New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court has said that pension is succour for the post-retirement period and it is not a bounty payable at will, but a social welfare measure as a post-retirement entitlement to maintain the dignity of the employee.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose said: “We begin by, once again, emphasising that the pensionary provisions must be given a liberal construction as a social welfare measure. This does not imply that something can be given contrary to rules, but the very basis for grant of such pension must be kept in mind, i.e., to facilitate a retired Government employee to live with dignity in his winter of life.” The top court insisted that retirement benefit should not be unreasonably denied to an employee, more so on technicalities.
V Sukumaran had moved the top court seeking relief, as he had not received pensionary benefits from the Department of Fisheries, Kerala, where he joined as a Casual Labour Roll (CLR) worker in July 1976 and worked till November 1983, rendering a service close to seven and half years. Later, he joined as lower division clerk in the Revenue Department and retired in December 2008. He moved the High Court seeking pension benefits from the Department of Fisheries, but his petition was dismissed. Then, he moved the top court.
“The appellant has been claiming his entitlement for the last almost 13 years but unsuccessfully, despite having worked with Government departments in various capacities for about 32 years”, noted the top court setting aside the High Court order.
The bench ruled that benefit of the service rendered as casual labour is liable to be counted to determine pensionary benefits at par with other CLR workers, and directed the state government to remit the arrears within 8 weeks.
“We also find that the rejection of the recommendation of the Fisheries Department, respondent No. 2, by respondent No. 1 (Kerala government) was consequently improper and unsustainable,” said the top court.
The bench noted, “Rule 13 of the Service Rules would possibly come to the aid of the rationale we seek to adopt as on absorption in the establishment, such persons are given the benefit of counting 50 per cent of their earlier work service prior to absorption for the purposes of pension.”