Allahabad HC directs Chief Secretary to issue circular to State Departments to expeditiously complete all formalities for releasing post retiral dues

“The respondents being “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, its officers are public functionaries. Under our Constitution, sovereignty vests in the people. Every limb of constitutional machinery, therefore, is obliged to be people oriented. Public authorities acting in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions oppressively are accountable for their behavior”

allahabad high court

Allahabad High Court: In a writ petition filed by Safai Karamchari for post retiral benefits including pension, Kshitij Shailendra, J. has directed the Executive Officer, Nagar Palika Parishad to take up the matter with utmost priority and take a decision on the admissibility of post retiral benefits payable to the petitioner, not later than 15-10-2023. Further, the Registrar General was directed to send a copy of this order to the Chief Secretary of the State Government, for the purposes of issuance of requisite circular to all the Departments under the control of the State Government to ensure that the directions issued by this Court in the case of Mukti Nath Rai v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1992 SCC OnLine All 162, be complied with in their true letter and spirit so that the State, its instrumentalities and common man may not indulge in unnecessarily litigation.

The petitioner was appointed on the post of Safai Karmchari on 01-10-1990 and though papers for regularization were forwarded in the year 1996, his services were regularized in 2008 and, after serving the municipality, he retired from his post after attaining the age of superannuation on 31-07-2020.The grievance of the petitioner is that post retiral benefits including pension have not been released in his favour despite certain applications moved by him.

The Court said that withholding of retiral benefits of retired employees for years together is not only illegal and arbitrary, but a sin if not an offence, since no law has declared so. The officials, who are still in service and are instrumental in such a delay causing harassment to the retired employee must however feel afraid of committing such a sin. It is morally and socially obnoxious. It is also against the concept of social and economic justice which is one of the founding pillars of our constitution.

As per the Court, the State is expected to perform in a more responsible and reasonable manner to not cause undue and avoidable harassment to the public at large and their ex-employees and legal heirs like the petitioner. Harassment of a common man by public authorities is socially abhorring and legally impressible. Crime and corruption thrive and prosper in society due to lack of public resistance. This is unfortunate that matters which require immediate attention are being allowed to linger on and remain unattended. No authority can allow itself to act in a manner which is arbitrary. Public administration no doubt involves a vast amount of administrative discretion which shields action of administrative authority but where it is found that the exercise of power is capricious or other than bona fide, it is the duty of the Court to take effective steps and rise to occasion, otherwise the confidence of the common man would shake. It is the responsibility of Court in such matters to immediately rescue such common man so that he may have the confidence that he is not helpless, but a bigger authority is there to take care of him and to restrain arbitrary and arrogant, unlawful inaction or illegal exercise of power on the part of the public functionaries. A public functionary cannot be permitted to act like a dictator causing harassment to a common man and when the person subject to harassment is his own employee.

After taking note of Mukti Nath Rai (supra), wherein the Court had issued general mandamus to all the Departments under the State Government to expeditiously complete all formalities for releasing the post retiral dues. The Court observed that the said general mandamus is not being obeyed by the departments and, therefore, this Court is flooded with hundreds and thousands of writ petitions claiming post retiral benefits.

[Ram Kumar v State of UP, 2023 SCC OnLine All 739, Order dated 22-08-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Petitioner: Advocate Harishchandra Dubey, Advocate Aaditya Dhar Dweevedi

Counsel for Respondent: Chief Standing Counsel Gautam Dubey

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