Provisions of the Limitation Act not applicable to EPF & MP Act in the abscence of any legislative intent. These Act being Special Social Welfare Legislation designed to protect the interest of marginalized workmen-High Court
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1285 (2017) (07) HC
Important Case Laws Cited/relied upon:
The Commissioner of Sales Tax, UP, Lucknow Vs. Prason Tools & Plants. Kanpur. (1975) 4 SCC 22
Nityanand M. Joshi & another Vs. LIC AIR 1970 SC 209
Minor Subir Rajan Mandal Vs. Sita Nath Mukherjee. AIR 1994 Calcutta 166
Sitaram Nanasa & others Vs. Chunnilalsa Bhagchandsa Kalal, AIR (31), 1944 Nagpur 155
The Bharat Bank Ltd. Delhi Vs. The Employees of the Bharat Bank, 1950 (Supp.) SCCT 317.
Brief Facts of the Case:
This instant writ petition had been filed by the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (RPFC) against two orders passed by the Employees Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal (the EPF Tribunal’).
The EPF Tribunal had overruled the objection of the RPFC that Section 14(2) of the Limitation Act, L963 (‘the Limitation Act’) is not applicable in a proceeding before the EPF Tribunal, therefore, the period spent in any proceeding before any other authority in the Organisation is not Lo be excluded for the purpose of treating the appeal within the time allowed by statute. The Tribunal had held that benefit of Section 14(2) of the Limitation Act is available to the establishment.
Observations made by the High Court:
It was observed that Like the Industrial Tribunal, the Tribunal constituted under the EPF & MP Act is not a Court, but discharges functions akin to Courts. There can not be any doubt that the EPF Tribunal exercises quasi judicial authority. It is a creature of statute and must act within the law which constituted it.
The Hon’ble High Court observed that there was sufficient indication in case law relied upon by the petitioner to support the conclusion that there is no inherent power in the authorities or lhe Tribunal to condone delay in presenting an appeal against an order passed under Section 14-B of the EPF & MP Act.
The High Court concluded that the EPF & MP Act being Special Social Welfare Legislation designed to protect the interest of marginalized workmen, the provisions of the Limitation Act could not be made applicable in the absence of any legislative intent. Furthermore, the Assessing Authority and the Tribunal are not Courts of law and therefore, the provisions of Section 14 of Limitation Act are not applicable to them.
The petition was accepted and the impugned order of the EPF Tribunal was set aside.