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Employees' State Insurance Corporation Vs. Simson and Mc Conechy (India) (P) Ltd. and Anr. (24.04.1974 - MADHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1975)ILLJ225Mad
AppellantEmployees' State Insurance Corporation
RespondentSimson and Mc Conechy (India) (P) Ltd. and Anr.
Cases ReferredMayilasami Gounder v. Rammoonhi Chetttar
Excerpt:
- - in my opinion, this statement of the law laid down by the privy council will apply to courts having general jurisdiction, but will not apply to a body like the employees' insurance court, which is only a statutory body as held by the bench of this court referred to above......till february 20, 1971, by way of restitution. the petitioner contended that section 144, code of civil procedure, under which the petition was filed by the first respondent, was not applicable to the employees' insurance court and, therefore, under that section, the employees' insurance court, had no jurisdiction to order the payment of interest on the amount in question. the employees' insurance court rejected this contention of the petitioner and directed payment of interest to the first respondent herein by way of restitution it is to quash this order of the employees' insurance court dated 5th april, 1971, the writ petition has been filed. it is against the very same order the civil miscellaneous appeal has also been filed under section 82(2) of the act.2. the question for.....
Judgment:

M.M. Ismail, J.

1. The petitioner in the writ petition and the appellant in the civil miscellaneous appeal are one and the same,i.e. the Employees' State Insurance Corporation, Madras. The petitioner filed E.I.0.P. No. 5 of 1966 on the file of the Employees Insurance Court (First Additional Judge, City Civil, Court, Madras) against the first respondent herein under Section 75(2) of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Apt), for the recovery of the employer's Contribution of Rs. 6,470, This claim of the petitioner was allowed by the Employees' Insurance Court on November 23, 1967, and the first respondent was directed to pay a sum of Rs. 6,470. Against this direction of the Employees' Insurance Court, the first respondent preferred C.M.A. No. 110 of 1968 on the file of this Court. During the pendency of this civil miscellaneous appeal, the petitioner herein sought to execute the order passed by the Employees' Insurance Court, which order is enforceable as a decree of the civil Court under Section 78(4) of the Act. It filed E. P. No. 11 of 1968 on the file of the Employees' Insurance Court, Madras, and that Court issued a warrant. Pursuant to that warrant, the first respondent herein has paid a sum of Rs. 6,772.60. Thereafter, C.M.A. No. 110 of 1968 was allowed by this Court on April 23, 1970, holding that the first respondent herein was not liable to make contribution under the Act. Thereafter, the first respondent herein filed C.M.P. No. 3 of 1971 in E.I.O.P. No. 5 of 1966 on the file of the Employees' Insurance Court, Madras, for restitution. During the pendency of that petition itself, the petitioner paid to the first respondent herein the amount actually collected from it, viz., Rs. 6,772.60. However, the controversy between the parties related to whether the petitioner was liable to pay interest on this sum from August 19, 1968, till February 20, 1971, by way of restitution. The petitioner contended that Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, under which the petition was filed by the first respondent, was not applicable to the Employees' Insurance Court and, therefore, under that section, the Employees' Insurance Court, had no jurisdiction to order the payment of interest on the amount in question. The employees' Insurance Court rejected this contention of the petitioner and directed payment of interest to the first respondent herein by way of restitution It is to quash this order of the Employees' Insurance Court dated 5th April, 1971, the writ petition has been filed. It is against the very same order the civil miscellaneous appeal has also been filed under Section 82(2) of the Act.

2. The question for consideration is whether the Employees' Insurance Court had jurisdiction to direct payment of interest by the petitioner to the first respondent under Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure. It is necessary for the purpose of undertanding this controversy to refer to the statutory provisions applicable to the Court in question. Chapter VI of the Act deals with the 'Adjudication of disputes and claims'. Section 74(1) states:

The State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute an Employees' Insurance Court for such local area as may be specified in the notification.

According to Sub-section (2) of that section, 'The Court shall consist of such number of Judges as the State Government may think fit.'

3. Section 78 of the Act deals with the powers of the Employees' Insurance Court. According to Section 78(1), 'The Employees' Insurance Court shall have all the powers of a Civil Court for the purposes of summons, and enforcing the attendance of witnesses, compelling the discovery and production of documents and materials objects, administering oath and recording evidence and such Court shall be deemed to be a civil Court within the meaning of Section 195 and Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.'

Sub-section (2) of Section 78 states:

The Employees' Insurance Court shall follow such procedure as may be prescribed by rules made by the State Government.

According to Sub-section (3) of Section 78:

All costs incidental to any proceeding before an Employees' Insurance Court shall, subject to such rules as may be made in this behalf by the State Government, be in the discretion of the Court.

Section 78(4) states:

An order of the Employees' Insurance Court shall be enforceable as if it were a decree passed in a suit by a civil Court.

The State Government has made rules in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 96 of the Act. Rule 42 deals with execution. According to Rule 42(1),

Any person in whose favour an order has been passed shall, within one year from the date of the order, apply in Form 10 to the Court which made the order for its execution.

Sub-rule (2) of Rule 42 states:

On such application being made, the Court shall send the same together with the necessary regard to a civil Court, of competent jurisdiction, for its execution and such civil Court shall have the same power in executing such order has if it had been passed by it.

Thus, it will be seen that the rules themselves do not contemplate an order made by the Employees' Insurance Court being executed by that Court itself, and it specifically Imposes an obligation on the Employees' insurance Court, when an application for execution has been made to it to transfer that application along with the records to a civil Court of competent jurisdiction for execution. Once such an application has been made and transferred to the civil Court, all the provisions applicable to a civil Court in relation to the execution of a decree will automatically apply to the execution of this order. Therefore, if the provisions contained in Rule 42 have been followed in the present case, there will be no difficulty whatever in holding that Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, will apply to that Court. Unfortunately, in this case, the Employees' Insurance Court, as soon as the application in Form 10 has been filed before it, has not chosen to transfer that application to the civil Court of competent jurisdiction, as provided for in Rule 42(2), but purported to execute that order itself. without realising that the order was sought to be executed by a Court which had no jurisdiction, the first respondent has also paid the money. It is under these circumstances alone it has to be considered whether Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, will apply to the present case or not. As pointed out already, if the procedure prescribed in Rule 42(2) has been followed, Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, will apply, and in this case, that procedure not having been followed, prima facie, Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, will not apply.

3. A Bench of this Court in Dhala Tanning Company v. Employees' State Insurance Corporation (1973) 44 F J.R. 212, has held that the Employees' Insurance Court is only a statutory body and not a court governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. Consequently, even when the Employees' Insurance Court wrongly assumed jurisdiction to execute its order still Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, cannot apply to that Court, because it is not a Court, but only a statutory body. However, Mr. M. Srinivasan, the learned Counsel for the first respondent, contended that Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, is only a procedural section and the right to direct restitution is part of the inherent jurisdiction of the Court. For this purpose, he relied on the decision of the Privy Council in Jai Barham v. Kedar Nath Marwari 44 M.L.J. 735. In that case, the Privy Council just pointed out that the duty of the Court under Section 144, Code of Civil Procedure, does not arise merely under the section ; it is inherent in the general jurisdiction of the Court to act rightly and fairly according to the circumstances towards all parties involved. In my opinion, this statement of the law laid down by the Privy Council will apply to Courts having general jurisdiction, but will not apply to a body like the Employees' Insurance Court, which is only a statutory body as held by the Bench of this Court referred to above.

4. The question whether a Revenue Court functioning under the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Protection Act, 1955, had the power to order restoration, came up for consideration before a Bench of this Court in Mayilasami Gounder v. Rammoonhi Chetttar : (1970)1MLJ606 . There, the tenant against whom an order of eviction was originally passed in execution of which he was evicted and which order of eviction was subsequently reversed, filed an application for restoration of possession. The question that came up for consideration before this Court was whether the Revenue Court had such a power. This Court held that Revenue Court had no such power. While coming to that conclusion, this Court held:

Unlike courts of law which would have inherent powers, although there is no specific enabling statutory provision, the position of statutory bodies entrusted with specified powers is entirely different. The powers of such a statutory body are entirely limited and controlled by the statute which confers them, and, it cannot act outside the limits of the statute creating it. On that view, it could have no inherent power. It is another matter if on a construction of a statutory provision an inference therefrom can be made of an ancillary or necessary power to execute the main purpose Covered by the statute.

This decision directly applied to the present case, because the Employees' Insurance Court is not a Court of general jurisdiction, but it is a statutory body entrusted with specified and limited powers, and, therefore, it cannot have any inherent power to order restitution. Under these circumstances, it follows that the impunged order of the Employees' Insurance Court cannot be sustained.

5. The writ petition is, therefore, allowed, and the order of the Employees' Insurance Court is quashed. There will be no order as to costs in the writ petition.

6. In view of my allowing the writ petition, no orders are necessary in the civil miscellaneous appeal and the same is dismissed. There will be no orders as to costs.


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