Rajasthan High Court: Sanjeev Prakash Sharma, J., allowed a writ petition which was filed aggrieved by an impugned order which dealt with the issue of allotment of ex-gratia amount.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Anoop Dhand submitted that petitioner’s husband was holding the post of Assistant Sub- Inspector and while undergoing Promotion Cadre Course (PCC) for which he had been sent by his superiors, suffered severe heart attack and expired. He further submitted that the petitioner’s husband died while on duty, she was entitled to receive ex-gratia amount of Rs 20 lac as per Rule 75(2)(b) of the Rajasthan Pension Rules, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as “the Rules of 1996”) as well as special pensionary award in terms of Rules 109, 110 & 111 of the Rules of 1996.

Counsel for the respondent, Mr Pushpendra Singh Naruka for Mr Rupin Kala, GC submitted that petitioner’s husband had expired after the amendment was introduced in Rules 109, 110 & 111 of the Rules of 1996 vide notification dated 8-9-2015 and that the petitioner’s case would be now covered only as per the amended Rules for the purpose of grant of special pensionary award.

The Court perused Rule 75(2)(b) of the unamended Rules of 1996 and amended Rules 109, 110 & 111 of the Rules of 1996 and derived that Rule 109(i)(a) mentions circumstances which police personnel would be entitled for ex gratia payment which was that a police personnel who dies while on duty or dies due to act of violence by terrorists or dacoits or criminals or anti-social elements or dies in bomb blasts in public places or in course of conformation with the mob or crowd during agitation, riot or disturbance or due to the circumstances then the benefit of ex gratia would be released.

The Court further explained that the interpretation of rule has to be with the purpose sought to be made by the rule making authority. The instances mentioned in Rule 109(i) are illustrative and there can be circumstances of different nature where a person may die while on duty, duty has already been defined under the Rajasthan Service Rules. The Court was of the opinion that according to the interpretation the Rule has to be read in favour of the petitioner and therefore, the petitioner would be entitled to receive special pensionary award in terms of Rule 109 of the Rules of 1996 and also receive ex gratia amount in terms of Rule 75(2).

The Court further noted that Rule 75(2) of the Rules of 1996 mentions grant of Rs.20 lacs as ex-gratia on account of unfortunate death of an official. Thus, any death which may occur while in service would result in granting of ex-gratia amount of Rs.20 lac as on today. However, so far as the present case is concerned, it is to be governed by the Rule which was existing prior to 2019 but thereto under Rule 75(2), the case falls and the petitioner is, therefore, entitled to receive ex gratia amount of Rs.20 lac as well as special pensionary award on account of death caused to her husband while on duty relying on the case decided in Rameshwari Devi v. State of Rajasthan, SBCWP No.2072 of 2015, dated 31-05-2017.

The Court allowed the petition and directed to release the amount alongwith interest @ 6% per annum from the date of the death of the petitioner’s husband.[Mewa Devi v. State of Rajasthan, S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 3538 of 2018, decided on 15-01-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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