BY: RITIK RANJAN
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA.
|Name of the case||State of Uttar Pradesh & ors. Vs. Dhirendra Pal Singh.|
|Citation||Civil Appeal No. 10866of 2016.|
|Date of judgement||15 November 2016|
|Appellant||State of Uttar Pradesh and ors.|
|Respondent||Dhirendra Pal Singh.|
|Bench/Judges||J. Chelameshwar; Prafulla C. Pant.|
|Statues/ Constitution involved||Constitution of India; UP Civil Service Regulations.|
|Sections/Articles||Constitution of India, Art- 21, 300A; UP Civil Service Regulations, Section 351A|
Respondent in this case was a government employee. After his retirement his pension were cleared but from that whole pension, some part of it was deducted stating that it was deducted as a loss recovery which has occurred due to some discrepancies. The respondent filed a civil suit and some went to the High Court where the decision was given in favour of the respondent but appellant was unsatisfied so it was finally challenged in the Supreme Court.
Retirement and pension benefits are given to a retired government official to make sure that they have a constant income and a secured life. The retirement benefits consist of employees leave encashment, retirement gratuity and the amount they are contributing to their provident fund account throughout their service.
A pension is a retirement plan that provides a monthly income. The employer bears all of the risk and responsibility for funding the plan. With a pension, your employer guarantees you an income in retirement. Not all employers offer pensions, but government organizations usually do. An employee who receives a pension typically gets a set amount of money every month, for the rest of their life.
Right to pension is a constitutional right and no one can interfere in between this. In case of Naini Gopal vs. UOI, the court held that the principle of pension payable upon superannuation being a property under Article 300A of the Constitution of India and it constitutes a fundamental right to have a dignified livelihood under the ambit Article 21 of the constitution. The deprivation of even small part of amount cannot be undertaken.
The case, State of Uttar Pradesh and ors. vs Dhirendra Pal Singh is also having similar situation of deduction of pension which was being dealt in the case of Naini Gopal vs UOI(Supra).
FACTS OF THE CASE
Dhirendra Pal Singh- Respondent was assistant store superintendent at the Irrigation Department of State of Uttar Pradesh. He retired from the job on 30.06.2009 when attained the age of superannuation.
At the time of his retirement, General Provident Fund (GPF), leave encashment and 70% of gratuity and pension were cleared. Remaining 30% of gratuity and pension were held up and the reason given by the State authority was that there were some discrepancies in the stock in the store of the department and some enquiries ere going on as to loss caused to the public exchequer.
The respondent made multiple representations, but still the amount of gratuity and pension were not cleared. The respondent filed a civil suit against it. The State directed the recovery of Rs. 7,26,589. from the retiral dues payable to the respondent. This was challenged in the High Court as a writ petition. The High Court held that there was no departmental enquiry initiated against the respondent and neither recourse of Article 351A of UP Civil Services Regulation was resorted.
The learned judge directed that the remaining amount of gratuity and pension of the respondent to be released at an interest rate of 10% p.a. on the sum withheld by the state authority. This issue of high interest was finally challenged in the Supreme Court.
ISSUES RAISED BEFORE THE COURT
- Whether the petitioner was right to get restoration of his pension amount?
- Whether the interest rate of 10% p.a. granted by High Court was justified or not?
ARGUMENTS FROM THE APPELLANT SIDE
- Learned Counsel for the appellant, submitted that the High Court erred in awarding interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the sum due to the respondent.
- Learned Counsel further submitted that the suit was filed by the respondent in 2012 and that it was withdrawn.
Constitution of India.
- Article 21. Protection of life and personal liberty:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
- Article 300 A. Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law:
No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.
UP Civil Service Regulations Act.
- Article 351-A.
The Governor reserves to himself the right of withholding or withdrawing a pension or any part of it, whether permanently or for a specified period and the right of ordering the recovery from a pension of the whole or part of any pecuniary loss caused to Government, if the pensioner is found in departmental or judicial proceedings to have been guilty of grave misconduct, or to have caused pecuniary loss to Government by misconduct or negligence, during his service, including service rendered on re-employment after retirement.
such departmental proceedings, if not instituted while the officer was on duty either before retirement or during re-employment Shall not be instituted with the sanction of the Governor, shall be in respect of event which took place not more than four years before the institution of such proceedings, and shall be conducted by such authority and in such place or places as the Governor may direct and in accordance with the procedure applicable to proceedings on which an order of dismissal from service may be made.
Judicial proceedings, if not instituted while the officer was on duty either before retirement or during re-employment, shall have been instituted in accordance with sub-clause (ii) of clause (a), and the Public Service Commission, U.P., shall be consulted before final orders are passed.
Explanation For the purposes of this article departmental proceedings shall be deemed to have been instituted when the charges framed against the pensioner are issued to him, or, if the officer has been placed under suspension from an earlier date, on such date; and judicial proceedings shall be deemed to have been instituted.
After considering all the facts and circumstances, the honourable court held that the order passed by the High Court in respect of interest directed to be paid on the amount of withheld gratuity and pension will be modified by this order. Further, the court directed that the appellant shall pay interest at the rate of 6% per annum on the unpaid amount of pension from the date it had fallen due. It is also directed to pay interest at the rate of 8% per annum on the unpaid amount of gratuity from the date of retirement of the employee.
In a nut shell, it can be concluded that pension is an inseparable part of deferred wage as a matter of right. It is an obligation on the State to promote economic interests and protect the dignified life of its citizens. The above case a has clearly shown that State acted on it self without having a proper enquiry or any justification. The high time has now come for the Government to create a separate cell and device a method to provide personal services of providing financial securities at the door step to the old aged people, retired personal so that each and every pension deserving citizen lives their old life post their service without any financial stress in our country.
 Author is 3rd semester student of The ICFAI University, Dehradun.
 Employees are allowed to accumulate leaves and exchange them for cash on their retirement.
 LD-VC-CW-665 OF 2020.
 See Constitution of India, Art-300 A.
 See Constitution of India, Art-21.
 Civil Suit No. 338 of 2012.
 See UP Civil Service Regulations, Art- 351A.