“Strange are the ways of EPFO in computing the Higher Pension for the same class of employees.”

Observations on the Interim Order of the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in connection with the Petition filed by Sri V.R. Balu, an employee of Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation:

Pensioners/Employees who are entitled to Higher Pension has to pay the difference on contribution in between the Ceiling and Full along with interest.

This is inevitable and common when Higher Pension is calculated basing on

1) last 12 months Wages for those who attained 58 years on or before 31-08-2014,

2) whose Pension was calculated based on last 60 months average
Wages in case of those who are on rolls as on 01-09-2014 and who opted for Higher Pension as per the Gazette Notification of 16th March, 1996 and upto 30th November, 2004,

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3) Those who are beneficiaries of the Judgement of 4th November, 2022 in whose case Pro-rata calculation of Pension is applied. Already Hon’ble Supreme Court has clarified through its judgement of 4th November, 2022 that EPFO has powers to change the computation of Pension basing on last 12 months average Wages to 60 months average Wages.

But the present issue is can there be different computations in case of contemporaries who attained 58 years on or after 01-09-2014 i.e., for one basing on last 60 months average and for another on Pro-rata basis. This is certainly not as per Article 14 of the constitution.

In the judgement delivered by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 16th December, 2019 (Page No: 237 of 427 Page Affidavit) delivered by Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, in the case involving Bharatiya Khadya Nigam Karmachari Sangh Vs EPFO, the following observation was made in the Judgement:

” 37. We thus have no hesitation in holding that the petitioners also form a part of the homogenous group with those who have worked in the unexempted establishments. (those who opted as per the Gazettee Notification of 16th March, 1996 for Higher Pension and on rolls as on 01-09-2014 and those who are the beneficiaries of the Judgement of 4th November, 2022 and also on rolls as on 01-09-2014 are of homogenous group) Any attempt by the respondents to discriminate the petitioners would amount to unintelligible and unjust classification which cannot be countenanced in law. In view of this finding, we also are of the view that the impungned Circular dated: 31-05-2017 (E-mail communication sent by EPFO Head Quarters to P.F. Commissioners on Pro-rata calculation) has made a class within a class (those who are on rolls as on 01-09-2014 and eligible for Higher Pension as per their option based on Gazette Notification of 16th March, 1996 or beneficiaries of the Judgement of 4th November, 2022 formed a single class) and has without any legal justification deprived the employees of the Exempted Establishments (beneficiaries of the Judgement of 4th November, 2022) from receiving Higher Salary (Pension based on last 60 months average Wages) despite their contributions to the Provident Fund on actual salaries above the Ceiling limit. (those who opted for Higher Pension as per Gazette Notification and those who are beneficiaries of the judgement of 4th November, 2022 are paying the same difference) The Circular (E-mail) seems to have been issued in “haste without any application of mind” and is clearly discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The said Circular (E-mail) deserves to be quashed.

G. Srinivasa Rao, Mobile No: 89851 72459 and WhatsApp No: 6300114361