JAMMU, May 3: High Court today came to the rescue of retired persons of JAKFED and directed Finance Department to immediately make arrangements to transfer Rs 25 crore to enable Federation to clear retiral dues and salaries of its employees.
“The needful shall be done within a period of three month from the date of receipt of copy of this order. It shall be the duty of the departments concerned to pay to the JAKFED the amount due from them, which is stated to be about Rs 19 crore or action be taken for recovery of dues”, High Court further directed.
The balance amount of Rs 6 crore can be reimbursed to the Finance Department on sale of the assets of the Federation as decided by the Chief Secretary as the employees/retirees cannot be made to wait for years together only because of mismanagement of the Federation by the officers/officials concerned at the relevant time. Steps shall be also taken to clear dues of Employees Provident Fund Organization, Justice Rajesh Bindal further said.
These directions have been passed in a contempt petition filed by Sudershan Kumar and Others.
After hearing Advocate Ajay Sharma for the petitioners whereas Advocate Adarsh Sharma for JAKFED, Justice Rajesh Bindal observed, “petitioners had approached this court with a grievance that having retired from service of JAKFED in the years 2011 and 2013, they had not been paid their retiral dues. The writ petition was disposed of with a direction to the official respondents to calculate and pay the outstanding dues to the petitioners within a period of six months from the date of receipt of copy of the order”.
As the order was not complied with present contempt petition was filed. But the same is pending ever since notice was issued on 04.07.2016. The stand of the respondent is that the Federation is in financial crunch and no cash is available for payment of the retiral dues and salaries of the employees.
“There are retirees from the year 2000 onwards who have not been paid there dues. Some of them had even expired waiting for payment of their dues. The total amount of liability is stated to be around Rs 4 crore. Other documents show that JAKFED had been defaulter in payment of Provident Fund dues of the employees. There are number of notices issued by the Additional Provident Fund Commissioner asking the Federation to deposit the contribution, administrative charges, interest and damages”, High Court observed, adding “the Federation had deducted the Provident Fund from the salaries of the employees and misappropriated the same for its own use instead of depositing it with the Provident Fund Organization”.
Justice Rajesh Bindal further observed that a decision has been taken to windup the JAKFED. The minutes of the meeting recorded on 15.01.2019 show that the statutory liability/retiral benefits of the employees run into about Rs 25 crores whereas the amount to be recovered by the JAKFED from different departments is about Rs 19 crore. It has further been noted in the minutes that approximate value of the assets of the JAKFED is more than Rs 200 crores. A decision was also taken to frame VRS for employees.
Stating that process of selling the assets of the Federation may take long time, Justice Bindal said, “there are retirees who have not been paid their dues from the year 2000 onwards and they cannot be left in lurch only because of inaction of the authorities”, adding “this court does not have any other option but to direct the Finance Department of the State to immediately make arrangement to transfer Rs 25 crore to the JAKFED to enable it to discharge the liability of retiral dues and salaries of its employees”.