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HomeNewsProvisions of Employees' Pension Scheme 2014 'legal and valid', says SC

Provisions of Employees’ Pension Scheme 2014 ‘legal and valid’, says SC

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the provisions of the Employees’ Pension (Amendment) Scheme 2014 as “legal and valid” and granted four months for employees who had so far not exercised the option of joining the pension scheme to join it if they wished so.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia also read down certain provisions of the scheme, allowing employees to avail of the benefit of the pension scheme which permits employers and employees to make uncapped pension contributions

Under the 2014 amendments, only employees who were existing members of the Employee Pension Scheme (EPS) as on September 1, 2014 could continue to contribute to the pension fund in accordance with their actual salaries. The court on Friday scrapped this condition.

It also declared the additional requirement under the 2014 amendments on employees with a salary of more than ₹15,000 a month to contribute 1.16% of the salary under the scheme as “ultra vires”.

The amendments to the scheme would apply to employees of exempted establishments on the list of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in the same manner as for the staff of regular establishments, the order said.

The top court, however, suspended the implementation of this direction for six months. “We do so to enable the authorities to make adjustments in the scheme so that the additional contribution can be generated from other legitimate sources within the scope of the Act, which could include enhancing the rate of contribution of the employers,” the bench ruled.

The court said it did not wish to speculate on how the authorities would find the source of money for payment of additional contribution. It held that the legislature and those who frame the scheme were at liberty to make the necessary amendments.

Employees who had retired before the amendment on September 1, 2014 without exercising any option will not be covered under Friday’s ruling.

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