A.P. Ravani, J.
1. All these appeals are filed by the State of Gujarat against the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the learned JMFC, Jamnagar. The Provident Inspector, Rajkot, complainant in all these cases, alleged that the opponent-firm and its partners had contravened the provisions of the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 ('the Act' for short) inasmuch as the dues required to be paid under the provisions of the Act and the Schemes framed thereunder were not paid by the opponents-original accused. The order of acquittal has been passed only on the ground that the complaint was filed beyond the period of limitation prescribed in Section 468(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It was alleged by the prosecution that the establishment made defaults in making payments of the requisite provident fund contributions between the period commencing from September 1973 till part of the year 1976. Complaints in all these cases have been admittedly filed on July, 6, 1977. The trial court relied upon the provisions of Section 468(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code and held that the complaint was filed beyond the period of limitation prescribed therein and hence ordered to acquit the accused. It was contended before the trial court that because the accused-establishment had preferred Special Civil Application No. 1190 of 1975 in this High Court, prosecution could not be launched against it earlier. This was the only contention raised before the trial court. The trial court found that the High Court had decided the petition by its judgment and order dated March 15, 1976 and writ was issued sometime in April 1976. There was no injunction order granted by the High Court and therefore, merely because the petition was pending in the High Court, there was no justification for not launching the prosecution. The trial court held that the complaints were filed beyond the period of limitation, i.e. one year after the date of the commission of the offence.
2. Unfortunately, it was not pointed out to the trial court that the offences under the provisions of the Act are continuing offences. If an employer continues to make default and does not pay any contribution either of provident fund or family pension scheme or deposit linked insurance scheme as required under the Act, his liability does not cease from the next day. Duty cast upon the employer to make the payment under the provisions of the Act continues so long as the payment is not made. Even if thereby any doubt as regards the correct amount or even with regard to the applicability of the provisions of the Act, then the matter may be referred to the Central Government either by the Commissioner or by the Establishment under the provisions of Section 19A of the Act. But even during the pendency of such reference, it cannot be said that the duty cast upon the employer to make the payment comes to an end. The employer is bound to make payment as per the provisions of the Aft.
3. However, in this case there is no question of any such references having been made or the same being pending before the Central Government during this period. In this case it is clear that there was no justification whatsoever for the Department for not launching the prosecution after the Department determined the dues and issued demand notice as far back as on May 20, 1976. Thereafter for one year, the Department did not launch prosecution in the court. The lethargy on the part of the Department is also reprehensible. Just as the courts are required to see that the sentencing policy enacted by the Legislature is properly implemented in Labour Legislation, it is the duty of the Executive Officers dealing with Labour Laws to see that the provisions of Labour Legislation are properly implemented. It is unfortunate that in the sphere of Labour Legislations, the Executive Officers, whose duty is to see that the Labour Legislations are properly implemented are not careful enough to see that erring employers are brought to books immediately.
4. The ground of limitation which weighed with the trial court is clearly not tenable. As stated hereinabove, the offences alleged against the accused are continuing offences and the offence continues till the requisite payment is made. However, I do not propose to admit these appeals on the ground that in 13 cognate cases decided by me today I have passed an order of conviction and sentence against these very accused. Even if I admit these appeals and ultimately comes to the conclusion that the accused be convicted and sentenced, I would have passed an order to the effect that the order of sentence should run concurrently. Therefore, this would not serve any other purpose except to burden the record of the court. Moreover, in these cases the amount of provident fund contribution and other amounts payable under the provisions of the Act and the Scheme have already been paid and in view of the fact that I have already passed an order of conviction and sentence against these very accused in other cognate matters, I refuse to entertain these appeals. Hence the appeals stand dismissed.