Despite having wide punitive powers, the provident fund dept claimed helplessness in procuring PF accounts from an organisation. The CIC directed the PIO to obtain the information and provide to the appellant. This is 162nd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)'s regional officer at Allahabad, to procure information about provident fund (PF) accounts from the employer and provide it to the appellant. The PIO had claimed helplessness in obtaining PF account records from an organization.
While giving this judgement on 17 June 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It is the pathetic state of affairs that the PF department which has been given very wide punitive powers is claiming helplessness for years when an organization does not give its returns. The PF department does not appear to be conscious of the fact that it is responsible for amounts deducted from employees across the country and by such actions it is not discharging its duties towards the employees.”
Akbarpur (Janpad- Ambedkarnagar/ Uttar Pradesh) resident Mohammad Aslam, on 30 November 2010, sought from the PIO information about the status of his provident fund (PF). Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act...
Reasons for not providing the PF Deposit from applicant's Employee's Provident Fund account as requested in application dated 9 November 2010.
The PIO returned the application to Aslam due to certain defects, which should be cured for the release of the applicant's PF deposit.
Citing PIO did not provide any information, the applicant filed his first appeal. However, there was no mention of any order by the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
Aslam, the applicant, then twice sent his appeal to the Office of the Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner, who forwarded it to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (Appellate Authority).
After not receiving any information from the PIO or any reply from the FAA, the applicant approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the appellant was seeking information about the PF status of his account.
The PIO disclosed that it had not been possible (for him) to give the status of the PF accounts since the employers has not filled in the required form and sent it to the Department.
Mr Gandhi said, "It is the pathetic state of affairs that the PF Department, which has been given very wide punitive powers, is claiming helplessness for years when an organization does not give its returns. The PF department does not appear to be conscious of the fact that it is responsible for amounts deducted from employees across the country and by such actions it is not discharging its duties towards the employees."
"In the instant case the employer's representatives are present and they are committed that they would give the returns to the PF Authority before 30 July 2011,' the Bench noted.
While allowing the appeal, the CIC directed the PIO to ensure that the information sought by Aslam is supplied to him before 15 August 2011. "If the returns are not submitted by the employer, the PF Authority should take punitive action for which they have been given powers," the Bench said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000740/12919
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000740
Appellant : Md. Aslam,
Uttar Pradesh- 224122
Respondent : Brijesh Kumar Mishra
PIO & RPFC-II,
Employee's Provident Fund Organisation,
United Tower IInd & IIIrd Floor,
53, Leader Road, Allahabad
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