Case Law Details

Case Name : Ganesh Prasad Mishra Vs Commissioner EPF Organization (Madhya Pradesh High Court at Indore)
Appeal Number : Writ Petition No. 3724/2015
Date of Judgement/Order : 11/01/2016
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (6122) Madhya Pradesh HC (78)

Brief of the case:

  • The Hon’ble MP High court in the above stated case placing reliance on the decision of Hon’ble Supreme court in the case of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation vs. President, Rajasthan Roadways Union & Anr. held that since the petitioner did not exercise the option of joining the family pension  scheme his claim of pension on superannuation is not acceptable because in order to join the scheme the option was mandatorily to be exercised.

Facts of the case:

  • The petitioner (employee) was in the employment of M.P. Road Transport Corporation, working as a driver from 30.4.1969 to 30.6.2000. He was retired on attaining the age of superannuation 58years). He was a member of Employees’ Provident Funds (EPF) scheme framed under Section 6 of the EPF and Misc. Provisions Act, 1952. His contribution to this scheme was regularly deducted throughout the service-tenure and credited to the scheme.
  • Petitioner claim was that he is entitled to ‘Superannuation Pension’ w.e.f. 1.7.2000 as provided in Rule 12(a) of the Employees Pension Scheme of 1995, since he has rendered eligible service of 20 years and more and retired on attaining the age of superannuation for 58 years.
  • The respondent’s (EPF Commissioner) stand was that the petitioner was not the member of the ceased Employees’ Family Pension, 1971 before the commencement of Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995. As he has not submitted his option form at any point of time and, therefore, he cannot claim to be the member of said pension scheme nor he is entitled for pension under new Pension Scheme, 1995, which has come into force w.e.f. 16.11.1995.
  • Against such rejection of petitioner’s claim of pension ,he filed writ petition in MP High Court.

Contention of the Petitioner:

  • Petitioner pleaded that the exercise of option by the employee to become a member of Family Pension Fund is not a condition precedent to acquisition of the membership of the Family Pension Fund. The provision regarding option is directory and continued deduction made from his wages towards his contribution to the fund is deemed to be exercise of his option as laid down by the Division Bench in the case of Kamla Bai V/s. Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board, Jabalpur & Ors.

Contention of the Respondent:

  • The learned counsel for the assessee placed reliance on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation vs. President, Rajasthan Roadways Union & Anr. reported as 2012 (135) FLR 739 (S.C.) wherein, it has been held that the employee, who had not opted to get the benefit of family pension under the scheme and after a period of nine years raising a dispute is absolutely untenable and allow the civil appeal filed by the Corporation by holding that the tribunal as well as Courts below have committed a grave error in not properly appreciating the facts of the case and rendered a perverse finding which necessarily calls for interference.

Held by Hon’ble MP High Court:

  • The Central Govt. in exercise of powers conferred by Section 6-A of the EPF and Miscellaneous Act 1952 framed Employees Family Pension Scheme, 1971 for providing pension to the employees covered under the Act of 1952. Rule 3 of the Scheme of 1971, prescribes ‘Membership of the Family Pension Fund’. As per the aforesaid rule, there must be an option on behalf of the employee for the Scheme and he has to pay a contribution towards the Scheme. The same provision is there in the subsequent Scheme of 1995.
  • It is not in dispute that the petitioner did not exercise the option for the pension scheme to become member of the Scheme. In the present case , the petitioner had neither submitted the option form to opt ceased Family Pension Scheme, 1971 nor as per para 7 of 1995 Scheme, he did not opt for joining the scheme / exercised his option, to join the scheme as per the provisions of para 17 from 16.11.1995.Therefore, petitioner was not entitled to family pension.
  • Reliance was placed on the decision of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation vs. President, Rajasthan Roadways Union & Anr. wherein the court held that few employees did not opt for the benefit of the family pension under the scheme and, therefore,they are not entitled for family pension.
  • For the above mentioned reasons and decision of following the decision of Supreme Court , the high court held that the learned authorities have rightly rejected the claim of the petitioner. No case to interfere with the aforesaid well reasoned order, as prayed is, made out. Writ petition under Article 227, has no merit and is, accordingly, dismissed with no orders as to cost.
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