Report No. 137
3.4.5. Provisions required to be made in order to enable the Ombudsman to exercise the powers and to discharge the duties.-
As the Ombudsman will be responsible for ensuring that Provident Fund and other retirement/death benefits are paid to the beneficiary as far as possible within three months from the date the same become payable, provisions to the following effect are required to be made-
(i) Every employer having a provident fund scheme shall furnish a return [Appendices HI and HII] on a prescribed proforma, to the Ombudsman every month by the 15th of each month detailing therein the cases of delay beyond three months, setting out the necessary particulars of each case, and explaining the causes of delay.
(ii) The Regional Provident Fund Commissioners and the Trustees of Provident Fund trusts in the case of exempted organisations, shall furnish a return, on a prescribed proforma [Appendices HI and HIII], to the Ombudsman on the 15th of January, 15th of April, 15th of July and 15th of October every year detailing therein the cases which could not be disposed of and settled within three months from the date the amount became payable setting out and explaining the causes of delay. The Ombudsman will have the authority to issue appropriate directions to ensure urgent settlement of the claims.
(iii) The Ombudsman shall monitor the cases of delay beyond three months, the cases of default in depositing the amount by the employers either in respect of their own contribution or in respect of employees' contribution or both and shall issue appropriate directions in this regard to the concerned officer, authority or the employer. The Ombudsman will have the authority to call for any further information from the concerned officer, authority or employer as he may deem fit and proper.
(iv) The wilful default or failure on the part of the concerned officer or authority or the employer to furnish requisite return and/or information which may be sought by the Ombudsman or the failure on the part of the concerned officer, authority or the employer to carry out the directions issued by the Ombudsman within the stipulated time without sufficient cause shall be an offence punishable with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 5,000 or both. Such an offence should be bailable, cognizable and triable by any Magistrate having the jurisdiction.