitioner Firm took the stand that “Commission Agents” “Stringers” and “Motivators” do not fall within the definition of “employee” as provided in Section 2(f) of the Act of 1952.
So it was contended that Petitioner are not liable to deposit any contribution on their behalf. The Petitioners contended that department is repeatedly asking to submit various documents.
However, the Petitioner has already submitted all the documents. So its harassment of the Petitioner
In the instant matter, the Petitioners assailed the validity of some orders passed under Section 7A of the Employees Provident Fund and Misc. Provisions Act, 1952
Petitioners Deliberately Causing Delay
Respondent Union of India said that Commissioner has the power under Section 7A to conduct Inquiry.
Further, the Petitioner is not cooperating with the Provident Fund Commissioner. Due to Petitioner, proceedings are pending for more than 7 years. Petitioners filed several Writ Petitions for delaying the proceedings.
Abuse of Process of Law
Allahabad High Court observed that since the inception Petitioner has filed several Writ Petitions for same proceedings. The court found that total seven Writ Petitions were filed for same proceedings.
Hon’ble Allahabad High Court observed that the Petitioner’s effort is to procrastinate the proceedings before the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner. So that no liability is fastened upon them nor the issues as raised therein determined expeditiously.
In view of the above Court held that the present writ petition is nothing but clear abuse of process of law.
The court observed that numerous writ petitions have been filed in this court one after another for the same cause of action seeking interference of this Court in the proceedings pending before the Provident fund commissioner.
Further, the Court observed that the petitioners are not co-operating with the Provident Fund Commissioner. They are not producing documents as directed, thereby deliberately delaying the decision in the matter, which is pending since last more than 7 years.
Dismissed with Cost of 50K
Allahabad High Court dismissed the Writ Petition with the cost of Rs 50,000/-. Petitioner shall deposit the cost with the Senior Registrar of Court within a period of one month.
In case the said amount is not deposited, it is to be recovered as arrears of land revenue.
Court has directed that Petition shall produce all the material and documents as directed by the Regional Provident fund Commissioner within a period of one month.
Title: M/S Sahara India Thru. Partner Om Prakash Srivastava & Anr vs U.O.I. Thru Secy. Ministry Of Labour, New Delhi & Anr.
Case No. 15298 (M/S) of 2020
Date of Judgment: 20.10.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Alok Mathur
Counsel for Petitioners:- Sri Sudeep Seth, Senior Advocate assisted by Sri Piyush Kumar Agarwal
Counsel for Respondent:- Sri Savitra Vardhan Singh, A.S.G., Akhilesh Pratap Singh