7A. Determination of moneys due from employers
(1) The Central Provident Fund Commissioner any Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner any Deputy Provident Fund Commissioner any Regional Provident Fund Commissioner or any Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner may by order
(a) in a case where a dispute arises regarding the applicability of this Act to an establishment decide such dispute; and
(b) determine the amount due from any employer under any provision of this Act the Scheme or the Pension Scheme or the Insurance Scheme as the case may be and for any of the aforesaid purposes may conduct such inquiry as he may deem necessary.
(2) The officer conducting the inquiry under sub-section (1) shall for the purposes of such inquiry have the same powers as are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 for trying a suit in respect of the following matters namely :
(a) enforcing the attendance of any person or examining him on oath;
(b) requiring the discovery and production of documents;
(c) receiving evidence on affidavit;
(d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses; and any such inquiry shall be deemed to be judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 and for the purpose of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code.
(3) No order shall be made under sub-section (1) unless the employer concerned is given a reasonable opportunity of representing his case.
(3A) Where the employer employee or any other person required to attend the inquiry under sub-section (1) fails to attend such inquiry without assigning any valid reason or fails to produce any document or to file any report or return when called upon to do so the officer conducting the inquiry may decide the applicability of the Act or determine the amount due from any employer as the case may be on the basis of the evidence adduced during such enquiry and other documents available on record.
(4) Where an order under sub-section (1) is passed against an employer ex parte he may within three months from the date of communication of such order apply to the office for setting aside such order and if he satisfies the officer that the show cause notice was not duly served or that he was prevented by any sufficient cause from appearing when the inquiry was held the officer shall make an order setting aside his earlier order and shall appoint a date for proceeding with the inquiry :
Provided that no such order shall be set aside merely on the ground that there has been an irregularity in the service of the show cause notice if the officer is satisfied that the employer had notice of the date of hearing and had sufficient time to appear before the officer.
Explanation : Where an appeal has been preferred under this Act against an order passed ex parte and such appeal has been disposed of otherwise than on the ground that the appellant has withdrawn the appeal no application shall lie under this sub-section for setting aside the ex-parte order.
(5) No order passed under this section shall be set aside on any application under sub-section (4) unless notice thereof has been served on the opposite party.