Rashid Paul

Pension not fundamental right available to govt or PSU employees: HC

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Quashes single bench order that entitled some retd employees of SIDCO to pensionary benefits

Srinagar: Pension is a not a fundamental right available to an employee of the government or a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), J&K High Court said on Thursday while quashing a single bench order that entitled some retired employees of State Industrial Corporation (SIDCO) to pensionary benefits.

The single bench court in 2018 had held that employees of SIDCO were entitled to pension as has been the case with some similarly situated retired employees of the J&K Industries Ltd.

The J&K government subsequently assailed the judgment.

A division bench of Justices Sanjeev Kumar and Rajnesh Oswal said “we could not find as to how the writ petitioners (employees of SIDCO) were found to be similarly placed with the employees of JK Industries by the Writ Court”.

“In the absence of any comparison between the two having been done by the Writ Court or otherwise existing, it was not permissible to dispose of the writ petitions on the analogy of the decision in the case of employees of JK Industries,” the division bench said.

The bench made it clear that employees of SIDCO were governed by EPF scheme “which is also a post-retiral benefit usually paid in lieu of pension.”

That apart, the court said that it did not found any material on record which could persuade it to agree with the senior counsel, representing the SIDCO employees  that Rules and Regulations of SIDCO are silent on the payment of pension to its employees and therefore, by aid of J&K CSR, they are entitled to pension.

“We, therefore, conclude that no employee, as a matter of right, is entitled to claim retirement pension in addition to other post-retiral benefits unless there is a specific provision in this regard made in the terms and conditions of his service,” the division bench.

It added “when we view and analyze the case of the respondents –SIDCO employees — in the light of terms and conditions governing their service, we find no such provision made in this regard either in the Memorandum of Association or Articles of Association or the SIDCO Service Regulations.”

The court said that pension is a mere condition of service.

It held the view “whether or not an employee of the government or a statutory corporation is entitled to pension, is determined by the terms and conditions and connected matters of his employment.”

These terms and conditions, the court said, may be contractual or statutory in nature.

“No employee of the government or of any public or private corporation can claim retirement pension de hors the rules and regulations governing conditions of his service,” the court said, adding, “True it is that under the J&K Civil Service Regulations, a government employee, who was in position till issuance of SRO 400 dated 04.04.2010, was entitled to retirement pension in addition to retirement gratuity and other post-retiral benefits.

It said even the government employees who have been recruited/appointed after cut-off date mentioned in SRO 400 of 2010, are not entitled to pension which clearly means that even the government employees who are appointed after a particular date are now not entitled to pension.

The court observed that it was true that pension is paid to a retiring employee in recognition of his long services rendered to the employer as also to take care of his post-retirement needs.

“Such assistance to retiring employee could be in different forms. Some employers make provisions for payment of annuity, some for monthly payment in the shape of pension and some by payment of a lump sum amount. Such amount could be in the shape of accumulated employees provident fund or retirement gratuity or some other form of ex gratia payments,” it said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *