CAT | Post-retirement pensionary benefits cannot be withheld by organisation on account of failure on its part in timely verification of employee’s service records

Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam: The Coram of Bidisha Banerjee (Judicial Member) and Nandita Chatterjee (Administrative Member) allowed the application granting desired relief to the ailing applicant.

The applicant has filed the present application seeking the disbursement of all the pensionary benefits with all consequential and incidental benefits due to him since his retirement and also in the future. The facts of the case are such that the applicant retired from the post of a police constable on 28-02-2017. He completed all the requisite formalities for disbursement of his post-retirement benefits. However, later he was informed that his service and office records were found to be incomplete and that his service register has been forwarded for verification meanwhile a recommendation for a provisional pension was made. Even after multiple representations for speedy disposal of all pensionary benefits, the same hasn’t been done by the respondent. Currently, the applicant is only drawing a provisional pension which is peanuts compared to what his actual monthly pension should be. Benefits to the tune of approximately Rs 30 lakhs are still due towards him from his employer department. The applicant has alleged that the delay in disbursement of full pension and terminal benefits is not due to the fault of the applicant but due to the laxity and callousness of the concerned higher officers. The applicant contends that he cannot be penalised for his senior’s fault. The applicant is a heart patient and he has landed in a tight spot both economically and mentally.

The applicant had earlier filed OA No. 56 of 2018 before this tribunal for a direction to the respondents to disburse the balance retirement benefits and balance pensionary benefits and the tribunal had disposed of the above OA by directing the respondents to consider his representation and dispose of the same by a speaking order within a period of two months. The respondent has still not initiated any steps to release the full pension.

Counsel for the respondent, S. Manu has submitted a detailed reply contending that the applicant is not entitled to receive the benefits prayed for. Upon verification of the service records, several discrepancies were revealed which indicated that the applicant used to habitually overstay his leave on several occasions without the permission of the competent authority and subsequently he was warned on several occasions. It is contended that there’s no deliberate delay on part of the respondents in sanctioning the pension. The applicant’s leave account is incomplete and there is a break in his service. Pensionary benefits can only be settled once the process of verifying the service record of the applicant is complete.

On careful perusal of the facts, circumstances and the arguments advanced this tribunal observed that it is evident that there is no serious dispute preventing the disbursement of full pension to the applicant. The applicant is entitled to receive his post-retirement benefits without any further delay.  The delay has been caused due to the actions of the department which failed to collect the details of applicant’s leave and period of overstay. More than two years have passed since his retirement and only a meager pension has been paid to him in this duration.

The tribunal finds no dispute regarding applicant’s eligibility of pension and the respondents have been directed to complete all the document-related formalities within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and pass necessary orders releasing the pensionary benefits entitled to the applicant. In the event of failure, the respondents will be liable to pay interest @ 12% per annum for the delay in granting the pensionary benefits to the applicant.

In view of the above, the present application has been allowed by the tribunal in applicant’s favour. [K. Koya v. Superintendent of Police, 2020 SCC OnLine CAT 333, decided on 07-09-2020]

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