Aurangabad: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court recently directed the Union ministry of finance, the state government and authorities concerned to take a decision on extending individual choices to government sector employees in pension investment pattern.
Four state health department employees from Beed had approached the high court through lawyer Sayyed Tauseef Yaseen, challenging the central government’s move to introduce the New Pension Scheme by enacting the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013.
Under the New Pension scheme, the contribution of subscribers—employees of central and state government including corporate employees—is invested through Pension Fund Managers (PFMs). These PFMs are public sector and private sector companies.
The petitioners—Ganesh Landge, Praful Kumar Deshmukh, Hanumant Waghmare, and Amol Patki—submitted that “the respondents, more particularly the state introduced a new pension scheme from January 1, 2004 through a notification on December 22, 2003 for a new entrance to the central government servant except the armed forces.’’
They argued that the present process under the National Pension Scheme “restricts the deployment of funds of the government employees across the three public sector PFMs only, is arbitrary, unreasonable violation of Article 14 of the constitution and contrary to the scheme of PFRDA Act.”
Deputy general manager of PFRDA Pravesh Kumar and under secretary of Union finance ministry Prabhu Dayal filed their affidavit making it clear that they too were already exploring such a possibility. Assistant solicitor general of India S B Deshpande also pointed out that “the central government has already constituted a committee of secretaries to look into the matters related to NPS and extending of individual choices to government sectors is one of the agenda items.’’
Following the arguments, Justices Prasanna B Varale and Mangesh S Patil disposed of the petition on November 19 while noting the contention of the assistant solicitor general that “the committee may arrive at a decision which may be favourable to the petitioners and at this stage, it cannot be assumed and presumed that a discriminatory treatment is provided to these petitioners.’’
The bench also observed, “We are of the opinion that the petition itself can be disposed of with direction to the respondent authorities and more particularly respondent No.1 (Union ministry of finance) to take a decision as expeditiously as possible and not later than twelve weeks from the date of this order, needless to state, on merits.’’