Entitlement to Pension: The Case of Shree Lal Meena and LIC

The Supreme Court of India addressed the issue of entitlement to pension under the LIC Pension Rules in a case involving Shree Lal Meena and LIC. The dispute centered around pensionary benefits and the distinction between resignation and voluntary retirement. The judgement clarified critical aspects of pension rights and highlighted the importance of interpreting employment terms accurately. #LegalCase #SupremeCourt #PensionRights #Judiciary


  • Justice Vikramajit Sen, speaking for a two-judge Bench, addressed the issue of entitlement to pension under the LIC Pension Rules.
  • The Single Judge of the High Court of Delhi upheld the decision granting pensionary benefits to the first respondent, interpreting the resignation as voluntary retirement.
  • The Central Government later introduced the LIC (Employees) Pension Rules in 1995, allowing for voluntary retirement after twenty years of service.
  • In the Asger Ibrahim Amin case, the Court distinguished between resignation and voluntary retirement, emphasizing the completion of service years.
  • The judgement directed the appellant to pay pension benefits based on the determination of ‘voluntary retirement’ rather than ‘resignation’.
  • The appellant denied pensionary benefits to the first respondent on the grounds of resignation and not completing twenty years of service.
  • The resignation was tendered on 7 July 1990 and accepted by the appellant on 10 July 1990.
  • The first respondent was appointed as a daily rated mazdoor on 9 July 1968 and later regularised as a Peon on 22 December 1971.

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  • The issue of whether the first respondent forfeited his past service by resigning must be addressed
  • This question needs to be resolved at the outset

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  • The term ‘resignation’ used by the first respondent was found to be misleading upon independent determination of the facts of the case.
  • The Single Judge concluded that the first respondent had actually ‘voluntarily resigned’ from service and did not forfeit his past service disentitling him from pension.
  • The correctness of the approach in Asger Ibrahim Amin was questioned in Senior Divisional Manager, LIC v Shree Lal Meena and referred to a larger Bench for consideration.

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  • Shree Lal Meena I clarified the distinction between resignation and voluntary retirement.
  • Shree Lal Meena II overruled the view taken in Asger Ibrahim Amin.
  • The court in Shree Lal Meena II emphasized that beneficial construction cannot contradict express provisions.
  • The provision for voluntary retirement under the LIC Pension Rules was held not to apply retrospectively by implication.
  • Justice Dipak Mishra in Shree Lal Meena I stated that Rule 31 on pension for voluntary retirement does not have retrospective application.
  • The High Court of Delhi relied on Asger Ibrahim Amin to decide in favor of entitlement to pensionary benefits for the first respondent.
  • The distinction between resignation and voluntary retirement is crucial as they have different legal consequences and implications.
  • The court cannot reclassify resignation as voluntary retirement as it would render certain rules ineffective and blur the distinction between the two concepts.
  • The denial of voluntary retirement does not change the legal consequences of resignation.
  • The case involved a resignation on 7 July 1990, and even if voluntary retirement was denied earlier, the first respondent did not challenge it but proceeded to resign.
  • The determination of whether an employee resigned or retired should be made based on the actual action taken, not just the number of years of service completed.
  • The writ petition was filed 13 years after the denial of voluntary retirement and subsequent resignation.
  • The denial of voluntary retirement cannot be used to claim pension benefits as the respondent had already resigned.
  • The issue of whether the respondent served twenty years is not relevant to the current dispute.


  • First respondent served for twenty years
  • Under Rule 26 of the CCS Pension Rules, past service is forfeited upon resignation
  • First respondent not entitled to pensionary benefits
  • Appeal allowed and impugned order set aside


Case Number: C.A. No.-009076-009076 / 2019

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