Recovery of Money Under Employee Provident Fund
Determination of moneys due from employers
(1) The Central Provident Fund Commissioner, any Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner, any Deputy Provident Fund Commissioner, any Regional Provident Fund Commissioner or any Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner may, by order,
(a) In a case where a dispute arises regarding the applicability of this Act to an establishment, decide such dispute; and
(b) Determine the amount due from any employer under any provision of this Act, the Scheme or the Pension Scheme or the Insurance Scheme, as the case may be, and for any of the aforesaid purposes may conduct such inquiry as he may deem necessary.
(2) The officer conducting the inquiry under sub-section 1 shall, for the purposes of such inquiry have the same powers as are vested in a court under the code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), for trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) Enforcing the attendance of any person or examining him on oath:
(b) Requiring the discovery and production of documents;
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavit;
(d) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses, and any such inquiry shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purpose of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code 45 of 1960.
(3) No order shall be made under sub-section 1, unless the employer concerned is given a reasonable opportunity of representing his case.
(3A) Where the employer, employee or any other person required to attend the inquiry under sub-section 1 fails to attend such inquiry without assigning any valid reason or fails to produce any document or to file any report or return when called upon to do so, the officer conducting the inquiry may decide the applicability of the Act or determine the amount due from any employer, as the case may be, on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and other documents available on record.
(4) Where an order under sub-section 1 is passed against an employer ex-parte, he may, within three months from the date of communication of such order, apply to the officer for setting aside such order and if he satisfies the officer that the show cause notice was not duly served or that he was prevented by any sufficient cause from appearing when the inquiry was held, the officer shall make an order setting aside his earlier order and shall appoint a date for proceeding with the inquiry:
Provided that no such order shall be set aside merely on the ground that there has been an irregularity in the service of the show cause notice if the officer is satisfied that the employer had notice of the date of hearing and had sufficient time to appear before the officer.
Explanation.- Where an appeal has been preferred under this Act against an order passed ex parte and such appeal has been disposed of otherwise than on the ground that the appellant has withdrawn the appeal, no application shall lie under this sub-section for setting aside the ex parte order.
(5) No order passed under this section shall be set aside on any application under sub-section 4 unless notice thereof has been served on the opposite party.
7B. Review of orders passed under Section 7A.
(1) Any person aggrieved by an order made under sub-section 1 of section 7A, but from which no appeal has been preferred under this Act, and who, from the discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence was not within his knowledge or could not be produced by him at the time when the order was made, or on account of some mistake or error apparent on the face of the record or for any other sufficient reason, desires to obtain a review of such order may apply for a review of that order to the officer who passed the order:
Provided that such officer may also on his own motion review his order if he is satisfied that it is necessary so to do on any such ground.
(2) Every application for review under sub-section 1 shall be filed in such form and manner and within such time as may be specified in the Scheme.
(3) Where it appears to the officer receiving an application for review that there is no sufficient ground for a review, he shall reject the application.
(4) Where the officer is of opinion that the application for review should be granted, be shall grant the same:
Provided that, -
(a) No such application shall be granted without previous notice to all the parties before him to enable them to appear and be heard in support of the order in respect of which a review is applied for, and
(b) No such application shall be granted on the ground of discovery of new matter or evidence which the applicant alleges was not within his knowledge or could not be produced by him when the order was made, without proof of such allegation.
(5) No appeal shall lie against the order of the officer rejecting an application for review, but an appeal under this Act shall lie against an order passed under review as if the order passed under review were the original order passed by him under section 7A.
7C. Determination of escaped amount.
Where an order determining the amount due from an employer under section 7A or section 7B has been passed and if the officer who passed the orders –
(a) Has reason to believe that by reason of the omission or failure on the part of the employer to make any document or report available, or to disclose, fully and truly, all material facts necessary for determining the correct amount due from the employer, any amount so due from such employer for any period has escaped his notice;
(b) Has, in consequence of information in his possession, reason to believe that any amount to be determined under section 7A or section 7B has escaped from his determination for any period notwithstanding that there has been no omission or failure as mentioned in clause a on the part of the employer, he may, within a period of five years from the date of communication of the order passed under section 7A or section 7B, re-open the case and pass appropriate orders re-determining the amount due from the employer in accordance with the provisions of this Act:
Provided that no order re-determining the amount due from the employer shall be passed under this section unless the employer is given a reasonable opportunity of representing his case. here.
Pradeep K Khatana