Jharkhand High Court: Anubha Rawat Choudhary, J., while disposing of the instant petition filed against the order passed by the State and the Road Construction Department cancelling the benefits granted under Assured Career Progression (‘ACP') held that if the petitioner is found entitled to any benefit under ACP, then the State will ensure that the monetary benefit of the same is also remitted to the petitioner.
The petitioner was an employee of the Road Construction Department and retired in the year 2014. Initially he was appointed to the post of Peon and then promoted to the post of correspondence clerk. He was granted 1st ACP on 09-08-1999 and the 2nd ACP on 06-12-2002 but the petitioner did not pass the required departmental examination. At the time of examination, the petitioner had not attained the age of 50 which was a pre- requisite for granting exemption from passing the departmental examination.
In a memo dated 10-02-2012, it was mentioned that the petitioner has reached his superannuation and has a clear service record therefore, a recommendation is made for his exemption from passing the departmental examination.
The counsel for the petitioner contends that the ACP benefits granted to the petitioner in the year 2002 were cancelled 3 years after the date of superannuation and 15 years from the date of grant of the said benefits.
The counsel for the petitioner contended that no opportunity was given to the petitioner to be heard before cancelling the ACP benefits.
Further the counsel contended to immediately release the entire post retiral benefit including gratuity and arrears of pension due since August 2014 which was arbitrarily withheld on account of cancellation of ACP benefits granted to the petitioner in the year 2002.
The counsel for the respondent contended that the petitioner has already been paid substantial retirement benefit.
The counsel for the respondent further contended that the letter was only a recommendation which was made while the petitioner was still in service.
Observation and Analysis:
The Court stated that the promotion given in the year 1978 to the post of correspondence clerk was not cancelled. A recommendation was made at a later stage for granting exemption to the petitioner from passing the required departmental examination, but the outcome of such recommendation was not brought on record by either party.
Further, the Court directed the petitioner to file a representation before the Superintending Engineer, Road Construction Department who will look into the matter and pass appropriate order, considering the various circulars/ guidelines of the Government regarding grant of exemption from passing the departmental examination.
The Court also held that if the petitioner is found entitled to any benefit arising out of any order which will be passed pursuant to this order, then the State will take steps to ensure that the monetary benefit of the same is also remitted to the petitioner within a period of three months from the date of passing of the reasoned order.
[Lodo Oraon v. State of Jharkhand, 2022 SCC OnLine Jhar 845, decided on 12-07-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Prem Pujari Roy, Advocate, for the Petitioner;
Mrs. Darshana Poddar Mishra, A.A.G.-I, Advocates, for the Respondents.