Landmark Judgment on Retiral Benefits for Government Employee

In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment on the entitlement to retiral benefits for a government employee. The case revolved around the reexamination of the respondent’s claim for retiral benefits after joining another service without approval from the State Government. The judgment sheds light on the complexities of retiral benefits and the implications of joining alternate services while still being employed by the government.

Facts

  • The appellant observed that the respondent joined another service in the State of Chhattisgarh without approval from the State Government of UP.
  • The respondent sought payment of gratuity, pension, and leave encashment from the Government of UP after retiring from CIMS.
  • The appellant held that the respondent, after joining another service, is not entitled to retiral benefits upon attaining superannuation.
  • The respondent, while working as a Lecturer at Motilal Nehru Medical College, sought a no-objection certificate to apply for a position at CIMS.
  • The respondent applied for earned leave citing personal reasons, which was approved by the appellants until 22.08.2004.
  • The respondent sent a leave application for two years without pay to join CIMS as a Reader, and later applied for voluntary retirement citing personal reasons.
  • The High Court directed the Principal Secretary to explain why the respondent’s claim was rejected despite a previous judgment.
  • The respondent’s writ petition was allowed by the High Court, but the appellants rejected the request for retiral benefits citing lack of approval and leave sanctions.
  • The respondent repeatedly applied for a no-objection certificate to work at CIMS.
  • The appellant rejected the respondent’s application for voluntary retirement and retiral benefits while the writ petition was pending.
  • The appellants filed an appeal against the judgment dated 24.08.2018, contending that the respondent is not entitled to retiral dues from the appellant-State of UP.
  • The appellant-State argued that the respondent never returned to resume her service with them after joining CIMS in Chhattisgarh.
  • Fundamental Rules 67-68 do not allow leave to be claimed as a right, and the appellants considered the case as abandonment of service.
  • The High Court directed the State to reexamine the case of the respondent based on the observations in the judgment dated 24.08.2018.
  • Contempt proceedings were initiated by the respondent against the officers of the appellant-State for disobedience of the High Court’s judgment.
  • The High Court observed that the order dated 04.01.2019 should not have been passed as the request for voluntary retirement had already been rejected in a previous judgment.
  • The matter was remitted to the Principal Secretary to reexamine and pass fresh orders in accordance with law.
  • The High Court entertained the contempt petition and the appellants passed a speaking order rejecting the claim of the respondent.
  • An appeal was filed by the appellants against the judgment dated 24.08.2018, wherein the High Court directed the appellants to pass a fresh order regarding retiral benefits for the respondent.

Also Read: Judgment Review: Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Capital Punishment Appeal

Arguments

  • The respondent, aged 65, had completed 22 years of service with the appellant-State.
  • She sought permission to join service in CIMS, Chhattisgarh to be with her daughter.
  • The appellant superannuated the respondent with effect from 30.09.2006.
  • The respondent had joined CIMS in June 2004 as per appointment letter issued on 22.04.2004.
  • The High Court directed authorities to consider the respondent’s case afresh, which was done on 04.01.2019.
  • The High Court’s direction for the Principal Secretary’s personal appearance was criticized as contrary to settled principles.
  • The respondent had the leave to her credit
  • It is not a case of ‘absence’ or ‘overstay’
  • High Court directed the appellants to sanction and pay all the retiral benefits
  • The impugned orders do not warrant interference

Also Read: The Ruias v. MHL: Landmark Supreme Court Judgement

Analysis

  • High Court not justified in putting restrictions on appellants while directing State Government to pass fresh orders.
  • Orders passed by officers generally presumed to be in good faith unless proved otherwise.
  • High Court did not consider the conduct of the respondent who joined CIMS while leave application was pending.
  • High Court erred in directing Principal Secretary to appear and explain the order dated 04.01.2019.
  • Summons to officers for court proceedings affect public at large as held in Shri N.K. Janu v. Lakshmi Chandra case.
  • Summoning officers to court is not proper and hinders the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary.
  • If an order is deemed illegal, the Courts have the authority to overturn it and issue appropriate directions based on the circumstances of the case.
  • This principle is directly applicable to the current case.
  • The judiciary has the power to set aside any unlawful order and provide necessary guidance as needed.

Also Read: Judgement on Arbitrator Appointment Dispute: Clauses 64(3)(a)(ii) and 64(3)(b)

Decision

  • The High Court’s order dated 15.03.2019 in Writ A. No.3884 of 2019 is set aside and the appeal in SLP(C) No.10542 of 2019 is allowed.
  • The High Court was deemed wrong in directing the presence of Principal Secretary to explain the reasons for passing the order dated 04.01.2019.
  • The order dated 24.08.2018 passed by the High Court in Writ-A No.65084 of 2015 is not sustainable and is set aside.
  • The Principal Secretary passed a speaking order on 04.01.2019 after being directed to do so in Writ-A No.65084 of 2015.
  • The High Court should proceed with Writ-A No.3884 of 2019 in accordance with law and without being influenced by previous findings.

Case Title: THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH Vs. SUDARSHANA CHATTERJEE

Case Number: C.A. No.-009300-009300 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *