Cannot Be Deprived Of Old Pension Scheme: Madras HC Allows Continuation Of Person Appointed Before April 1, 2003 Under Teacher’s Provident Fund
The Madras High Court while deciding a plea challenging the order of the State authorities thereby converting employees from the old pension scheme to the contributory pension scheme has held that the petitioner cannot be deprived of the Old Pension Scheme.
The Court allowed the continuation of the petitioner appointed before April 1, 2003, under the Teacher’s Provident Fund.
A Single Bench of Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan directed, “… this Court is of the considered opinion that the petitioner cannot be deprived of the benefit of old pension scheme. Therefore, the impugned orders are not applicable to the petitioner. The first and second respondents are directed to continue the petitioner under the Teacher's Provident Fund (Family Pension Scheme) in TPF.No.339415”.
The Bench held that the option to continue the old pension scheme must be extended to all those persons who participated in the selection prior to the crucial date, but however, got appointment letters after the crucial date.
Advocate S.N. Ravichandran appeared for the petitioner while Government Advocate M.P. Murugan Raja and Advocate P. Gopalan appeared for the respondents.
Factual Background -
The respondent school was an aided institution and governed by the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private School Regulations Act, 1973 and Rules, 1974. A vacancy arose for the post of B.T. Teacher (Science) and the District Employment Exchange had furnished a list of candidates to the said school and accordingly, the petitioner was directed to receive a call letter for an interview.
The petitioner appeared for the interview and based on her merit and ability, she was selected and appointed as B.T. Assistant. She was enrolled in the Teachers Provident Fund (TPF) but the school informed her that as per the Government Order, she was not eligible for the TPF scheme and directed her to get a new number under the Contributory Pension Scheme for deductions.
The High Court after considering the submissions of the counsel observed, “… The contributory pension scheme was brought into force from 01.01.2004, whereas vacancy arose for the post of B.T.Assistant as early as on 09.11.2002 itself. After obtaining permission from the third respondent to fill up the vacancy, the fifth respondent requested the District Employment Exchange for list of suitable candidates by letter dated 02.03.2003 itself. After furnishing of the list of candidates, the petitioner was called for interview to be held on 10.04.2003. … the old pension scheme will not apply to the Government service who are appointed on or after 01.04.2003.”
The Court said that because of the retrospective operation of the New Pension Scheme, no employer and employee would have forethought that appointments made after April 1, 2003, would not be eligible for the Old Pension Scheme.
“The process of appointment started from the date of vacancy and ended with the issuance of appointment orders. GO.Ms.No.259 (Finance) Pension dated 06.08.2003, which brought in a New Pension Scheme with retrospective operation. … In fact the petitioner had been enrolled for Teacher Provident Fund and she was given TPF No.339415. Therefore, her request was accepted and she had been enrolled under the old pension scheme”, also noted the Court.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition.
Cause Title- B. Vallipavai v. The State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.