SC admits Vishal Retail appeal against Rs 3.5 cr EPFO demand
The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted Vishal Retail's appeal against an Employees Provident Fund Organisation directive to deposit Rs 3.5 crore toward the provident fund dues of 13,000 of the ailing supermarket chain's workers.
Issuing a notice to the EPFO over the matter, a bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph also directed Vishal Retail to deposit Rs 50 lakh with the provident fund body within a period of four weeks.
The apex court's direction came over an appeal filed by Vishal Retail challenging an order of the Delhi High Court to deposit 30 per cent of the amount demanded by EPFO.
Earlier, the apex court had on February 22 extended the deadline for depositing the amount till February 28 on the request of the debt-ridden retail chain.
The EPFO had directed the debt-ridden company to deposit Rs 11 crore toward the provident fund of 13,000 workers for the period between July, 2002, and January, 2009.
Vishal Retail had appealed against the demand to the Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal, which directed it to deposit 40 per cent of the amount with the EPFO as a precondition for hearing the appeal.
The company challenged the tribunal order before the high court, which refused a stay on it.
However, considering the financial health of the company, the court reduced the amount to be deposited to 30 per cent of the dues and directed the tribunal to hear the plea.
Vishal had subsequently approached the high court again, requesting the high court to extend the deadline till February 25, which was granted with a rider.
"We are inclined to extend the time till February 25, 2011. It is hereby made clear that no further extension shall be granted," the high court had said on December 16, 2010.