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The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner v/s M. Asokan

    Appeal No. 3 of 2000

    Decided On, 08 June 2000

    At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: V.S. Bhasurendran Nair, Advocate. For the Respondent: None.

Judgment Text

L. Manoharan, President:

1. The opposite party in O.P. No. 537/1998 on the file of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kozhikkode is the appellant. Complainant alleged before the District Forum that himself was an employee of a concern and was a member of the Employees Provident Fund Scheme for the period from 4.1.1986 to 25.1.1990. He claimed that he resigned from the job on 25.1

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1990, he was paid his dues as per the said scheme only up to 3.1.1986. Therefore, he wanted a direction to the opposite party to the dues for the period from 4.1.1986 to 25.1.1990. The opposite party maintained that the concern in question was would up on 4.1.1986. So the case of the complainant that he resigned his job in that concern on 5.1.1990 is not true. Another contention raised is, the complaint is barred by limitation. The complainant gave evidence as P.W. 1 and produced Exts. PI to P16. The opposite party produced Ext. R1. On a consideration of the same the District Forum made a direction to the opposite party to pay Rs. 1,860/- with interest at 12% from 1.4.1989 and Rs. 500/- towards costs. It is the said direction that is under challenge in this appeal. The learned Counsel for the appellant pointed out, against the dismissal of the complaint on a prior occasion, the complainant had approached this Commission in Appeal No. 1237/98 and as per the order in the said appeal the dismissal was set aside and the matter was remitted to the District Forum. The said dismissal by the District Forum was on the ground of limitation. It is urged by the learned Counsel that this Commission though set aside the order, the Commission did not hold that the complaint is within time and in such circumstance the District Forum was bound to consider the question of limitation which it did not. In such circumstance according to the learned Counsel had the District Forum considered the question of limitation it would have been found that the complaint, as a matter of fact, is barred by limitation. The finding on the basis of Ext. P15 is infirm.2. At the time of argument the learned Counsel was required to produce the copy of the complaint which he placed before us. A reading of paras 1 and 2 of the complaint would show that regular correspondence between the complainant and the office including the office of the Central Provident Fund Commissioner, New Delhi was there and the complainant alleged in para 2 of the complaint that when the complainant intimated the fact that the actual balance amount due to him was not yet paid, the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, New Delhi issued a letter dated 12.6.1998 to the opposite party with a copy of the same to the complainant wherein the opposite party was directed to look into the matter personally and report back. It is alleged, that inspite of that they did not consider his claim. This allegation is not denied in the version filed by the opposite party. Under Section 24(A) (ii) the Forum has got jurisdiction to condone the delay in filing the complaint. Apart from the same in view of the fact that the allegation in para 2 of the complaint is not denied, the date of communication from the Asstt. Provident Fund Commissioner, New Delhi has to be treated as cause of action; and if that is so, the complaint is not barred by limitation. Alternatively, the said circumstance would constitute sufficient cause for condoning delay.3. As regards reliance on Ext. P15 what was urged by the learned Counsel is that he was not a party to the proceeding before the Labour Court. When there is disputed question of fact as adjudication by a Tribunal invested with jurisdiction as to whether the concern in which an employee was working was functioning, would be a piece of evidence though the same may not operate as res judicata. Having regard to the character of the order in Ext. P15 it cannot be said that it was faulty for the District Forum to rely on Ext. P15. We see nothing to interfere. The appeal fails, dismissed.

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