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EPFO Circular On Guidelines For Initiation Of Inquiries Under Section 7A - The Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

EPFO vide circular no.C-II/20/76/Misc./2020/CBE/TN/027 has released guidelines for initiation of inquiries under Section 7A of the Employees Provident Fund And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. As per the circular, inquiry shall not be initiated for any purpose extraneous to the statutory mandate of Section 7A i.e. dispute of applicability or determination of dues. The minimum standard of evidence for commencement of any legal proceeding is existence of a prima-facie case and the same applies to proceedings u/s 7A as well. A mere complaint in itself doesn't constitute a prima-facie case evidence. Any complaint is required to be investigated by a Enforcement Officer Under Section 13(1) of the Act and substantiated on the basis of admissible evidence gathered during investigation. Once an inquiry is initiated for specific reasons and period, the scope thereof cannot be extended beyond the fact-in -issue. The reasons for initiation of inquiry must be recorded in writing and copy of the all the documents shall be supplied to the necessary parties along with the notice with the case number under Section 7A. 

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