Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: In the present writ petitions, petitioners who are retired employees of Respondent- Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Womens University (‘University’) seek payment for their pensionary benefits which are not being paid as per the 7th Pay Commission. The Division Bench of Nitin Jamdar and M.M. Sathaye, JJ., directed the University to commence payment of pensionary benefits to petitioners including dearness allowance as per 7th Pay Commission from 1-7-2024 onwards.

In the present case, 7th Pay Commission was applicable to the University, but the pensionary benefits as per the same were not being paid to the petitioners, instead benefits as per the 6th Pay Ccommission were being paid which led to grievances as there was a substantial difference between 6th and 7th Pay Commission pension.

The University submitted that it would pay the pension as per 7th Pay Commission after sufficient corpus was generated which it expected not before June 2025. The Court found that this stand was not reasonable as the University had a history of not paying its employees on time and the functioning of the University could not be at the cost of its employees.

The Court noted that when 7th Pay Commision was applicable to the University in September 2022, with effect from 1-1-2016, again the University was not paying as per the revised scale. The Court stated that when 7th Pay Commission was made applicable, the University ought to have started securing funds, and creating of corpus but these efforts were not made. The Court relied on Mahatama Gandhi Mission v. Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, (2017) 4 SCC 449 where it was observed that even if grant was not received, it was for the institution to find innovative ways to raise funds to discharge their liability regarding payment under revised pay commission.

The Court observed that a University, in respect of its own employees, could not refuse to consider paying any amount till one year, i.e., till June 2025 and thus, the Court passed an interim order directing the University to commence payment of pensionary benefits including dearness allowance as per 7th Pay Commission from 1-7-2024 onwards.

The Court ordered that:

  • 33% of the arrears as on date shall be paid to the petitioners within three months and next 33% of the arrears shall be paid within three months thereafter and the remaining 34% of the arrears shall be paid within three months further thereafter.

  • If the first installment of 33% arrears was not paid within the next three months, the facility of the next two installments would be withdrawn, and entire pending arrears will become payable within six months from the date of this order.

The Court also granted liberty to the petitioners to take out interim application for necessary orders, if there was any default.

[Prachi P. Kulkarni v. State of Maharashtra, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 1351, order dated 9-5-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner/s: Advocate Ajit Kenjale i/b. Advocate Sai Rajendra Kadam

For the Respondent/s; Advocate Disha Vardhan, AGP Milind More, AGP Najia Sheikh, AGP Himanshu Takke, AGP Swaraj Gupte, AGP Manish Upadhye

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