The Hooghly Docking and Engineering Company Limited (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1984

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The Hooghly Docking and Engineering Company Limited (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1984 was enacted and came into force on 28 June 1984 by Parliament in 35th Year of Republic of India. It was enacted to acquire and transfer the undertakings of Hooghly Docking and Engineering Company Limited and to modernise and increase ship building capacity and repair to reduce imports and to serve the interest of general public which are needed for the benefit of the economy of the country. In 1819 Hooghly Docking &Engineering Co. Ltd was established in Private Sector during British period to use the infrastructure for shipbuilding. Then it was nationalised with Ministry of Industry on 27/07/1986 and presently it is under Ministry of Shipping Government of India.

Definitions are explained under Section 2 like, Appointed Day, Commissioner, Company, Existing Government Company, New Government Company, Notification, Prescribed, Specified Date and words not defined here but defined in Companies Act 1956 shall be used under this Act.

Chapter 2 of the Act states about Acquisition and transfer of Aluminium undertakings of the company by the Central Government. Central Government has the rights and authority over all movable and immovable property. Central Government can vest the right and titles and interest of the Company in relation to any undertakings in existing Government Company or a New Government Company by notification and such Government Company existing or new shall be owner in relation to such undertakings.

Every company that was existing prior to coming under Central Government and has any liability then that company shall bear the liability and not the Central Government. But any award passed after appointed day the Central Government shall be liable for those acts/decrees.

Chapter 3 of the Act explains about Central Government when it overtakes the Company’s undertakings it will pay Rupees 650 lakhs to that Company and further 4% of simple interest also should be paid from appointed day to ending date of payment made to Company.

Chapter 4 of the Act states about control, direction and management of the undertaking of the company shall vest in Central Government. Every person incharge of management of undertaking of Company should deliver all assets, book of account/registers in their custody to existing Government Company or a New Company. Central Government should take necessary steps to safeguard the possessions of undertakings of the company.

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Chapter 5 of the Act states about continuance of employees who were working in the Company before appointed day and they will get all the facilities as an employee of the existing Government Company but where the employee has attained 58 years he/she shall retire compulsorily. Employee is not entitled to compensation under this Act not withstanding anything contained in the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act 1947 or any other law.  Provident Fund and Superannuation Fund, welfare fund shall vest in Central Government or Government Company and it will deal with the monies transferred.

Chapter 6 of the Act states about appointment of Commissioner of Payments by Central Government and commissioner’s salaries and allowances are from Consolidated Fund of India. A deposit account will be opened in commissioner’s favour by Central Government in the Public Account of India and amounts interest shall credit to the benefit of the company.

Central government or Government Company has certain powers with regard to payment made by Government Company after appointed day to discharge liability of the Company.  Any person who wants to claim against the Company should refer it to the Commissioner.  Commissioner has power to examine the claims and admit or reject the claims.  Disbursements of any monies will be done by Commissioner. Any unclaimed amount shall be deposited to the General Revenue Account.

Chapter 7 explains that provisions of this Act shall have an overriding effect on other laws in any decree or order of any court.  All Contracts should be ratified by the Central Government and it has power to make alterations in it. If any alteration in contract is made after giving parties to a reasonable opportunity of being heard. No suit shall be made against any officer or employee of the Government Company existing or new for any act done in good faith under the Act. Central Government may delegate its authority to any person and that person should act under government’s direction and control.

Penalties for wrongful act of a person against Central Government or existing or new Government Company are also explained under Section 29 of the Act. Offences by Companies, central government’s power to make rules, and power to remove difficulties which arise in giving effect to provisions are all explained under the Act. Section 33 states that The Hooghly Docking and Engineering Company Limited (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Ordinance, 1984 is repealed. But anything done under the ordinance will be deemed to be made under the provisions of this Act.

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by Sushma Javare