Recovery of excess payment from a retired employee held impermissible

Allahabad High Court: A writ petition filed by a retired employee against the order of recovery of certain amount, was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Sudhir Agarwal, J.

The petitioner was a retired employee of Nagar Palika. He assailed the order passed by the respondent whereunder the petitioner was called upon to return the excess amount paid to him during the period when he was in service. The petitioner contended that she was not at fault, the said amount was paid by respondent’s own mistake. It was not a case of misrepresentation or fraud. Therefore, she prayed that the said order be set aside.

The High Court found favor with the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner. The Court relied on the Apex Court decision in State of Punjab v. Rafiq Masih, (2014) 8 SCC 883, wherein following situations were enumerated where no such recovery as was contemplated in this case was permissible:

* Recovery from employees belonging to class 3 or class 4 service.

* Recovery from retired employees or from employees who are to retire within one year of passing of recovery order.

* Recovery from employees when the excess payment had been made for more than 5 years.

* Recovery in cases where the employee was wrongly required to discharge the duties of a higher post.

* Any other case where the Court thinks it is not permissible to do so.

The Court held that the instant case fell under point 3 and 4 above. The excess payment was not made due to petitioner’s fault. In such a situation, it was not equitible to recover such amount from the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the impugned order was quashed. [Chandra Kala Saxena v. Nagar Palika Parishad, Shahjahanpur,  2018 SCC OnLine All 537, dated 03-05-2018]

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