Srinagar, Apr 21: Federation of Chambers of Kashmir (FCIK) has taken strong exception to the penalty proceedings launched by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EFPO) against hundreds of employers in the Jammu and Kashmir under section 14B of the Provident Fund Act for making belated payments after respective due dates of filling of returns during January 2019 to April 2023.
FCIK has termed the action against the procedure established by law.
In a statement, the FCIK has challenged the prudence of the organisation for having invoked section 14B of the Act which could only be done under concrete evidence regarding any culpable state of mind of the employer while committing default in timely remittances.
FCIK stated that the action taken by EPFO had sent shockwaves to employers for the reason that this provision of the Provident Fund Act was extremely harsh and envisaged recoveries through coercive methodology including attaching bank accounts and properties.
“FCIK regretted that EPFO J&K had completely played ignorant to the prolonged lockdowns during the reorganisation of the state, Covid restrictions coupled with snapping of internet services which had led to complete halt to business activities in Jammu and Kashmir during the aforementioned time period and have asked that how could EPFO expect employers to follow normal rules and regulations under most abnormal conditions when the very movement of people had been restricted.”
“FCIK has taken up the matter with Central Provident Fund Commissioner GOI with a plea to quash the demands raised by EPFO against J&K employers. While giving an overview of the operational and economic conditions of enterprises in J&K particularly in Kashmir valley, FCIK has solicited the intervention of the CPFC for quashing demands raised by EPFO J&K against employers for penal damages including interest and administrative charges during the period of January 2019 to April 2023,” reads the statement.