2 March 2023 4:36 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, while considering the plea moved by persons aggrieved by the abrupt discontinuance or reduction of the pension that was being received by them, directed that the same shall not be curtailed, limited or stopped without specific orders from the Court. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan passed the above directive in light of the fact that the matter was under the...
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, while considering the plea moved by persons aggrieved by the abrupt discontinuance or reduction of the pension that was being received by them, directed that the same shall not be curtailed, limited or stopped without specific orders from the Court.
Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan passed the above directive in light of the fact that the matter was under the active consideration of the Court.
"Having considered the submissions, as the matter is being adjourned at the request of the respondents and as the matter is under active consideration of this Court, the respondents shall ensure that they shall not curtail/limit/stop the pension that was being received by the petitioners in these writ petitions without getting specific orders from this Court," it was ordered.
The petitioners herein, who are covered under the provisions of the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (EPF Act, 1952), alleged that the EPF authorities were misinterpreting the Supreme Court's judgment in EPF Organisation & Anr v. Sunil Kumar B & Ors. (2022), and contended that the pension that was being received by them was being discontinued/curtailed/reduced, without hearing them.
The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, with the approval of the Central Provident Fund Commissioner had issued a directive dated January 25, 2023, whereby it was directed that "utmost care" ought to be taken to identify such cases where higher pension was granted on account of judgment of any Court, and that in such cases, a favourable order ought to be obtained from the concerned Court citing the Apex Court decision in EPF Organisation & Anr (2022), before proceeding with the stopping or restoration of pension to wages up to ceiling of Rs.5000 or Rs.6500/-.
The Court had earlier directed the respondents not to precipitate the issue until the issue was settled and the request for interim relief was taken up and heard by the Court. However, it was submitted by the counsels for the petitioners that despite such direction, the respondents had curtailed/reduced/stopped the pension that was hitherto being received, and that there was absolutely no justification in initiating such an action.
The Court, while considering the matter yesterday, also took note of the averments in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Sub Regional Office EPFO, and the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-1 (Pension) EPFO Head Office, that the pension of the petitioners had been stopped inadvertently due to some technical glitches and that when the same had been brought to the notice of of the respondents, the pension in respect of the petitioners had been immediately released.
Since the counsels for the EPFO had requested further time to respond to the contentions raised by the petitioners, the matter has been posted to after 2 weeks.
Advocates P.N. Mohanan, C.P. Sabari, Amrutha Suresh, and Gilroy Rozario appeared on behalf of the petitioners. The respondents were represented by Senior Advocate S. Gopakumar M. Nair, and Advocates N.N Sugunapalan, and S. Prasanth.
Case Title: Balagangadharan K.N. & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.
Click Here To Read/Download The Order