New Delhi, Jun 17 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a plea filed by the “Association of Industries & Institutions,” challenging the circular issued by the “Employees Provident Fund Organisation” allegedly, which has created a trouble for both the employers as well as the employees for availing the benefits under the provisions of the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952.
A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla sought the response of the Centre and the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation in a plea regarding the alleged illegality of Employees Provident Fund Organisation’s circular that makes Aadhaar seeding mandatory for filing monthly Electronic Challan-cum-Return.
The plea also sought direction, granting interim relief against the circular issued by the respondent EPFO.
The circular was issued under Section 142 of the Social Security Code, 2020. The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation vide its Circular dated May 20, 2021 has made it very clear that even though section 142 has been made effective yet the other provisions of the Code of Social Security, 2020 are yet to be implemented, so the requirement of Aadhaar for availing the benefits etc. under the existing Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 shall not be mandatory as of now
The petition stated, “The above mandate/directives have created troubles for the poor employees and have created innumerable hardships for both employer and employee in availing the benefits under the provisions of Employees PF Scheme,1952.
“There must be One Ministry, One Labour Code, One legal provision (Section 142), but the Ministry of the respondents have issued two contrary order, one from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, Delhi, and another from the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, Delhi.”
It further said, “To that effect, the office order dated May 12, 2021 issued by Madan Chaurasia, Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Labour and Employment, has been issued after taking a holistic approach, giving clear instructions that the requirement of Aadhaar under Section 142 of the Code on Social Security, 2020 may not be made mandatory for the time being and directed that “the requirement of Aadhaar for availing benefits under the existing ESI Act, 1948 may not be mandatory” and further directed that “No IP shall be denied any benefit under the existing ESI Act, 1948”.
The petition further stated that the circular will affect the beneficiaries of the Atmanirbhar Rojgar Yojna (ABRY), as some of the eligible employees will suffer and will ultimate result in undue hardships for those poor employees and migratory workers whose Aadhaar data or EPFO Data is not matched.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that EPFO has already granted exemption from the said circular by the order dated June 15, however, the last last date for filing ECR has passed. The Court observed that EPFO would have no problem in extending the last date for filing ECR.
The matter is listed for further hearing on September 2, 2021. ILNS/ANR/RJ