KOCHI: Employees working in the public and private sector undertakings will benefit from the judgment, said Advocate Benny P Thomas, who appeared for several establishments in the case. In view of the judgment, even those who retired from service after September 1, 2014, can also submit the option and avail higher pension, he said.
The Employees Pension Scheme came into force in 1995. When the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) fixed a cut-off date for submission of the options, the employees challenged the fixation of cut-off date and the High Court set aside the cut-off date fixed by the EPFO and directed EPFO to accept the option submitted by the employer and employee even after the said date. Though EPFO challenged the order, it was not accepted and the SC also confirmed the order.
In between, an amendment was brought in by the legislature with effect from September 1, 2014, whereby the proviso to para 11 (3) of the pension scheme, for submission of fresh option for payment of higher contribution to the pension fund, was deleted and accordingly the option for higher pension was confined only to those who had already submitted option prior to September 1, 2014.
Further, the computation of pensionable salary was also modified as the average salary of 60 months instead of 12 months with a separate provision for payment of contribution by the employees also to the Pension Fund.
Several serving employees and the employees retired after September 1, 2014, lost the opportunity for availing higher pension and thousands of employees challenged this amendment and the HC set aside it.