At, High Court of Karnataka
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.C. SHARMA & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V. SRISHANANDA
For the Appellants: Nandita D. Haldipur, Advocate. For the Respondents: K. Kasturi, Senior Advocate, Subha Ananthi, Advocate.
(Prayer: This Writ Appeal is filed under Section 4 of the Karantaka High Court Act Praying to (i) allow this Writ Appeal, (ii) Set aside the impugned Order passed by the Hon’ble Single Judge in Writ Petition 1082 of 2018, dated 29.1.2018 at Annexure-A and dismiss the Writ Petition, etc.)
S.C. Sharma, J.
1. The Regional Provident, Fund Commissioner-I along with one another have filed this present Appeal being aggrieved by the Order, dated 29.1.2018 passed in W.P. No.1082/2018.
2. The facts of the case reveal that an order was passed under Section 7-A of the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act of 1952' for short) against the Sole Respondent fastening the liability of Rs.16,31,58,755.
3. The order was passed on 15.12.2017 and thereafter, Interim Order was issued by the Appellant No.1 herein on 2.1.2018 directing the attachment of the Bank Account against Respondent No.1, the Respondent No.1 before this Court did prefer an Appeal before the Appellate Authority within 60 days as provided under the Act of 1952 and by filing a Writ Petition raised contention before the learned Single Judge that no such attachment could have been ordered specially when he has filed an Appeal and has also preferred an Application under Section 7-O of the Act of 1952 in respect of pre-deposit.
4. Sections 7-I & 7-O of the Act of 1952 reads as under:
“7-I. Appeals to Tribunal.-(1) Any person aggrieved by a Notification issued by the Central Government, or an Order passed by the Central Government or any authority, under the Proviso to sub-section (3), or sub-section (4) of Section 1, or Section 3, or sub-section (1) of Section 7-A, or Section 78 [except an order rejecting an application for review referred to in sub-section (5) thereof], or Section 7-C, or Section 14-B, may prefer an Appeal to a Tribunal against such Notification or order.
(2) Every Appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed in such form and manner, within such time and be accompanied by such fees, as may be prescribed.
7-O. Deposit of amount due, on filing Appeal.-No Appeal by the Employer shall be entertained by a Tribunal unless he has deposited with it seventy-five per cent of the amount due from him as determined by an Officer referred to in Section 7-A:
Provided that the Tribunal may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, waive or reduce the amount to be deposited under this Section.”
5. Unfortunately, the Appeal was not taken up by the Appellate Authority and the Attachment Order was passed and today also the fact remains that the Appeal has not been taken up by the Appellate Authority and no order has been passed in respect of application preferred under Section 7-O of the Act of 1952 by the Appellate Authority. The amount, which was under attachment has been reverted back to Respondent No.1 on account of the Order passed by this Court, which is dated 29.1.2018. Resultantly, without adverting to the merits of the case, the present Writ Appeal stands, disposed of with the following directions:
(a) The Appellate Authority is directed to pass appropriate orders in respect of pre-deposit as provided under Section 7-O of the Act of 1952 within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of certified copy of this Order;
(b) The observations made by the learned Singly Judge will not come in the way of the Appellate Authority;
(c) For a period of thirty days, there shall be no coercive ac
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tion against the Respondent No.1; and (d) The findings arrived at by the learned Single Judge will not come in way of the Department in future cases as this Court has not decided the matter on merits. The Department shall be free to proceed ahead in accordance with in all other matters as this Court has not passed any order on merits in respect of the issue involved in this present case.