Period of service completed prior to regularisation, would be counted towards pensionary benefits

Gujarat High Court: A petition filed by the aggrieved under Articles 14, 16 and 226 of the Constitution, for denial of pensionary benefits was heard by the Bench of Mohinder Pal, J.

The petitioners were unskilled labourers on daily wage contract under Deesa Irrigation Division in the year 1972. According to a circular issued by the Government of Gujarat, the unskilled labourers were to complete 5 years of service and after completion of 5 years of regular service and completion of 240 days in each year, only then they would be put to a fixed pay-scale.

The crucial question before the Court was whether the period of service completed prior to regularization, would be counted towards pensionary benefits.

Certainly, the unskilled labourers had completed their 5 years of service and were subsequently put up on fixed-pay scale, after which they were retired in the year 2011. The contention put up against the petitioner for denial of pensionary benefits was that the petitioners did not complete service of 10 years of service after they were made permanent.

The Court was of the considered opinion that the period spent by the petitioners from 1998 till 2003, when they were kept on fixed pay is required to be counted while calculating the total length of service of the petitioners, as the petitioners had completed 5 years of continuous service and 240 days in each financial year in the year 1998, after which they were put on a fixed pay-scale. Therefore, the petitioners are well entitled to receive the pensionary benefits from 1998 and the arrears were directed to be paid by the respondents with 9% interest till the actual payment is made. [Galabji Navaji Thakor v. State of Gujarat, 2018 SCC OnLine Guj 71, decided on 18-01-2018]

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