Monday, October 12, 2009

Liquidator’s sign not required for workers’ PF, says HC

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court has ordered Provident Fund Commissioner’s (PFC) office to pay PFs of workers of companies and mills under liquidation on mere production of adequate proof of employment and identification. This will bring relief to scores of workers in the city.

Justice Jayant Patel has asked PFC not to wait for countersign and stamp of official liquidators on the applications for the purpose of releasing the provident fund of workers.
This might help workers of some 35 closed textile mills and nearly 400 companies that are in liquidation across the state to withdraw their amount.
On issuance of winding up orders, the liquidator takes custody of the assets of closed companies. By virtue of the provisions of the Companies Act he becomes the sole occupier of the property. For withdrawal of provident fund amount, the liquidator puts his signature and stamp on application forms in order to enable workers to receive the amount from the PFC office.
However, liquidators of various closed mills in the city abruptly stopped co-operating with workers and did not sign their forms.
As a result, the PFC office wouldn’t pay the amount to workers. Earlier this year the PFC office issued a notice to liquidators in this regard and warned legal proceedings in this regard. The liquidators moved the high court to get this notice quashed.
After hearing liquidators, lawyers from the PFC and Textile Labour Association, Justice Patel held that the amount standing to the credit of the employee is his property and PFC is not justified in withholding the payment of workers.
He added that PFC need not wait for the confirmation or countersigning on part of liquidators and should straightaway release the provident fund.
The high court has also directed the PFC office to refer cases in which workmen are not in possession of any proof to the association.

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