Punjab and Haryana High Court: Harsimran Singh Sethi, J. allowed the petition on the settled principle of law that financial difficulty cannot be a valid ground to withhold the retirement benefits.
A writ petition was made against the grievance which was raised by the petitioner that she retired on attaining the age of the superannuation while working as Inspector from Municipal Council and all benefits which she was entitled upon were not released immediately.
The facts of the case were that after the retirement of the petitioner the gratuity and leave encashment was not paid to her immediately. A case was filed by the petitioner and thus order for the release of benefit was passed against the respondent. In pursuance of the order passed by the court, the respondent admitted that due to paucity of the fund, all the benefit could not be released and after the order respondent decided to pay the amount which was still pending towards the petitioner and was agreed to be paid in six monthly installments. The petitioner, therefore, submits that as the dues of the petitioner were released by the respondent after 5 years of her retirement she was entitled to the interest on the said delayed payments. Hence, this application.
High Court opined after discussing the judgment of Ram Karan v. Pepsu Road Transport Corpn., 2005(3) PLR 580, in which it was held that In case a pensioner is not even paid the genuine dues like the medical reimbursement, he is not expected to enjoy the life nor will he feel secure. The Constitution of India contains a large number of rights which guarantee human rights. It recognizes the right of every citizen to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family members, which also includes the improvement of living conditions besides providing adequate food, clothing and housing. A welfare State has to take all appropriate steps to ensure the realization of these rights. Court also discussed the case of A.S. Randhawa v. State of Punjab, 1997 (3) SCT 468, in which the court held that if the State commits any default in the performance of its duty thereby denying to the retiree the benefit of the immediate use of the money, there is no gainsaying the fact that he gets a right to be compensated and, in our opinion, the only way to compensate him is to pay him interest for the period of delay on the amount as was due to him on the date of his retirement.” Thus it was held that petitioner is held entitled for interest at 9% per annum from the date the amount became due till the same were to be released in her favor.[Vinod Kumari Sharma v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 866, decided on 28-05-2019]