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`Not submitting details under EPF Act is not non-application of mind'
November, 23rd 2006
An employer could not refuse to comply with statutory mandate to pay contribution by employees as also their share.

The Madras High Court has held that non-submission of details about previous convictions of an employer under the Employees Provident Funds Act could not be construed as "non-application of mind" by the authority empowered to sanction prosecution of the said employer under Section 14A(2) of the Act.

Dismissing a writ petition by Alacrity Foundations Ltd, Chennai, challenging the order dated June 23, 2004 of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Royapettah, Chennai, according sanction to prosecute a company, its Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the alleged offence, Mr Justice K. Chandru said that in the present case, no attack was made on the complaint.

Stating that the petitioner had not made out any case and they had to stand trial and prove their innocence there, the Judge said that an employer could not refuse to comply with statutory mandate to pay contribution by employees as also their share, which was by way of social security.

If this object was taken note of, then the Court dealing with writ petitions seeking to quash prosecution would have to act slowly.

In fact, the question with reference to power to quash criminal proceedings under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure had come up before the Apex Court in several matters.

Even while exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash criminal proceedings, this Court could have only limited discretion. In the light of binding precedents of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the writ petition filed and same shall stand dismissed, the Judge held.

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