6 Jun 2023 10:19 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court recently restrained the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) from taking any coercive steps with respect to the notices issued to various pensioners by it for making recoveries of the differential amount on higher pension received by them from many years. Justice Rekha Palli passed the interim order in the pleas moved by four pensioners who, after...
The Delhi High Court recently restrained the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) from taking any coercive steps with respect to the notices issued to various pensioners by it for making recoveries of the differential amount on higher pension received by them from many years.
Justice Rekha Palli passed the interim order in the pleas moved by four pensioners who, after their superannuation from different organizations, were drawing higher pension beyond the ceiling limit based on the options sought by EPFO in 2018/19.
The pensioners challenged the communication issued by EPFO on February 20 directing all the Regional Provident Fund Commissioners to take actions to stop higher pension of all those individuals who superannuated prior to 01.09.2014, without giving any option for higher pension before their superannuation.
“Consequently, till the next date, the respondents will stand restrained from taking any coercive steps in furtherance to the impugned notices issued to the petitioners seeking to make recoveries of the differential amount on account of the higher pension which they have received for the last many years,” the court ordered.
The pensioners also challenged the orders passed by the authorities on May 01 directing them to refund the differential amount received by them towards pension beyond the ceiling limit, on the basis of the options for higher pension.
It was submitted on behalf of the pensioners that once the authorities had themselves given them an option to opt for higher pension which was duly exercised, they could not have misinterpreting the decision of the Supreme Court in Employees Provident Fund Organisation & Anr. Etc. v. Sunil Kumar B. & Ors. and reopened their cases.
It was also submitted that similar petitions were moved before Kerala High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and Himachal Pradesh High Court wherein interim orders were passed and EPFO was directed to maintain status quo as existing on 01.01.2023.
Issuing notice in the plea, Justice Palli noted that the authorities did not deny that the interim orders directing them to maintain status quo have been passed by the High Courts in question.
“Accordingly, while granting six weeks’ time to the respondents for filing counter affidavit and four weeks’ time for filing rejoinder thereto, it is for reasons of parity with the orders passed by the aforesaid three High Courts, the respondents are directed to maintain status quo qua the pension being received by the petitioners, as on 01.01.2023,” the court ordered.
It added that the interim directions will be subject to any clarification by the Supreme Court of its decision in Sunil Kumar B case.
The matter will now be heard on September 21.
Advocates Kushank Sindhu, Abhishek K. Singh, Apali Kaushal, Anmol Singh, Manpreet Kaur and Suman N Rawat appeared for petitioners.
Standing Counsel for EPFO Siddharth and Advocate Amit Kr. Agrawal represented the respondents.
Title: SHRI PAN SINGH RAWAT v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS. and other connected matters
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 499
Click Here To Read Order