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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

in Mcleod Russel India Limited Vs. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Jalpaiguri and Others, reported in (2014) 15 SCC 263, wherein it has been held in paragraph 11 that ".....the presence or absence of mens rea and/or actus reus would be a determinative factor in imposing damages under Section 14-B, as also the quantum thereof since it is not inflexible that 100 per cent of the arrears have to be imposed in all the cases. Alternatively stated, if damages have been imposed under Section 14-B, it will be only logical that mens rea and/or actus reus was prevailing at the relevant time."

                                                              NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 96-97 OF 2017
            [@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NOs. 1879-1880 OF 2015]

      ASSISTANT PROVIDENT FUND COMMISSIONER,
      EPFO AND ANR.                                     Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

      THE MANAGEMENT OF RSL TEXTILES INDIA PVT. LTD.
      THR. ITS DIRECTOR.                                Respondent(s)

                               J U D G M E N T

KURIAN, J.
      Leave granted.
1.    The appellants are before this Court, aggrieved by the final  impugned
Judgment and order dated 13.11.2013 in Writ Appeal No. 1639 of 2011 in  Writ
Petition No. 9850 of 2010 and Writ Appeal No. 1640 of 2011 in Writ  Petition
No. 26957 of 2010 passed by the High Court of judicature at Madras.

2.    The High Court has taken a view that  in  the  absence  of  a  finding
regarding mens rea/actus reus on the part  of  the  employer,  action  under
Section 14B of the Employee's Provident Fund  and  Miscellaneous  Provisions
Act, 1952 cannot be sustained.

3.    This issue is  now  wholly  covered  against  the  appellants  in  the
decision rendered by this Court in Mcleod Russel India Limited Vs.  Regional
Provident Fund Commissioner, Jalpaiguri and Others, reported  in  (2014)  15
SCC 263, wherein it has been held in paragraph 11  that  ".....the  presence
or absence of mens rea and/or actus reus would be a determinative factor  in
imposing damages under Section 14-B,  as also the quantum thereof  since  it
is not inflexible that 100 per cent of the arrears have  to  be  imposed  in
all the cases.  Alternatively stated, if damages  have  been  imposed  under
Section 14-B, it will be only logical that mens rea and/or  actus  reus  was
prevailing at the relevant time."

4.    In the impugned Judgment, at paragraph 23, it  has  been  specifically
held by the High Court that "In this case, there is no finding  rendered  by
the original authority or the appellate authority with regard  to  mens  rea
or actus reus,  except  saying  financial  crises  cannot  be  a  reason  to
escape."

5.    In view of the above, these appeals are dismissed.
      No costs.
                                                   .......................J.
                                                           [ KURIAN JOSEPH ]


                                                   .......................J.
                                                   [ ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN ]

      New Delhi;
      January 03, 2017.

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