Allahabad High Court: A Full Bench of Pankaj Mithal, Suneet Kumar and Rohit Ranjan Agarwal, JJ. dismissed a batch of writ petitions seeking entitlement to receive death-cum-retirement gratuity while judicial proceedings were pending.

The petitioners were government employees (Lekhpal/Police Officials), who had retired on attaining the age of superannuation, and by the impugned orders, their full pension and gratuity had been withheld due to pending judicial proceedings against them. The petitioners had sought quashing of the impugned orders declining full pension and gratuity during pendency of the judicial proceedings and further sought an additional direction to the respondent authority to release/pay full pension and gratuity.

Suneet Kumar, J. after hearing the submissions of the learned counsels for the petitioners and respondents, stated his judgment. He held that pendency of disciplinary/judicial proceedings on the date of retirement or instituted after retirement, provisional pension equal to maximum pension as mandated under Article 919A of the Civil Service Regulations, may be sanctioned to the government servant for the period unto conclusion of the proceedings. (Article 351AA/ Article 919A (1)/(2)) but no gratuity was payable to the government servant during the pendency of disciplinary/judicial proceedings by Administrative Tribunal, until the conclusion of the proceedings and orders being passed thereon by the competent authority under Article 919 A(3).

Reliance was placed on State of U.P. v. Jai Prakash, 2014 (1) ADJ 207 which held that government servant was not entitled to gratuity but to a provisional pension during the pendency of proceedings/enquiry.

Pankaj Mithal, J. also came to the same conclusion and opined that pension of a government servant could be withheld or withdrawn, if he was convicted in a crime or was found guilty of misconduct, but if he was neither convicted nor found guilty of misconduct but a departmental or judicial proceedings or any enquiry by the Administrative Tribunal was pending against him at the time of his retirement or is likely to be instituted, he would be entitled to provisional pension in accordance with Regulation 919A. He emphasized on the sub-clause 3 of Regulation 919-A which laid down that no death cum retirement gratuity shall be paid to the government servant until the conclusion of the departmental or judicial proceedings or the enquiry by the Administrative tribunal and issue of the final order thereon.

Thus, in view of aforesaid facts and authorities, the Court unanimously held that a government employee was not entitled to death cum retirement gratuity unless the conclusion of the departmental proceedings or the enquiry by the Administrative Tribunal or judicial proceedings which included both civil and criminal and the reference to the Full Bench accordingly was answered.[Shivagopal v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2239, decided on 08-05-2019]

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