NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION No. 2257 OF 2006
(From the order dated 08.07.2005 in Appeal
No.F.A.745/2005 of the State Commission,
‘C’ Wing, 9th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhawan,
Khan Market, New Delhi-110 003 … Petitioner
1. Shri Balwant Singh
House No.3630, Sector-23, HUDA,
2. EPF Commissioner,
8th and 9th Floor, Mayur Bhawan,
HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT
MR. ANUPAM DASGUPTA, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Mr. Ashwin Vaish, Advocate
For the Respondent No.1 : Mr. Rajesh R., Advocate
For the Respondent No.2 : Mr. Rajesh Manchanda, Advocate
With Ms. Maneesha Agarwal, (E.O.)
This Revision Petition is filed against the judgment and order dated 30.5.2006 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi, in First Appeal No.745 of 2005, dismissing the appeal filed by the Petitioner and confirming the order dated 8.7.2005 in CC No. 694 of 2005, passed by the District Forum, New Delhi (Kasturba Gandhi Marg), directing the E.P.F. Commissioner to refund the principal amount deducted from the salary of the Complainant on the ground that the latter was not entitled to be a member of the EPF Scheme.
It is the case of the Complainant that after retirement from government service he joined as Private Secretary with the National Foundation for Communal Harmony on yearly contract basis w.e.f. 1.5.1997 and the same was renewed from year to year and finally it was renewed for two years w.e.f. 1.5.2001. It is his contention that he was enrolled as a beneficiary of the EPF Scheme as approved by the Petitioner and he contributed his share and the Petitioner also contributed its own (employer’s) share to the EPF. The said amount was deposited with the EPF Commissioner, Respondent No.2.
It is not disputed that the Complainant was appointed as a Private Secretary by the Petitioner on 1.5.1997, enrolled as a member of the EPF Scheme, 1952 by the employer and given a PF account number by the PF Organisation. Petitioner kept on deducting the employee’s contribution from the salary of the Complainant and deposited the same with the EPF Commissioner along with the employer’s contribution.
In the year 2001-2002, Complainant’s son got acute medical problem and was diagnosed with cancer. For his treatment, the Complainant applied for leave which was declined by the Petitioner and the service of the Complainant was terminated. At this stage, the Petitioner deducted a total sum of Rs.14,200/- from the salary of the Complainant, purportedly the employer’s contribution, contending that the salary of the Complainant was more than Rs.5,000/- and hence he was ineligible for membership of the EPF Scheme.
Hence, the Complainant approached the District Forum by filing two complaints – Complainant No.OC/1389/2002 dated 20.12.2002 praying for a direction to the EPF Commissioner to settle the EPF account of the Complainant expeditiously and, the other, bearing No. OC/553/03 dated 24.4.2003 for release of Rs.14,200/- against the National Foundation for Communal Harmony.
The District Forum by its order dated 3.3.2005 allowed both the complaints.
In complaint No. OC/1389/2002 filed against the EPF Commissioner, the District Forum by its order dated 3.3.2005 directed the former to settle the PF Account of the Complainant and release the claim amount lying with the PF Commissioner till March, 2001 along with all accrued interest thereon within 30 days, along with further interest at the rate of 9% p.a. from 1.4.2001 till realization, together with costs of Rs.1,000/-.
In the complaint No.OC/553/2003 filed against the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, the District Forum by its order dated 3.3.2005 directed it to refund the said amount of Rs.14,200/- recovered from the salary of the Complainant along with interest 9% p.a. from 1.9.2000 till realization together with costs of Rs.3,000/- within a period of 30 days.
the orders of the District Forum passed in both the complaints filed by the
Complainant, Appeal No.A-301 of 2005 was filed by the Petitioner herein, the
National Foundation for Communal Harmony, before the State Commission,
On the matters being remanded, the District Forum dismissed both the complaints as non-maintainable on the ground that the salary of the Complainant was more than Rs.5,000/- and hence, he was not eligible to become a member of the EPF scheme vide its order dated 8.7.2005
Against the said orders of the District Forum, the Complainant went in appeal to the State Commission, by filing First Appeal No. 745 of 2005. The State Commission allowed the appeal, and directed the EPF Commissioner to refund the principal amount along with costs assessed at Rs.5,000/- to be borne by both the EPF Commissioners and the National Foundation for Communal Harmony.
It may be mentioned here that the EPF Commissioner has settled the PF account of the Complainant as per the direction and order dated 3.3.2005 of the District Forum.
Considering the aforesaid facts, there is no substance in the revision because the Petitioner himself has accepted that the Complainant was a member of the EPF Scheme for years together. The contribution for the said scheme was regularly deducted from his salary. The matching contribution was also given by the Petitioner which remitted the total amount to the EPF Commissioner.
Therefore, the Petitioner is estopped from contending that the Complainant was not entitled to be a member of the EPF Scheme. This contention is raised solely to defeat the rights of the Complainant as the Complainant sought leave for treatment of his son and his service was terminated by refusing to grant leave. Such type of vindictive act on the part of the Petitioner cannot be justified.
Not only this, Para 26(6) of the EPF Scheme provides that the employees whose salary is more than Rs.5,000/- p.m. can join the PF Scheme voluntarily on a joint application by the employer and the employee to the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner. Therefore, it cannot be said that there was a complete bar for the Complainant to joining the EPF Scheme.
The State Commission, by the impugned order only directed the Respondent No.2, EPF Commissioner to refund the principal amount and held the Petitioner and the Commissioner of the EPF jointly liable for deficiency in service and awarded compensation of Rs.5,000/-.
Further, in the revision petition it has been mentioned that on 2.5.2005 the EPF Commissioner had released to the Complainant
the amount of Rs.1,39,631/- which included the employer’s share of contribution.
Considering the fact that the amount has been already released in favour of the Complainant and that the Complainant was accepted as a member of the EPF Scheme, we do not think that this is a fit case for interference in revision
In the result, the Revision Petition is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.