Matrubhumi Editorial on EPS 95 Pensioners

*Editorial – Mathrubhumi – September 28, 2020*

Shared as received from a pensioner friend 

Parveen Kohli 

9810306699 

*FALSE EPF MUST END—-*

Do not steal from the porridge bowl of pensioners in the evening of life. The Kerala High Court judgment of October 12, 2018 upheld by the Supreme Court will be fully implemented…..

Pension is a deferred payment and is a legitimate right of the working class. This has been emphasized by highest judiciary in the country and communicated to the government several times in the past. The Supreme Court has also severely criticized the Govt several times for their approach in scuttling the Pension Scheme implemented with contributions from the workers. In spite of that the Labor Ministry and the EPF Organization continues with their effort to deny the Pensioners benefits to the workers.

It is more than 10 years the affected have been fighting court cases for their just rights .The majority of them do not even get Rs 1000/-monthly pension. The PF Pension in many cases is less than the welfare Pension offered by State Govt in many places .The EPFO /Labor Ministry is trying to deny justice that has been given by Judiciary.

Vide judgment dated 12th October 1018 , The Kerala High Court Division Bench has declared that EPF contributing workers are entitled to Pension proportionate to their contribution and the 2014 amendment of EPFO curtailing their right is unlawful. The EPFO amendment of 1st September 2014 was limiting the max. salary at Rs 15000/-pm and denied  further option for the workers in this regard. This amendment was brought in the context of several of the High court judgments have pointed out that such restriction on Cutoff date and also pension for a part of the salary is unfair.

In the context of EPFO refusing to implement the High Court orders the beneficiaries have approached the Court with Contempt petitions. In several cases the Court has given orders to pay higher pension with arrears .Though the High Court orders are applicable for the entire country, EPFO adopted a strange procedure of conceding the benefits to only such persons who preferred a contempt Petition.

Now they have stopped even that- going back to the old arguments they are denying the benefits. EPFO is insisting that those who have not made any option while in Service and did not make matching contributions cannot be given any option now. Their stand is that until the review Petition is decided only the old norms will prevail. Instructions have been passed on that those who have gone for contempt petition also need be given any increased benefit.

By this life has been made miserable for millions of PF members and retired employees The Central Govt. authorities must remember that a scheme that has been brought in for the welfare of the working class should not make the situation worse as pointed out by the Supreme Court earlier miserable. The authorities should not attempt to loot the pensioners at the fag end of their life. The Prime Minister should intervene personally to ensure that the Kerala high court judgement  of 12th Oct 2018, okayed by Supreme Court, is implemented in totality.

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Editorial

പെൻഷൻ എന്നത് മാറ്റിവെക്കപ്പെട്ട വേതനമാണെന്നും അത് തൊഴിലാളികളുടെ അവകാശമാണെന്നും പരമോന്നത നീതിപീഠം ഭരണാധികാരികളെ പലതവണ ഓർമിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളതാണ്. തൊഴിലാളികളിൽനിന്ന് വിഹിതം പിരിച്ച് നടപ്പാക്കുന്ന എംപ്ലോയീസ് പ്രോവിഡന്റ് ഫണ്ട് പെൻഷൻ പദ്ധതിയെ തകർക്കാൻ കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാർ നടത്തുന്ന ശ്രമത്തെ പ്രത്യേകമായിത്തന്നെ സുപ്രീംകോടതി നിശിതമായി വിമർശിച്ചതുമാണ്. എന്നിട്ടും കോടതിയുടെ പേരുപറഞ്ഞ് പെൻഷൻ ആനുകൂല്യങ്ങൾ നിഷേധിക്കാൻ കേന്ദ്ര തൊഴിൽ മന്ത്രാലയവും ഇ.പി.എഫ്. ഓർഗനൈസേഷനും പതിനെട്ടാമത്തെ അടവും പയറ്റുകയാണ്.

പത്തുവർഷത്തിലേറെയായി രാജ്യത്തെ വിവിധ ഹൈക്കോടതികളിലും സുപ്രീംകോടതിയിലും പി.എഫ്.പെൻഷൻകാർ നീതിക്കുവേണ്ടി കേഴുകയാണ്. നിലവിൽ മാസത്തിൽ ആയിരം രൂപപോലും പെൻഷനായി ലഭിക്കാത്തവരാണ് ഭൂരിഭാഗം പി.എഫ്. പെൻഷൻകാരും. ക്ഷേമനിധിപെൻഷനെക്കാളും കുറഞ്ഞ തുകയാണ് ഭൂരിഭാഗം പെൻഷൻകാർക്കും ലഭിക്കുന്നത്. അവർക്ക് കോടതികൾ നീതി ലഭ്യമാക്കിയതിനെ അട്ടിമറിക്കാനാണ് അധികൃതരുടെ ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ശ്രമം.

ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതികമായി പെൻഷൻ ലഭിക്കാൻ ഇ.പി.എഫ്. വരിക്കാരായ തൊഴിലാളികൾക്ക് അവകാശമുണ്ടെന്നും ആ അവകാശം പരിമിതപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന 2014-ലെ ഇ.പി.എഫ്. പെൻഷൻ ഭേദഗതി നിയമവിരുദ്ധമാണെന്നുമാണ് 2018 ഒക്ടോബർ 12-ന് കേരള ഹൈക്കോടതി ഡിവിഷൻ ബെഞ്ചിന്റെ വിധി. പെൻഷന് കണക്കാക്കാവുന്ന ശമ്പളം കൂടിയാൽ 15,000 രൂപയാണെന്നും ഓപ്ഷൻ നൽകാനുള്ള അവസരം ഇനിയുണ്ടാകില്ലെന്നുമാണ് 2014 സെപ്റ്റംബർ ഒന്നിന് പ്രാബല്യത്തിലായ ഭേദഗതി. ഓപ്ഷൻ നൽകുന്നതിന് കട്ട് ഓഫ് ഡേറ്റ് നിശ്ചയിക്കാനവകാശമില്ലെന്നും ശമ്പളത്തിന്റെ ഒരുഭാഗത്തിന് മാത്രം പെൻഷൻ എന്നത് അന്യായമാണെന്നും ഹൈക്കോടതികളിൽനിന്ന് വിധികൾ വരാൻ തുടങ്ങിയ സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ. നിയമവിരുദ്ധമായ ഭേദഗതി തിടുക്കത്തിൽ വിജ്ഞാപനം ചെയ്തത്.

ഇത് വന്ന് ഒന്നരക്കൊല്ലത്തോളം കഴിഞ്ഞാണ് ഇക്കാര്യത്തിൽ സുപ്രീംകോടതിയുടെ വിധി വന്നത്. തൊഴിലാളികളുടെ ക്ഷേമത്തിനായി കൊണ്ടുവരുന്ന നിയമങ്ങൾ അവർക്ക് വിനയാകുന്ന തരത്തിൽ മാറ്റിമറിക്കുന്നതിന് ശക്തമായ താക്കീതാണ് സുപ്രീംകോടതി നൽകിയത്. ഹിമാചൽപ്രദേശിൽ ഒരു സംഘം ഇ.പി.എഫ്. പെൻഷൻകാർ ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതിക പെൻഷൻ അനുവദിക്കാൻ ഉത്തരവ് നൽകണമെന്നാവശ്യപ്പെട്ട് ഹൈക്കോടതിയെ സമീപിച്ചിരുന്നു. സിംഗിൾ ബെഞ്ച് തൊഴിലാളികൾക്ക് അനുകൂലമായി വിധിച്ചു. ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ. നൽകിയ അപ്പീൽ ഡിവിഷൻ ബെഞ്ച് അംഗീകരിച്ചു. അതിനെതിരേ നൽകിയ ഹർജിയിലാണ് സുപ്രീംകോടതി ഉത്തരവുണ്ടായത്. നേരത്തേ കേരള ഹൈക്കോടതിയിൽനിന്ന് തൊഴിലാളികൾക്കനുകൂലമായ വിധിയുണ്ടായതാണ്. അത് സുപ്രീംകോടതി ശരിവെച്ചതുമാണ്. എന്നാൽ, ഹിമാചൽപ്രദേശ് കേസിലെ അപ്പീലിലാണ് സുപ്രീംകോടതി വിശദമായ വിധിന്യായം എഴുതിയത്.

സാധാരണഗതിയിൽ അതോടെ ഇ.പി.എഫ്. പെൻഷൻ പദ്ധതി ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതിക പെൻഷൻ, അതിനനുസരിച്ചുള്ള വിഹിതം പിടിക്കൽ എന്ന നിലയിലേക്ക് മാറേണ്ടതാണ്. അതുണ്ടാകാത്തതിനെത്തുടർന്ന് വിവിധ ഹൈക്കോടതികളിൽ ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് തൊഴിലാളികൾ കേസുമായെത്തി. സുപ്രീംകോടതിയിലും സമാന കേസുകൾ വന്നപ്പോൾ കേരള ഹൈക്കോടതിവിധി വരട്ടെ എന്ന നിർദേശത്തോടെ കേസ് മാറ്റിവെക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. മാസങ്ങളോളം നീണ്ട വാദത്തിനുശേഷം ഒന്നരക്കൊല്ലത്തോളം കഴിഞ്ഞ് കേരള ഹൈക്കോടതി ഡിവിഷൻ ബെഞ്ച് 2014-ലെ ഇ.പി.എഫ്. പെൻഷൻ ഭേദഗതി റദ്ദാക്കിക്കൊണ്ട് ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതികമായി വിഹിതം പിടിക്കുകയും പെൻഷൻ നൽകുകയും വേണമെന്ന് ഉത്തരവിട്ടു. അതിനെതിരേ ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ. നൽകിയ അപ്പീൽ സുപ്രീംകോടതി തള്ളുകയും ചെയ്തതാണ്. പിന്നീട് അവശേഷിക്കുന്നുവെന്ന് പറയാവുന്നത് കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാർ നൽകിയ പുനഃപരിശോധനാ ഹർജി മാത്രമാണ്.

വിധി നടപ്പാക്കാൻ ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ. വിസമ്മതിക്കുന്ന സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് നേരത്തേ കോടതിയിൽനിന്ന് അനുകൂലവിധി നേടിയവർ കോടതിയലക്ഷ്യ കേസുകളുമായി ഹൈക്കോടതികളെ സമീപിച്ചത്. ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതികമായി പെൻഷൻ വിഹിതം കുടിശ്ശിക സഹിതം സ്വീകരിച്ച് വർധിച്ച പെൻഷൻ കുടിശ്ശികസഹിതം അടിയന്തരമായി വിതരണം ചെയ്യണമെന്ന് ഒട്ടേറെ കേസുകളിൽ ഹൈക്കോടതി വിധിച്ചു. ഹൈക്കോടതിവിധികൾ രാജ്യത്തിനാകെ ബാധകമാണെന്നിരിക്കിലും കോടതിയലക്ഷ്യക്കേസ് കൊടുത്തവരുടെ കാര്യത്തിൽമാത്രം വിധി നടപ്പാക്കുന്ന വിചിത്രമായ സമീപനമാണ് ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ.യിൽനിന്നുണ്ടായത്.

ഇപ്പോൾ അതും നിർത്തി പൂർണമായും പഴയ വാദങ്ങൾ നിരത്തി ആനുകൂല്യങ്ങൾ നിഷേധിക്കുകയാണ്. സർവീസിലിരിക്കേ ഓപ്ഷൻ നൽകുകയോ വിഹിതമടയ്ക്കുകയോ ചെയ്യാത്തവർക്ക് പിന്നീട് ഓപ്ഷൻ നൽകാൻ അവകാശമില്ലെന്ന് ഇ.പി.എഫ്.ഒ. ശഠിക്കുകയാണിപ്പോൾ. പുനഃപരിശോധനാ ഹർജിയിൽ തീർപ്പുണ്ടാകുന്നതുവരെ പഴയ മാനദണ്ഡങ്ങളാണ് ബാധകം എന്നും കോടതിയലക്ഷ്യക്കേസിലെ വിധിയുമായി എത്തുന്നവർക്കും വർധിച്ച പെൻഷൻ നൽകേണ്ടെന്നുമാണ് നിർദേശം. കോടതിവിധി അനുസരിച്ച് പി.എഫ്. ഓഫീസുകളിൽനിന്ന് നിർദേശിച്ചപ്രകാരം ശമ്പളത്തിനാനുപാതികമായി വിഹിതക്കുടിശ്ശിക അടച്ചവരുടെ കാര്യവും അനിശ്ചിതത്വത്തിലായി.

പി.എഫിൽ അംഗങ്ങളായ ദശലക്ഷക്കണക്കിന് തൊഴിലാളികളുടെയും വിരമിച്ച ലക്ഷക്കണക്കിന് തൊഴിലാളികളുടെയും ജീവിതത്തെയാണ് ഈ നടപടികളിലൂടെ ദുരിതമയമാക്കുന്നത്. തൊഴിലാളികളുടെ ക്ഷേമത്തിനായി ആവിഷ്കരിച്ച പെൻഷൻ പദ്ധതി നേരെ വിപരീതമാക്കരുതെന്ന് സുപ്രീംകോടതി ഇതേവിഷയത്തിൽ നേരത്തേ പറഞ്ഞത് കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാർ ഓർക്കണം. ജീവിതസായാഹ്നത്തിലുള്ള പെൻഷൻകാരുടെ കഞ്ഞിപ്പാത്രത്തിൽനിന്ന് കവരരുത്. സുപ്രീംകോടതി ശരിവെച്ച 2018 ഒക്ടോബർ 12-ന്റെ കേരള ഹൈക്കോടതി വിധി പൂർണരൂപത്തിൽ നടപ്പാക്കാൻ പ്രധാനമന്ത്രി നേരിട്ടിടപെടണം.

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 తప్పుడు ఇపిఎఫ్  ముగించాలి ఈ వంచనలు

 పింఛను వాయిదా వేతనమని, ఇది కార్మికుల హక్కు అని సుప్రీంకోర్టు పాలకులకు పదేపదే గుర్తుచేసింది.  ముఖ్యంగా, కార్మికుల నుండి వాటాలను పంపిణీ చేయడం ద్వారా అమలు చేయబడుతున్న ఎంప్లాయీస్ ప్రావిడెంట్ ఫండ్ పెన్షన్ పథకానికి భంగం కలిగించే కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం చేసిన ప్రయత్నాన్ని సుప్రీంకోర్టు తీవ్రంగా విమర్శించింది. 

అయితే, కేంద్ర పేరిట పెన్షన్ ప్రయోజనాలను నిరాకరించడానికి కేంద్ర కార్మిక మంత్రిత్వ శాఖ, ఇపిఎఫ్ నిరాకరించాయి.  సంస్థ మరియు పద్దెనిమిదవ ఒప్పందం ఆడుతున్నాయి.

 పదేళ్లకు పైగా పిఎఫ్ పెన్షనర్లు దేశవ్యాప్తంగా వివిధ హైకోర్టులు, సుప్రీంకోర్టులలో న్యాయం కోసం వేడుకుంటున్నారు. 

 ప్రస్తుతం, చాలా మంది పిఎఫ్‌లు నెలకు వెయ్యి రూపాయలు కూడా పెన్షన్‌లో పొందరు. 

 మరియు పెన్షనర్లు.  చాలా మంది పెన్షనర్లు సంక్షేమ పెన్షన్ కంటే తక్కువ పొందుతారు.

 ప్రస్తుతం న్యాయస్థానాలు వారికి న్యాయం చేయడాన్ని విధ్వంసం చేయడానికి అధికారులు ప్రయత్నిస్తున్నారు.

జీతం ప్రకారం పెన్షన్ పొందటానికి ఇపిఎఫ్.  చందాదారుల కార్మికులకు హక్కు ఉందని, ఆ హక్కును పరిమితం చేస్తుందని పేర్కొన్న 2014 ఇపిఎఫ్.  పెన్షన్ సవరణ చట్టవిరుద్ధమని కేరళ హైకోర్టు డివిజన్ బెంచ్ 2018 అక్టోబర్ 12 న తీర్పు ఇచ్చింది.  

2014 సెప్టెంబర్ 1 నుండి అమల్లోకి వచ్చిన ఈ సవరణలో, పెన్షన్ పొందే జీతాన్ని రూ .15 వేలకు పెంచితే, ఆప్షన్ చెల్లించడానికి ఇక అవకాశం ఉండదు.  

ఆప్షన్ మంజూరు చేయడానికి కట్-ఆఫ్ తేదీని నిర్ణయించే హక్కు లేదని, జీతంలో కొంత భాగానికి మాత్రమే పెన్షన్ అన్యాయమని ఇపిఎఫ్‌ఓ పేర్కొంది.  చట్టవిరుద్ధ సవరణ త్వరితంగా తెలియజేయబడుతుంది.

 దీని తరువాత ఏడాదిన్నర తరువాత సుప్రీంకోర్టు తీర్పు వచ్చింది.  కార్మికుల సంక్షేమం కోసం తీసుకువచ్చే చట్టాలను వారికి అవమానపరిచే విధంగా మార్చాలని సుప్రీంకోర్టు కఠినమైన హెచ్చరిక జారీ చేసింది.  

హిమాచల్ ప్రదేశ్‌లో, ఇపిఎఫ్ సమూహం  పెన్షనర్లు తమ జీతాలకు అనుగుణంగా పింఛను మంజూరు చేయాలని ఆదేశిస్తూ హైకోర్టును ఆశ్రయించారు. 

సింగిల్ బెంచ్ కార్మికులకు అనుకూలంగా తీర్పునిచ్చింది.  EPFO  ఈ విజ్ఞప్తిని డివిజన్ బెంచ్ సమర్థించింది.  పిటిషనర్‌కు అనుకూలంగా సుప్రీంకోర్టు తీర్పు ఇచ్చింది.  

అంతకుముందు కేరళ హైకోర్టు కార్మికులకు అనుకూలంగా తీర్పు ఇచ్చింది.  అది సుప్రీంకోర్టు ధృవీకరించింది.  

అయితే, అప్పీల్‌పై హిమాచల్ ప్రదేశ్ కేసులో సుప్రీం కోర్టు వివరణాత్మక తీర్పు రాసింది.

సాధారణంగా దానితో EPF.  పెన్షన్ పథకాన్ని జీతం మరియు తదనుగుణంగా విరాళాలను నిలిపివేయడంతో పింఛనుగా మార్చాలి. 

అది జరగనప్పుడు, వేలాది మంది కార్మికులు వివిధ హైకోర్టులలో వ్యాజ్యం దాఖలు చేశారు.  సుప్రీంకోర్టులో ఇలాంటి కేసులు వచ్చినప్పుడు కేరళ హైకోర్టు తీర్పు రావాలన్న సూచనతో కేసు వాయిదా పడింది.  

నెలన్నర చర్చల తరువాత, కేరళ హైకోర్టు డివిజన్ బెంచ్ 2014 ఇపిఎఫ్‌ను కొట్టివేసింది.  

పెన్షన్ సవరణను రద్దు చేయడం ద్వారా, వాటాను జీతానికి అనులోమానుపాతంలో తీసుకొని పెన్షన్ చెల్లించాలని ఆదేశించారు. 

ఇపిఎఫ్‌ఓ దీనికి వ్యతిరేకంగా ఉంది.  అప్పీల్‌ను సుప్రీంకోర్టు కొట్టివేసింది.  తరువాత చెప్పడానికి మిగిలి ఉన్నది కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం దాఖలు చేసిన సమీక్ష పిటిషన్ మాత్రమే.

తీర్పును అమలు చేయడానికి EPFO  ఇంతకుముందు కోర్టు నుండి అనుకూలమైన తీర్పును పొందిన వారు నిరాకరించిన సందర్భంలో కోర్టు కేసులను ధిక్కరించి హైకోర్టులను ఆశ్రయించారు.  

అనేక కేసులలో, జీతానికి అనులోమానుపాతంలో పెన్షన్లు బకాయిలు చెల్లించాలని, పెరిగిన పెన్షన్లను వెంటనే పంపిణీ చేయాలని హైకోర్టు తీర్పు ఇచ్చింది.  హైకోర్టు తీర్పులు దేశవ్యాప్తంగా వర్తిస్తున్నప్పటికీ, కోర్టు కేసు నమోదు చేసిన వారి విషయంలో మాత్రమే తీర్పును అమలు చేయడంలో ఇపిఎఫ్‌ఓ విచిత్రమైన విధానాన్ని తీసుకుంది.

ఇప్పుడు అది ఆగి పాత వాదనలు చేయడం ద్వారా ప్రయోజనాలను పూర్తిగా నిరాకరిస్తోంది.  

సేవలో ఉన్నప్పుడు ఆప్షన్ ఇవ్వని లేదా వాటా చెల్లించని వారికి తరువాత ఆప్షన్ ఇవ్వడానికి అర్హత లేదని ఇపిఎఫ్ఓ తెలిపింది.  

పట్టుబట్టేటప్పుడు.  సమీక్ష పిటిషన్‌పై నిర్ణయం తేలేవరకు, పాత నిబంధనలు వర్తిస్తాయి మరియు కోర్టు కేసులో తీర్పుతో వచ్చిన వారికి పెరిగిన పెన్షన్ ఇవ్వబడదు.  

కోర్టు ఉత్తర్వుల ప్రకారం పి.ఎఫ్.  కార్యాలయాలు నిర్దేశించిన విధంగా జీతాలకు అనులోమానుపాతంలో బకాయిలు చెల్లించిన వారి కేసు కూడా నిస్సారంగా ఉంది.

ఈ చర్యలు లక్షలాది మంది పిఎఫ్ సభ్యుల జీవితాలను, లక్షలాది మంది రిటైర్డ్ కార్మికులను దుర్భరంగా మారుస్తున్నాయి.  

కార్మికుల సంక్షేమం కోసం పెన్షన్ పథకాన్ని తిప్పికొట్టవద్దని సుప్రీంకోర్టు ఇంతకుముందు చెప్పిన విషయాన్ని కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం గుర్తుంచుకోవాలి.  జీవిత సాయంత్రం పింఛనుదారుల గంజి గిన్నె నుండి దొంగిలించవద్దు.  సుప్రీంకోర్టు సమర్థించిన 12 అక్టోబర్ 2018 కేరళ హైకోర్టు తీర్పును పూర్తిగా అమలు చేయడంలో ప్రధాని ప్రత్యక్షంగా పాల్గొనాలి.

ఈ వ్యాసంపై వ్యాఖ్యానించండి!

 

 

 

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