EPF Pension Case : A relief on Social Security Aspect

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has delivered the verdict on EPF Pension case after hearing the applicants and the review petitions filed by EPFO & GOI challenging the Hon HC verdicts from Kerala, Rajasthan, Delhi etc. As already aware team AIGETOA is closely involved in EPFO Full Pension Case for entire BSNL Recruited Employees, who are willing to opt the scheme. AIGETOA Kerala Team had already won the case of EPF Full Pension Scheme against EPFO in Hon’ble High Court of Kerala on 25th Feb, 2019 in WP(C) No 39855/2017, 41071/17 & 3001/18 in line with WP(C) 13120/2015 judgement and other cases won by different applicants in the Hon’ble HC, Kerala. The order of Full Pension Scheme pronounced by the Hon’ble HC Kerala was challenged by EPFO through Special Leave Petition (Civil) in the Hon’ble SC vide Diary No 9610/2019. This SLP of the EPFO was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 01.04.2019. After dismissal of the SLP, the EPFO moved Review Petitions in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which was pending before the Hon’ble Apex Court. Due to the collective efforts of various applicants and their counsels spread across the country the cases were heard in detail which supported EPF members rights and the judgment is delivered.

Now by utilising the powers exercised in Article-142 of the constitution, Hon Supreme Court has extended the cut off date for allowing the existing members of EPS scheme for the eligibility for Full pension. It is learnt that with this judgment, the Cut off date imposed in EPFO amendment in 2014 is not acceptable and the member can opt for the pension scheme without such cut-off date. The members of EPS scheme who were eligible right through 11(3) option who desire to get the full pension will have the continued right to do so by exercising the option as mentioned in 11(4). The time to exercise option extended for a further period of Four months. Hon’ble SC also observed that the additional contribution (1.16%) as envisaged in 2014 scheme, on the salary exceeding the limit (Rs 15000/- now) to be ultra vires (this portion suspended for six months to enable EPFO to make adjustments/provisions by EPFO). At the same time the basis of calculation for pensionable salary (60 months average) is not altered.

AIGETOA has always been in forefront of pursuing for the cause of executives. It was AIGETOA which made BSNL realize their mistakes and pursued for correction in the system. AIGETOA and it’s team fought for streamlining the system and forced BSNL to not to recover penalties from employees. All may recall that with continued persuasion from AIGETOA during 2016-2017 , BSNL Corporate office had issued letter vide Letter no NO: 500-85/CA II/BSNL/EPF/2013/Vol VI Dated 30.03.2017 for collection of options from the employee who desired to opt for full pension . Further since the matter was placed before Hon Court , the same was pending. AIGETOA team filed a separate case to get the relief as the case by NCOA was for exempted which had their own trust like NTPC etc. which had potential to rejected also and would have jeopardized the case of BSNL employees which was a non exempted organization where accounts are being maintained by EPFO directly. Our Team won the case at High Court Kerala.

Now AIGETOA will once again reach out to respected CMD BSNL, Dir (HR) and concerned section, to re-start the proceedings afresh and take necessary measures for final submission of all joint forms to respective EPFOs in order to give the relief to all BSNL recruits who desire to get the social security through the enhanced pension in line with the verdict of Hon’ble Apex Court today. Further all employees falling under EPF scheme are advised to ascertain from respective BSNL offices that their date of joining in the service remains updated in the EPF ledger as due to transfers of account from one place to another, discrepancies may occur.