The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday allowed the petition of a bank challenging the order passed by Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), Dehradun under Section 7(7) of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
The petition has been filed by Canara Bank (Erstwhile Syndicate Bank), challenging the order passed by Appellate Authority/Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), Dehradun under Section 7(7) of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 by which the impugned order, petitioner’s appeal, filed on 29.01.2021 against the order of Controlling Authority, has been dismissed on the ground of delay.
The facts of the matter is that one Chandra Prakash Bisht filed an application claiming gratuity under Section 4 of Payment of Gratuity Act. The said application was allowed and the Controlling Authority, vide order dated 28.02.2020 provided that respondent is entitled to a sum of Rs 15,04,892 as gratuity and necessary direction for payment of the said amount was issued to the petitioner. The order passed by the Controlling Authority was communicated to the petitioner on 03.07.2020.
Feeling aggrieved by the order passed by the Controlling Authority, petitioner filed an appeal under Section 7 (7) of the Act before the Appellate Authority in the month of January, 2021. The said appeal has been dismissed on the ground of delay, by holding that the limitation for filing appeal expired in the month of November, 2020, therefore, the appeal cannot be entertained at this belated stage. Thus, feeling aggrieved, petitioner has approached the High Court.
Siddhartha Sah, counsel for the petitioner, has relied upon the order dated 23.03.2020 passed by the Supreme Court, in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No. 3 of 2020, (in Re: cognizance for extension of limitation). By the said order, it was provided that the period of limitation in all proceedings shall stand extended w.e.f. 15.03.2020 till further orders, in view of the situation arising due to Covid-19 virus.
Shashank Upadhyaya, counsel for respondent, submitted that petitioner is entitled to benefit of the order passed by the Supreme Court and the writ petition may be allowed on this ground alone.
A single-judge bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Tewari opined that Appellate Authority was not justified in dismissing the appeal on the ground of delay and in view of the order passed by Apex Court.
“In such view of the matter, the impugned order dated 05.02.2021 is liable to be quashed and the same is hereby quashed. The writ petition stands allowed and the matter is remitted back to the Appellate Authority for decision on petitioner’s appeal on merits, as early as possible; but, not later than four months from the date of production of certified copy of this order,” the order reads.