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1978 (3) TMI 212

, D.N. Das, Archana Sen Gupta and Anjan Mukherjee, Advs. For Respondents/Defendant: Birendra Nath Mitra and Himangshu De, Advs. For Interveners: J.N. Ghosh and Dilip Kumar Dutta, Advs. JUDGMENT P.C. Borooah, 1. The petitioners in all these rules are being prosecuted in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, 7th Court, Calcutta, under the provisions of Sections 14(1A), 14(2), 14A(1) and 14AA of the Employees' Provident Funds and Family Pension Fund Act, 1952, read with para, 76(b) of the Employees' Provident Funds Scheme (hereinafter " the Act and the Scheme ") on the basis of complaints filed by the provident fund inspector, West Bengal. 2. The common question of law which arises in all these rules is whether a complain .....

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is without jurisdiction and has to be quashed. 6. Mr. J.N. Ghose submitted that under para. 38 of the Scheme the offence was complete on the expiry of the fifteenth day of the month following the month for which there was a default, and this default became a complete offence on and from the sixteenth day of the month. As such it was not a continuing offence. 7. Mr. Dilip Kumar Dutta also submitted that under para. 38 of the Scheme an employer is required within fifteen days of the close of every month to pay the necessary contributions and the administrative charges to the Fund. This, according to Mr. Dutta, clearly shows that if an employer makes any default and does not make the payments within fifteen days of the close of every month, on .....

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ave no manner of application. 10. Mr. Mitra also drew our attention to Section 14C of the. Act and submitted that when an employer fails to comply with the order of the court to make good the default within a specified period, he would be, in addition to being sent to prison, made liable to pay a fine extending to rupees hundred per day till the payments are made and this, according to Mr. Mitra, goes to show that if any default is made by an employer under the provisions of the Act and the Scheme it must be a continuing offence. 11. Mr. D.N. Das, appearing on behalf of the provident fund inspector, also submitted that an offence committed under the provisions of the Act is a continuing one because on and from the sixteenth day of a particu .....

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ion of limitation would arise as long as the offence continued. 13. The Supreme Court in dealing with the question explained what was a continuing offence in the following terms (p. 909); " Continuing offence is one which is susceptible of continuance and is distinguishable from the one which is committed once and for all. It is one of those offences which arises out of a failure to obey or comply with a rule or its requirement and which involves a penalty, the liability for which continues until the rule or its requirement is obeyed or complied with. On every occasion that such disobedience or non-compliance occurs and recurs, there is the offence committed. The distinction between the two kinds of offences is between an act or omissi .....

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is business, he would be guilty of an offence or that the offence would continue till the default is made good. Therefore, in the instant cases, once the defaults were made, the offences were committed once and for all and became complete on the close of the due date. As such, there could not be any ingredient of continuance in the offence to make it a continuing one. 16. Section 14C(1) of the Act empowers a court to make an order directing an employer to make good the default within a specified period, or within an extended period if an application be made in that behalf. In case an employer does not comply with such an order he can be made liable to the payment of fine which may extend to rupees one hundred for every day after the expiry .....

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