Widow of deceased employee not allowed to switchover from provident fund to family pension scheme: Calcutta HC

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Debangsu Basak, J. dismissed a petition filed by widow of a deceased teacher seeking directions to respondent authorities to accept her change of option from provident fund to family pension scheme.

The petitioner submitted that the deceased employee did not exercise the option of change-over during his lifetime because he had no opportunity to do so as the law relating to switchover stood settled subsequent to his death. On the other hand, the Government Pleader submitted that the option of switchover was available only to living employees, and the deceased teacher never exercised the option in his lifetime, so her widow could not be allowed to exercise such option now.

The High Court perused the record and considered submissions made by the parties. It also referred to its various earlier decisions on the same subject. The Court found that there was a divergence of opinion as to whether a widow of deceased employee should be allowed to exercise the option of switchover from contributory provident fund cum gratuity scheme to pension including family pension cum gratuity scheme? However, the Court followed the decision in Renuka Khatua v. State of W.B., 2016 SCC OnLine Cal 1442,  rendered by a Division Bench which was later in time. Furthermore, in the facts of the present case, there was nothing on record to suggest that the deceased employee opted for Revision of Pay Allowances, 1990 during his lifetime. The employees who opted for ROPA 1990 were given fresh opportunity to submit option for switchover. The Court held that in such circumstances no relief could be given to the accused. The petition was accordingly dismissed. [Bula Chakraborty v. State of W.B.,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 5951, dated 04-09-2018]

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