The South Mumbai District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum has said that an employee is a consumer and has every right to enjoy the benefits he is entitled to. Employees are consumers who have every right to get benefits from the organisation. And when unhappy,by all means can approach the forum demanding justice, observed the Forum while passing an order on a complaint filed by a retired employee.
Hasmukh Parekh,who was working with the Provident Fund department in Mumbai,had filed a complaint after the department failed to pay his provident fund (PF) and the commutation amount payable on the day of retirement or maximum on the next day. Parekh,who retired on November 27,2002,was entitled to get a sum of Rs 13,52,569 as PF and Rs 2,93,594 as the commutation amount.
However,when the department failed to pay the money on time,Parekh moved the court claiming compensation for the 20-day delay.
Provident Fund department argued that an employee cannot approach the consumer redressal forum. The department also contented that Parekh was one of its employees who has derailed a lot of work of the department at several instances.
An employee,who has any grievance in case of any dispute under the Employees Provident Fund,should approach the Provident Fund commissioner and not the Consumer Forum, said the department.
However,rejecting all the claims made by the department,the consumer forum stated that the issue wasnt regarding the employer – employee relationship but for the delay in paying of PF,which can be considered under Consumer Protection Act.
Forum has ordered the department to pay the compensation at an interest rate of 12 per cent per annum on the P F and the commutation amount for a period of 20 days along with a sum of Rs 20,000 for the mental stress and agony suffered by the complainant.