EPFO’s role under the act is that of a fund manager. The Central Board of trustees is the trustee of the fund. The employees are the beneficiaries under both PF and pension scheme. In the instant case the GOI, CBT and PEIC have all committed to compliance with R C Gupta’s judgement. How can EPFO now be permitted to override the consistent stand taken by the Trustees which actually taken for the benefit of the employees?
All employees covered under the Employees provident fund whether working in exempted or un-exempted establishments are ipso facto necessarily members of the pension scheme (EPS-95) as per the existing legal framework.
He also said exempted and non-exempted don’t make any difference as money ultimately goes to the pension funds. The concept of a cut of date for every Joint option to contribute on actual salary over the ceiling amount is against both the EPF para 26(6) EPS -95 para11(3). Actuarial Report is ex-facie false and misleading and contrary to RTI replies obtained from EPFO. The pension fund as it currently stands is sufficient to disburse any enhanced pension to employees based on RTI information. More than 2.6 lac EPS members have died after RC Gupta’s judgement without receiving a revised pension on actual salary made applicable by EPFO vide circular dt. 23-3-2017.
3) Another sr. lawyer Sri Venkataramani presented his arguments very interestingly against a review of RC Gupta’s judgement. He said on PF Act there is no difference between exempted trust and non-exempted trust. Social securities are applicable even in all other countries also. All of a sudden bringing amendments which will deprive a large number of sections is not at all correct.
This amendment of 22-8-2014 shifts the burden of 1.16% from Govt to individual. Rebooting the financial sustainability argument of EPFO is a violation of our Fundamental Right. Artificial decisions have been taken ignoring constitutional arguments.
4) One more sr. advocate Sri Vikas Singh made a strong argument by drawing the attention of the court that there is no difference between exempted and non-exempted establishments under this pension scheme.
He also referred to the earlier judgement of the Supreme court wherein it has been held that paucity of finds cannot be a ground to deny accrued vested rights to employees.
5) Next Ms Meenakshi Arora argued exceptionally well and placed several data before the judges to prove that the corpus of EPFO has gone up from Rs 8,253 crores to Rs 3,93,604 crores and EPFO is paying pension only out of interest earned from employees’ contributions and not out of corpus. The principal amount always remains in the corpus fund itself.
Now the judgement is reserved after six days of proceedings held in the Hon’ble Supreme court. It may pronounce at any time.
Critical analysis of expected judgement:
We can expect Supreme court judgement only with reference to Kerala High court Judgement dt 12-10-2018 and may not speak about other prayers out of this Kerala High court Judgement.
2) EPFO prescribed a cut-off date and prevented these pensioners while in service from submitting of option to get a higher pension as per provisions of EPF Act 1952 and EPS-95 Scheme and proved before all courts it is illegal. The Supreme court also dismissed all appeals made by EPFO against these judgements.
Now Supreme court cannot support this cut-off date.
3) Before the Supreme court now EPFO changed their strategy by focusing arguments on Financial Viability instead of provisions of EPF Act 1952 and EPS-95 Scheme because they lost every case in almost all High courts and their appeals were dismissed by the Supreme court.
In the day-to-day proceedings when Sri Vikramjit Banerji, ASGI argued that now after retirement if pensioners ask for retrospective benefits it will not be justified, then Hon’ble judge Sri U U Lalit said that there are a number of judgements allowing benefit retrospectively and simultaneously there are judgements denying it.