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THE ASST. REGIONAL DIRECTOR v. MANORAJYAM PUBLICATIONS PVT. LTD. - Ins APP No. 15 of 2006  RD-KL 6002 (22 March 2007)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAMIns APP No. 15 of 2006()
1. THE ASST. REGIONAL DIRECTOR,
1. MANORAJYAM PUBLICATIONS PVT. LTD.,
For Petitioner :SMT.T.D.RAJALAKSHMY, SC, ESI CORPN.
For Respondent :SRI.A.M.SHAFFIQUE
The Hon'ble MR. Justice K.PADMANABHAN NAIR
O R D E R
K.Padmanabhan Nair, J.
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Ins.Appeal No.15 of 2006
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Dated, this the 22nd day of March, 2007.Judgment This appeal is filed against the order passed by the Employees Insurance Court, Idukki in I.C.No. 8 of 2000 by which it was held that the claim for contribution for the period from 1-4-1979 to 31-10-1982 made by the appellant- Assistant Regional Director of E.S.I. Corporation is barred by limitation.
2. The establishment of the respondent is covered under the provisions of the Employees State Insurance Act. The Department took up a stand that the respondent is liable to pay contribution for that period also. On an earlier occasion when the Department made a demand it was challenged by the respondent in I.C.No.20 of 1994, which was disposed of directing the Corporation to make a fresh assessment, after affording an opportunity to the respondent to raise all objections. After that the appellant initiated proceedings under section 85-B of the E.S.I. Act. After remand, the Insurance Court held that the claim for contribution from 1-4-1979 to 31-10-1982 is barred by limitation and hence it is unsustainable. The Insurance Court relied on the decision reported in E.S.I Corporation v. Excel Glasses Ltd. (2003(3) K.L.T.42). The decision Ins.Appeal No.15 of 2006 2 rendered by this Court in Excel Glasses Ltd.'s Case was overruled by the Supreme Court in Employees State Insurance Corporation v. Santhakumar (2007(1) K.L.T.133) in which it was held that no period of limitation is fixed by the statute. It was further held that the employer can be given an opportunity to plead and prove that the claim is beyond reasonable time and that irretrievable prejudice was caused. In view of the principle laid down in Santhakumar's Case (supra) I am of the view that the order passed by the E.I. Court is unsustainable and liable to be set aside. The case is to be remanded. In the result, the appeal is allowed. The order passed by the E.I.Court in I.C.No.8 of 2000 dated 29-08-2005 is set aside. The case is remanded to the E.I.Court for fresh disposal. The Insurance Court is directed to take I.C.No. 8 of 2000 back to file and dispose of the same afresh in accordance with the principle laid down in Santhakumar's Case (supra). K.Padmanabhan Nair, Judge. s.
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