HC asks PDC to pay pensionary benefits to former employee
“Justice is to save the individual from whatever he/she seeks protection”
Srinagar: While directing Power Development Corporation to release the pensionary, retiral benefits in favor of a former employee, J&K High Court today observed that “Justice is not only law and its administration, but it is above law with a view to protect the individual.”
The court was hearing a petition wherein the J&K State Power Development Corporation (PDC) denied monthly pension to one of its retired employees.
Allowing the petition of the aggrieved plaintiff, Justice A M Magray observed “Justice is not only law and its administration, but is, in most cases, above law and is done to save the individual from whatever he/she seeks protection”.
After superannuation, PDC had failed to settle all the post retiral benefits in favor of the petitioner, Abdul Rashid Makroo. The ground cited being that since its existence, the Corporation has not adopted any rules with regard to pension from the government of J&K.
Pertinently all the posting of officers, officials and employees for the Corporation have been made from the Administrative Department and also other Departments of the erstwhile state.
Besides the state sector power utility has already cleared the post retirement claims of its employees, the petitioner submitted before the court.
Petitioner Makroo was initially appointed in 1982 in J&K State Industrial Corporation and was then sent on deputation in the Bureau of Public Enterprise in 1995. Subsequently the government in August 1997 sent him on deputation in the PDC where he retired as Chief General Manager on 31st of January 2014.
Thereafter, although, the Corporation released some post retiral benefits like gratuity, leave salary and GPF accumulations in his favor, it denied him the monthly pension.
His counsel S A Makroo submitted before the court that the action of the PDC in delaying the disbursement of pension infringed the ‘Right to Life’ of the petitioner.
Pension is the property of an employee and delay in its disbursement defeats the very purpose for which it is being paid to a retired employee.
The court held that being a government-owned entity in terms of Article 12 of the Constitution of India PDC has entered into contract with the petitioner when he was appointed there.
“It is bound to pay the pensionary/ retiral benefits to the petitioner in accordance with Government rules, viz. Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations”, it said.
“The Respondent Corporation cannot be permitted to wriggle out of its commitment to pay the pensionary /retiral benefits to the petitioner”, it held.
Law on the subject is no more res integra said the court. “It is well settled position of law that pensionary/ retiral benefits become the principal source of sustenance to an employee after his retirement, payment whereof is not a bounty being paid to the employee concerned, but these are paid in recognition of the service rendered by an employee to his employer”, it observed.
The purpose for grant of pensionary/ retiral benefits is to ensure that after retirement of an employee, the said employee is in a position to sustain himself, it said.
Accordingly it directed the Corp to release the pensionary, retiral benefits (including gratuity etc.; along with arrears thereof with interest @ 6 percent per annum commencing at the expiry of two months from the date of retirement of the petitioner) in favor of the petitioner.
Rashid Paul is Associate Editor at Kashmir Images.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org