Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench of L. Narayana Swamy, J., allowed a first appeal filed under Section 82(2) of the Employees State Insurance Act, against the order of the Employees State Insurance Court, Bangalore, whereby the ESI Court had set aside the order of first appellant and had levied damages to the tune of Rs. 1,03,085/- on the respondent for delayed payment of ESI contribution.

The main issue, in this case, was whether the ESI Court had committed a serious error in not determining the quantum of damages itself or remanding the matter to the authorities for fresh determination of damages when the ESI Court had come to the conclusion that no reasonable opportunity was given to the respondent.

The Court observed that the respondent had raised a contention before the ESI Court that the appellant had passed the order without affording an opportunity to the respondent. Since the impugned order was passed by the appellant authority without proper notice and hearing and the same was decided by the ESI Court also, it ought to have remanded the matter to the appellant to cause a notice on the respondent and then pass a sound order after conducting proper and fair hearing.

The Court set aside the order passed by the ESI Court and remanded the matter to the appellant for conducting a proper hearing by giving an opportunity to the respondent to present his case. [Employees State Insurance Corporation v. Bangalore Shirt Co. (P) Ltd., MFA No. 6400 of 2013 (ESI), order dated 10-10-2018]

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