HC relief to JP Morgan in EPFO complaint

Company refused to share employees’ Aadhaar, bank details

Published - September 22, 2019 04:56 am IST - Mumbai

The Bombay High Court recently granted ad interim relief from prosecution to JP Morgan Services India Private Limited for not sharing the Aadhaar and bank details of their employees with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

The company had moved a Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and N.M. Jamadar, seeking to quash a criminal complaint filed against it by the EPFO with the Esplanade metropolitan magistrate for failing to furnish the details.

‘Avoid prosecution’

Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for JP Morgan, told the court that providing such details was in contravention of Articles 14 (Equality before law) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution. He produced a letter sent by the Association of Corporate Counsel (Legal) to all regional provident fund commissioners regarding the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar, which said, “It is advised to avoid any coercive action by way of prosecution till further orders.”

Mr. Desai told the court that despite the letter, subsequent prosecutions were initiated against the company for not submitting the Aadhaar and bank details of its employees. He said employees had refused to supply the documents based on the apex court’s ruling.

The EPFO, however, contended that supplying Aadhaar and bank details of the employees was mandatory and part of the online process.

The court granted ad interim relief by staying the proceedings initiated by the magistrate till the matter is heard and disposed of. The Bench directed the EPFO to file an affidavit and posted the matter to be heard on October 14.

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