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Kunhipaly Vs. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1966)ILLJ642Ker
AppellantKunhipaly
RespondentRegional Provident Fund Commissioner and ors.
Cases ReferredLtd. v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner
Excerpt:
.....is that it is only on the communication from the authorities that the provisions become..........by respondenb 2, the tahsildar, alwaye, at the instance of respondent 1, the regional provident fund commissioner, trivandrum, a sum of rs. 7,907.25 was claimed from the petitioner as due from him towards arrears of provident fund contribution that the petitioner had to make under the employees' provident funds act, 1952, and the scheme framed thereunder for the period from february 1960 to march 1963. this demand, it is admitted by counsel on behalf of the petitioner, relates only to contributions to be made by the employer. this demand evidenced by ex. p. 5 is sought to be quashed.2. the ground relied on is that certain provisions of the employees' provident fund3 act under which the demand is made are ultra vires the powers of the legislature. counsel on behalf of the petitioner.....
Judgment:

P. Govindan Nair, J.

1. Two questions have been raised by this writ application by the employer. By Ex. P. 5, a demand notice issued by respondenb 2, the tahsildar, Alwaye, at the instance of respondent 1, the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Trivandrum, a sum of Rs. 7,907.25 was claimed from the petitioner as due from him towards arrears of provident fund contribution that the petitioner had to make under the Employees' Provident Funds Act, 1952, and the scheme framed thereunder for the period from February 1960 to March 1963. This demand, it is admitted by counsel on behalf of the petitioner, relates only to contributions to be made by the employer. This demand evidenced by Ex. P. 5 is sought to be quashed.

2. The ground relied on is that certain provisions of the Employees' Provident Fund3 Act under which the demand is made are ultra vires the powers of the legislature. Counsel on behalf of the petitioner argued that Sections 6, 7, 8 and 14 of the Employees' Provident Funds Act and Para, 29 of the scheme are ultra vires the legislative powers in that those provisions infringe Atricles 19(1)(f) and 31 of the Constitution. In support of this contention, reliance was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in Bombay Dyeing and . v. State of Bombay and Ors. 1958-I L.L.J. 778. What has been held in that case is that Section 3(1) of the Bombay Labour Welfare Fund Act is bad as it infringed Article 31 in that it deprived the appellant of his moneys without giving any compensation. It is impossible to come to the conclusion that the liability to make contributions towards provident fund under the Provident Funds Act and the scheme thereunder is deprivation of property without compensation therefor. It has come to be recognized that a scheme for provident fund is desirable and that it should be introduced in the welfare of the workmen in industrial establishments. So a number of awards have been passed even in regard to establishments that will not fall within the purview of the Employees' Provident Funds Act introducing schemes towards provident fund. The legislature perhaps was not satisfied with the slow progress made towards the introduction of the provident funds scheme in various industries functioning in the State and has therefore deemed it necessary by a quicker process to introduce the scheme in specified industries. The liability is imposed on an employer which naturally and inevitably results in the deprivation of property. But as it is directly linked with the services rendered by the workmen in the establishment, it is impossible to hold that there is deprivation of property without compensation. This is similar to the insistence under the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act that the minimum wages fixed should be paid. That statute has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision in Bijay Cotton Mills, Ltd., and Ors. v. State of Aimer 1955-I L.L.J. 129. I think that the principle of that should govern this case also and so I negative the contentions of counsel on behalf of the petitioner.

3. Counsel on behalf of the petitioner then urged that the notice Ex. P. 1 stating that the petitioner is liable to contribute from 1 February 1960 to 27 September 1962 cannot in any event be sustained. According to him till the authorities under the statute came to the conclusion that the Act is applicable to a particular unit and made a demand for the dues, there can be no liability. He relied on the rulings of the Calcutta High Court in Aluminium Corporation of India v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and Ors. 1959-I L.L.J. 249 and of the Madras High Court in K.R. Subbaier v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Madras 1963-I L.L.J. 23 in support of the proposition that he urged that the provisions in the statute, the Employees' Provident Funds Act and the scheme, indicate that they become operative only on and from the point of time when the authorities hold that a particular unit is within the ambit of the Act and make consequential demand in terms of the Act and the scheme. Counsel seems to be supported by these decisions. But with all respect to the learned Judges, I am unable to accept what is stated in those decisions. The Act comes into operation by its own vigour. It applies if the conditions stated in the Act are satisfied to all the industries mentioned in the Act. It is not the case of the petitioner that because the conditions under the statute have not been satisfied the Act was not applicable for the period from 27 September 1962. All that is said is that it is only on the communication from the authorities that the provisions become operative. It seems to me that this contention cannot be accepted. The operation of the statute does not depend on any decision being taken by the authorities under the statute. It depends on its own provisions. That seems to be the view taken by this Court in Kokkalai Rice and Oil Mills, etc. v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner1960-II L.L.J. 528 which has apparently been approved by the Supreme Court in the decision in Associated Industries (Private), Ltd. v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Kerala1963-II L.L.J. 652.

4. I dismiss this petition but make no order as to costs.


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