Chronology of events in EPS 95

Chronology of events with regard to Higher Pension under EPS,’95:

1) EPFO is the first institution to announce provision for Higher Pension through News Paper Advertisements on 5th of January, 1996 i.e., just 51 days after the implementation of EPS,’95 from 16-11-1995.

2) Government of India announced 1) Option for Higher Pension, 2) Option for Commutation, 3) Option for Return of Capital (ROC) on 28th February, 1996.

3) Government of India published its above announcements in the Gazette on 16th March, 1996.

Note: The above three events happened when there is no On-line facility to transmit the above events to reach wider public.

4) Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the Validity of Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 on 11th November,2003 i.e., 5 days short of 8 years from 16-11-1995. Thus for Employees covered by EPS,’95 were in a somewhat confused state whether EPS,’95 continues 1) in the present form, 2) modified form, 3) or to be invalidated, to “opt for Higher Pension”.

5) Employees who want to opt for Higher Pension have only time from 11-11-2003 to 30-11-2004 (1 year, 20 days) to weight the option.

6) EPFO stopped accepting Options for Higher Pension from 01-12-2004 without 1) any amendment to the Scheme, 2) without giving wide publicity, 3) But only through a single communiction internally to P.F. Commissioner, Visakhapatnam in the entire country and keeping other P. F. Commissioners in the dark even inside EPFO leave alone informing Employees covered under EPS,’95 about the stoppage of accepting Options from 01-12-2004.

7) Hon’ble Supreme Court invalidated the Cut-off dates within which Employees have to opt for Higher Pension and allowed all Employees to opt at any time during their service though its Judgement on 4th October, 2016 in case of Sri R.C. Gupta & Others.

8) As the judgement was deliverd on 4th October, 2016 which is after 16th of March, 1996 when Gazette Notification was issued allowing Options for Higher Pension, i.e., after a period of 20 years, 6 months and 18 days, Hon’ble Supreme Court also allowed Employees who attained 58 years by the time the Judgement was delivered, to opt for Higher Pension.

9) EPFO accepted the Judgement after a thorough study of 5 months and 19 days (04-10-2016 to 23-03-2017) threadbare and issued a Circular on 23rd March, 2017 implementing the Judgement.

10) Issued another Circular on 31st May, 2017, disallowing the Employees of Exempted Establishments from the benefit of the Judgement.

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11) EPFO on Page No: 390 of the Annual Report of 2016-2017 clarified as follows:

” 11. Subsequently, considering the financial viability of the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 based on various actuarial reports till then, the opportunity for giving option to contribute on higher wages on becoming member of the Employees’ Pension Scheme was “stopped in the year 2004 vide Circular No. Pen 4 (38)/96/WB/59867, Dt: 01-12-2004. A clarificatory circular discontinuing acceptance of contributions on higher wages in Pension Fund was also issued vide communication dated: 22-11-2006.”
(Any amendment to EPS,’95 should be in the form of G.S.R. followed by the Circular Number just like G.S.R. 438(E), Dt: 09-06-2008 (w.e.f. 10-06-2008) which was issued to reduce the Multiplication (Interest) Factors under Table “B” of EPS,’95 through Subordinate Legislation.)

  1. Although administrative instructions were issued disallowing option to contribute on higher wages (wages exceeding ceiling amount), this provision for contribution on higher wages in scheme was not amended till the year 2014. “So, legally, the provision for contribution of Higher Wages continued from 16-11-1995 to 31-08-2014.” 13) High Courts of Kerala, Rajastha, and Delhi set aside the letter of 31st May, 2017 which disallowed the Employees of Exempted Establishments to opt for Higher Pension. Hon’ble High Court of Delhi went a step ahead and said that the above letter was issued in haste without application of mind. The above decisions of the Hon’ble High Courts were reiterated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 4th November, 2022.

Basing on the above chronoligical events,

1) Employees covered by EPS,’95 have not opted for Higher Pension from 16-11-1995 to 30-11-2004 as per the Gazettle Notification of 16th March, 1996 on their own volition.

2) From 01-12-2004 to 31-08-2014 it is the EPFO which prevented them from opting for Higher Pension by refusing to accept Options from 01-12-2004 to 22-03-2017 (on 23rd March, 2017 Circular was issued accepting the Judgement of 4th October, 2016) in case of Employees from Unexempted Establishments.

3) Employees from Exempted Establishents were prevented from exercising Options from 01-12-2004 to 03-11-2022 (on 4th November, 2022 Judgement was delivered by Hon’ble Supreme Court removing the discrimination between Employees of Exempted and Unexempted Establishments)

Finally:

Employees both from Exempted and Unexempted Establishments who are on rolls as per their service from “01-12-2004 to 03-11-2022” (on 4th Hon’ble Supreme Court delivered the Judgement) and attained 58 years inbetween are eligible for Higher Pension.

They should apply through Options Form under Proviso to Para No: 11(3) in case of Employees who attained 58 years on or before 31-08-2014.

and Employees who are on service from 01-12-2004 and continuing on or after 01-09-2014 and continued upto 3rd November, 2022, have to exercise Option under Proviso to Para No: 11(3) and Para No: 11 (4).

The last date for exercising Options is 3rd March, 2023.

Option Form under Provisio to Para No: 11 (3) was printed by EPFO in the year 1996 and under Para No: 11(4) in the month of September, 2014.

G. Srinivasa Rao, Mobile No: 89851 72459 & WhatsApp No: 86398 71817

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