Madras High Court slams ‘Heartless’ EPF officials [Read Order]
The heartless officers of the Employees Provident Fund Organization, which organization has been established for taking care of the welfare and well being of the workforce and their dependents, has not acted with the spirit with which they are expected to act, the Bench said.
A Division Bench of Madras High Court, terming some officers of Employees Provident Fund Organization as ‘Heartless’, has upheld a Single Bench’s direction to pay pension to the father of a deceased employee.
The Single Judge had directed the EPF to pay the pension to the Writ petitioner from the date of death of his son and also pay the same with interest. Considering the submission of writ petitioner that he has started receiving his monthly pension was graceful enough to convey and that he is not so much interested in receiving interest as well for the delayed payment, the Court has modified the order to the extent it directs payment of interest.
The Court observed “the appellant has not realised that most of the workforce in the private sector is drawn from rural areas and consequently, the correct information relating to the right to receive pension under the aforementioned scheme, is not available with them. Firstly, like in the instant case, the trauma that is left behind, due to sudden disappearance of the breadwinner, itself requires lots of character to overcome. That itself consumes considerable amount of time. That explains the reason why on 19.11.2007, for the first time, the writ petitioner laid a claim for pension.”
The Bench further observed “ The heartless officers of the Employees Provident Fund Organization, which organization has been established for taking care of the welfare and wellbeing of the workforce and their dependents, has not acted with the spirit with which they are expected to act. They kept on delaying the payment of pension on one ground or the other and the only semblance of justification for their conduct was, the fact that the writ petitioner died after rendering onlydays of service with the contractor of the company. It is no doubt true that false claims, which are too many these days, have to be weeded out carefully, but, in the name of dealing with the suspicious claims, no effort should be spared to settle the pension in a genuine case. Unfortunately, in the instant case, the respondents or the appellant and his officers have kept on returning the proposals for sanction of pension on one ground or the other so that the blame for not settling the pension would not lie at their door step. The essential reason, as we could make out, behind this kind of attitude was, lack of appreciation of the pain and suffering of people like the writ petitioner and to ensure that no fault would directly be attributed to themselves.”
The Court has also directed the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner to pass on necessary instructions for a time bound inspection report to be filed by one Inspector or the other under his administrative control for verifying and vouchsafing the contents of the application and the records maintained by the Employees Provident Fund Organization. That alone would cut away the unnecessary time that would get consumed in settling the benefits under the Employees Provident Fund Act, the bench added.
Read the order here.