The Supreme Court has upheld the Employees’ Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014 of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization as “legal and valid” while reading down certain provisions, using its extraordinary powers under Article 142.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Extraordinary powers under Article 142
- About Employees Pension Scheme (EPS)
- About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)
Extraordinary powers under Article 142:
- Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court. It states that the Apex Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing “complete justice” in any case pending before it.
- Such orders of the Supreme Court are enforceable throughout the territory of India as prescribed by any law made by Parliament or order of the President of India.
- From Article 142, the Supreme Court derives overarching powers to perform the functions of Executive and legislative in order to bring about complete justice.
- In this pursuit, Article 142 is supplemented by the Articles 32 (Right to constitutional remedies), Article 141 (The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India) and Article 136 (Special Leave petition).
- This is often termed as judicial activism.
Pros of Article 142
- For upholding citizens’ rights and implementing constitutional principles when the executive and legislature fails to do so.
- Sets out a system of check and balance and controls to the other branches of the government.
- For example:
- In Vishakha v State of Rajasthan case, Supreme Court laid down the guidelines to protect a woman from sexual harassment at its workplace
- Bandhua Mukti Morcha Case Court gave its landmark judgment on bonded labour system of India
- In Olga Tellis Case where Right to livelihood was declared part and parcel of the right to life.
Cons of Article 142:
- Judiciary cant be held accountable for its decisions.
- It creates slippery slope of Judicial overreach.
- Repeated use of Art 142 can diminish the faith of the people in the integrity, quality, and efficiency of the government.
About Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS):
- It is a social security scheme that was launched in 1995. It offers pension on disablement, widow pension, and pension for nominees.
- The scheme, provided by EPFO, makes provisions for pensions for the employees in the organized sector after the retirement at the age of 58 years.
- Employees who are members of EPF automatically become members of EPS.
- Both employer and employee contribute 12% of employee’s monthly salary (basic wages plus dearness allowance) to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
- EPF scheme is mandatory for employees who draw a basic wage of Rs. 15,000 per month.
- Of the employer’s share of 12 %, 8.33 % is diverted towards the EPS.
- Central Govt. also contributes 1.16% of employees’ monthly salary.
- Maximum service for the calculation of service is 35 years.
- No pensioner can receive more than one EPF Pension.
About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)
Nodal: Ministry of Labour & Employment
- It is a government organization that manages provident fund and pension accounts of member employees and implements the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
- The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 provides for the institution of provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments.
- It is one of the World’s largest Social Security Organisations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
-Source: The Hindu