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Pension related issues pertain to ‘life and liberty’

Information about non-crediting of PF Employers share in account slips of 2013-14 etc. in applicant’s account was sought. The CIC held that the RTI request is concerned with ‘life and liberty’ and should have responded by EPFO within 48 hours. The CIC observed that if the phone/mobile or whatsapp, or email id is available, the EPFO shall use them to contact the applicant and to communicate the response. The CIC held that the EPFO is required to incorporate a system according to which the moment RTI application on pension issue is received, there should be a mechanism at the entry stage to discover and identify if it is a pension related grievance and then should start acting immediately. A show was issued to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-II, Sub-Regional Office, Ganjam to show-cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed upon him for not providing the information within prescribed timelines. The officer submitted an explanation and informed that a sum of Rs. 1,08,000/- will be credited into the account of the appellant within a week. The CIC found the explanation satisfactory and dropped the Penalty proceedings. Comments

The view of the CIC that a grievance related to pension (delay in response, delay in fixation and delay in payment) should be treated as ‘right to life’ under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the public authorities shall do all the needful to address the issue within 48 hours extends the scope of life and liberty. The CIC has suggested the quick mode of communication while holding that if the phone/mobile / whatsapp, or email id is available, the respondent shall use them to contact the applicant and to communicate the response.

Citation: : : Manoranjan Patra v. EPFO, Ganjam, Odisha in CIC/BS/A/2016/000523 Decided on: 15.09.2017

Dr. Anuradha Verma ( is the co-author of the books: RIGHT TO INFORMATION – LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Her other articles can be read at - Right to Information Act 2005- RTI Foundation of India
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