Now, another SC bench to look into EPFO plea against HC order favouring higher PF

New Delhi: A three-member Bench of the Supreme Court may hear the petitions in connection with the Kerala High Court's landmark verdict granting Provident Fund (PF) pension to all employees in proportion to their salary.

The two-member bench consisting of Justice U.U.Lalit and Justice Ajay Rastogi made an oral observation in this regard while hearing the case on Wednesday.

A decision on leaving the matter to the consideration of the three-member bench will be taken in the next sitting of the case on August 24.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pointed out that the Kerala High Court had taken a decision to grant EPF benefit to all employees based on their salary after imbibing the spirit of the verdict in the R.C.Gupta case.

The R.C.Gupta case was considered by a two- member Bench. The present case, filed by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation and the Union Labour Ministry, is also considered by a two-member Bench.

The two-member Bench expressed the view that it would be better if the matter was heard by a three-member Bench.

Meanwhile, C. Aryamma Sundaram, counsel for EPFO, argued that the circumstances in the R.C.Gupta case were quite different from the present case.

While agreeing that the R.C.Gupta case verdict was about granting pension to employees in proportion to their salary, she pointed out that the issues considered by the Kerala High Court were quite different from the former case.

Advocates Meenakshi Arora, Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Nishe Sankar Rajan, who appeared for employees, sought the dismissal of the petition.

Justice U.U.Lalit said that though the R.C.Gupta case and the case considered by the High Court were of similar nature, what the Supreme Court considers now is the reasons behind fixing a new criteria for granting EPF pension.

He said the plea for looking into the merit of the Gupta case could not be considered by the two-member Bench.

If needed, such an issue can be brought before the three-member Bench to be constituted, the court said.

EPFO's stand
Earlier, the Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal filed by the EPFO against the Kerala High Court order that annulled the amended EPF law of the Central Government.

The two-member Bench is now considering a review petition filed by the EPFO and a Special Leave Petition filed by the Union Labour Ministry.

According to the Union Labour Ministry and the EPFO, the fixation of EPF pension in proportion to salary earned by an employee would put a huge financial burden on the EPFO.

The landmark verdict of the Kerala High Court, if implemented, would benefit lakhs of ordinary workers as there would be a considerable jump in their EPF pension.

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