New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India, in a very crucial judgment has upheld the provisions of the Employees Pension (Amendment) Scheme 2014 to be legal and valid.
However, so far as the present members of the fund are concerned, the apex court has read down certain provisions of the scheme. The Employees Provident Fund Organization and the Union Government had filed appeals in the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala, Rajasthan and Delhi High Court judgments which had quashed the Employee’s Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014. The court also held that employees who did not exercise the option to join the Employees Pension Scheme must be given a further chance of 6 months to do so, which is a big relief for several employees. The added that those employees who were entitled to join the pension scheme but could not do so as they did not exercise the option within the cut-off date, should be given an additional opportunity.
Court pointed out that there existed a lack of clarity regarding the cut-off date in view of the High Court judgments invalidating the provisions of the Employee’s Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014. Further, the Court held the condition in the 2014 scheme that the employees are required to make a further contribution at the rate of 1.16% on the salary exceeding Rs.15,000 as invalid. The Court held this condition to make additional contribution on the salary exceeding the threshold limit to be ultra vires, or acting beyond one’s power. However, this part of the judgment has been kept in suspension for 6 months to enable the authorities to generate funds.