D. S. Nakara V. Union of India, AIR 1983 SUPREME COURT 130

Author-Bhawna Chandrakar, student, Kalinga University 

Edited by- Sushree Sangita Panda, student, Birla Global University


This case is about the difference in pension of Central Employees, the employees were differentiated based on the date of retirement and pension was given accordingly which also created a class of pensioners, formed against the law. Three petitioners were retired and paid differently according to the date of retirement every month. This violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which says equality before the law every person should be treated equally, and there should not be any difference. The Pay Commission along with ARC recommended some increase in pension and the age of retirement to be 58 years.

The petitioner argued that all the persons should be paid equally for doing the same work. The doctrine of Severability is discussed. The court gave their judgement that it is against the law and it is violating Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. This should be stopped or struck down.

On infringement of any rights of the people of India, they can appeal or file a writ petition. In High Court as well as directly in the Supreme Court this is discussed in Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution.

Keywords : Pension, Retirement, Constitution of India, Article 14, Writ petition, Severability, Union of India.



      i)          Judgement Cause Title / Case Name D.S. Nakara V. Union Of India
    ii)          Case Number AIR 1983 SUPREME COURT 130
   iii)          Judgement Date 17/12/ 1982
   iv)          Court Supreme court
     v)          Quorum / Constitution of Bench D.A. Desai, Y.V. Chandrachud, V.D. Tulzapurkar, O. Chinnappa Reddy, Baharul Islam
   vi)          Author / Name of Judges D.A. Desai,
 vii)          Citation ABHINAV MOHAN GOEL ( Case Analysis on D. S. Nakara Vs. Union of India
viii)          Legal Provisions Involved Constitution of India

Article 14

Article 32


Pension is paid to the Central Employees who have been retired or not active employees. It is paid on the basis of past work contributions. It depends on the work done and the time given as an employee.

Articles 14 & 32 are discussed in the Indian Constitution which talks about the rights and equality before the law, no discrimination The doctrine of Severability is discussed with states that when a particular provision is unconstitutional and not the whole provision then only part should be declared void not the entire provision.

The difference in pension is discussed in this case and the difference in the amount of pension is on the basis of the date of retirement on which the court held that it violates Article 14 and is unconstitutional so it should be struck down.


Factual Matrix of the case there are 3 petitioners, the first is a Civil Servant, the second is a member of the Armed forces and the third is the society registered under “The Societies Registration Act,1860, it was formed to resolve public problems and objectives was to support the cause of pensioners. It’s “local standard”  was in question.

The first petitioner was retired in 1972 with a monthly pension of Rs. 935/- & dearness allowances. The second petitioner with monthly pension of Rs. 981/- with allowances. The  UNION OF INDIA  revised & liberalises the pension scheme within a period of time, some important changes were:-

  • The First Pay Commission recommended the age of retirement to 58 years for all services and the pension should be Rs. 8000 per year for 35 years of service.
  • The Second Pay Commission reaffirmed the retirement age but recommended increasing the retirement benefits & pension.
  • The Administrative Reform Commission (ARC) set up by the Government of India in 1956, suggested that the cost of living is increasing day by day and the pension is not sufficient, the expenses have increased saving, are decreased. Further ARC recommended that the ceiling should be raised to 1000 p.m But before the government can look at this recommendation the Third Pay Commission was set up on the reference to the term “ Death -cum – retirement benefits of Central Government Employees “.  The third Pay Commission recommended that the maximum pension be raised from Rs. 675 to Rs. 1000 pm and gratuity should be raised from 24000 to 30000.

Thus, the liberalised pension formula shall be applicable to those who retired on or after March 31, 1997. Those who retire on or after April 1, 1979, or a specified date would not be entitled to the liberalised pension.


Whether the classification of the pension is valid under Article 14 of the Constitution or not?


 Anil B. Divan, Mrs Vineeta Sen Gupta and P.H. Parekh for the Petitioners L.N.Sinha, Attorney General, M.M. Abdul Khader, N. Nettar and Miss A. Subhashini for Union of India.

Petitioner argued that the Pension is paid for past satisfactory service rendered, and to avoid destitution in old age as well as a social welfare or socio-economic justice measure, the differential treatment in providing a pension for the person retiring before or after the specified date is arbitrary. This is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.


The counsels for Respondent submitted that the scheme should be implicated as a whole or rejected as a whole. The date from which the scheme came into force it became indivisible integral. Further, the court has no right to make the financial implications retroactive and this Court cannot grant any relief to the pensioners who retired prior to a specified date because if more persons divide the available cake, the residue falling into the share of each, especially to those who are likely to be benefited by the scheme will be comparatively smaller and as they are not before the Court, no relief can be given to the pensioners.


    • Article 14 –  It states that every person should be treated equally.  The equality before the law should not be denied to any person. There shall not be any discrimination based on race, caste, gender etc
    •  Article 32 –  It states the remedies provided to the general public for infringement of the rights
    • The person has the right to move to the Supreme Court for the infringement of rights, the appropriate proceedings should be followed for enforcement of rights.
    • Doctrine of Severability – it means that if in the provision any particular part is unconstitutional then only one part should be declared void not the whole provision.


             The Hon’ble court held that all the pensioners for a class and it cannot be further classified. The difference made on the basis of retirement date is arbitrary, it creates a difference between the pensioners even though they have done the same work at the same time therefore they should get equal pay irrespective of the date of retirement. This scheme/ law is violative of Article 14. Hence it is unconstitutional and VOID thus it should become ineffective.



The scheme was against socio-economic justice and social welfare. The pension was differentiated on the basis of the date of retirement even though the work is the same for all. This also raises the problem of the cost of living because as the cost of living increases and the savings are decreased it creates financial problems for many people/ for the class of people.

The difference in pension is against the rule of equal pay for equal work. It violated Article 14 and was unconstitutional thus resulting in struck down.


Important Cases Referred

    • Menaka Gandhi V. Union Of India, AIR 1978SC 597
    • Ramana Dayaram Shetty V. The International Airport Authority of India & Ors, 1979AIR 1628
    • Deoki Nandan Prasad V. State of Bihar & Ors,1971 SCC(2) 330
    • . State of Punjab & Anr V. Iqbal Singh, 1991 AIR 1532
    •  S.P.Gupta V. Union Of India,