Tuesday, June 18, 2013

‘Onus of clearing PF dues on fund panel’

Mumbai: The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner should take action against any company that has not deposited the dues of a beneficiary and try to recover the money, the state consumer disputes redress commission has said.

The regional PF commissioner’s office, absolving itself of any responsibility, had blamed Swan Mills for non-payment of dues to a Borivli senior citizen, fighting for his dues since 2005.

The commissioner and Swan Mills have been directed to pay Mulchand Shah Rs 1.52 lakh within four months along with a compensation of Rs 95,000 by the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

The panel, upholding a district forum’s order citing the EPF & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, said it was the commissioner’s duty to administer the fund with respect to every employee who comes under the Act.

‘PF office must act against errant cos’Mumbai: The state consumer disputes redress commission has ruled that it’s the regional provident fund commissioner’s duty to ensure an employee gets his dues.

“Merely issuing an order (to deposit the dues to the firm) did not solve the problem of the complainant, who is the ultimate beneficiary under the scheme,” it said.

In his complaint, Mulchand Shah had said he worked for Swan Mills from 1963 to 1998. A couple of years later, he filed a claim for his provident fund and on June 1, 2005, received a cheque for Rs 1.48 lakh. It was only a part of the money due to him. So, he filed a claim again, saying he was entitled to another Rs 1.52 lakh but did not receive it.

Aggrieved, he filed a complaint before a district consumer forum on June 23, 2009. In June 2011, the forum directed the regional PF commissioner and the company to pay Rs 1.52 lakh and a compensation of around Rs 95,000.

Soon after, the regional PF commissioner’s office filed an appeal in the state commission. It challenged the order, saying the company had failed to deposit the PF contribution for Shah. It claimed that the firm was guilty of deficiency of service, and the commissioner’s office was not liable to comply with order.

The state commission held that the district forum had rightly observed that according to the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, it was the commissioner’s duty to administer the management of PF in respect to each and every employee to whom the Act is applicable.

It added that when the commissioner failed to receive the company’s contribution, he could have taken action under the provisions of the Act and proceeded to recover the money. “On this count too, the opponent no. 1 (commissioner) has not adduced any evidence to establish that such action was ever taken,” the consumer panel added.
Rebecca Samervel TNN

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