The Kerala High Court directed a Punjab Government organization, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (PSIDC), to refund money deposited in bonds by an Industrial Co-operative Society [Indian Coffee Board Workers] (Society) and its EPF Trust.

The PSIDC had claimed to be under an acute financial crunch due to which they were unable to disperse their liability within a stipulated time towards the Society and its Trust, but the Court held that they were backed by government budgetary allocation to discharge liabilities towards its bond holders, and hence there was no reason to decline the relief to the bond holders.

A Single Bench of Justice N. Nagaresh observed “The amounts deposited in the bonds issued by the 2nd respondent, are hard earned money of lower level employees.

Advocate V. Rajendran represented the petitioners, while Advocate N. Manoj Kumar appeared for the respondents.

Prompted by default in interest payments by PSIDC, the Trust filed a writ petition for recovery of amounts on the basis of contractual obligations since they had invested in Bonds with PSIDC.

Amidst a financial crisis, the PSIDC had been making efforts to recover defaulted amounts from various companies and in order to do so the Government of Punjab had adopted a 'One Time Settlement Scheme.' Secondly, the PSIDC informed about the Government's budgetary provision of ₹22 Crores allocated to discharge its liabilities towards bond holders. However,

The Court noted “It is also evident that the 1st respondent-State of Punjab is making monetary allocation to the 2nd respondent to discharge their liabilities. In the facts of the case, I do not find any reason to decline relief to the petitioners” and directed the respondents to refund the amount deposited by the 2nd petitioner with interest.

The High Court allowed the writ petition.

Cause Title: Indian Coffee Board Workers & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Ors. (2024/KER/805)

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