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Give employee pension: HC to govt

Cites SC order saying pension is employee’s property, can’t be withheld without genuine reasons

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Give employee pension: HC to govt
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The Gujarat High Court has directed the state government to release the pension of an employee who had served the state since 1979 and retired on May 31, 2016 on reaching superannuation.

The single bench Justice SG Shah in an interim order on Monday has directed the state government to release pension and post retirement benefits to Deepak Bhatt, who had joined state's health department as a sanitary inspector, within four weeks from the order.

It also ordered the state that out of the total amount payable to Bhatt, it can deduct Rs 9,42,270 towards the disputed amount and the same should be deposited with the high court.

The Court, in its interim order, also made it clear that the petitioner's claim for higher interest rate on pension and retirement benefit would remain in force and that the government would be liable to pay him with a higher interest rate, whenever the petition is decided.

Bhatt had approached the court in April 2017 with a prayer to direct the state to release his pension and retirement benefits withheld since June 2016. The state government's stand is that the petitioner was paid higher pay grade on completion of nine years and in the year 1994 through an order asked the petitioner to repay the amount of Rs 9,42,270 in one go. The state had also threatened that pension amount will be finalised only if this amount is repaid.

Court has sought service record of the employee along with the detailed reply before November 28, when the matter is kept for further hearing.

Citing Supreme Court order that says, "Pension is the property of an employee, which he has earned. And, therefore, it can't be withheld by such an administrative order and that too without giving reasonable opportunity and reasons to the retiree," the high court observed that the state should note that there is no case, either judicial or departmental inquiry, pending against the petitioner.

Hence recovery of amount in the name of excess amount paid to him during service is arbitrary, unwarranted and resulting into material irregularities, it said.

PAY DISPUTE

  • Bhatt had approached the court in April 2017 with a prayer to direct the state to release his pension and retirement benefits withheld since June 2016.
     
  • The state’s stand is that petitioner was paid higher pay on completion of nine years, and in the year 1994 through an order, asked him to repay the amount of Rs 9,42,270 in one go.
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