Punjab and Haryana High Court: Anil Kshetarpal, J., expressed concern over lethargic attitude of the State towards granting pensionary benefits to the petitioner, the Court stated, “This court is sad to observe that the officials have lost all the compassion.”
The petitioner lost her son on 26-11-2016, who, at the time of his death was working as Rural Medical Officer with the State of Punjab. The widow and children of the deceased shifted to Canada and they had already submitted an affidavit giving ‘No Objection’ to the authorities to release of pensionary benefits exclusively to the petitioner, who was mother of the deceased. The instant petition had been filed for issuance of a writ of mandamus to direct the official respondents to release pensionary and other service benefits exclusively to the petitioner. It was submitted that the amount of gratuity with regard to the deceased had also not been released.
Counsel for the respondent, Ambika Bedi, argued that the widow of the deceased was required to sign the necessary papers only then the pensionary and other pending benefits could be released, since the widow did not contact the respondent with necessary papers, the department did not release the amount. It was further pointed out by the respondent that approximately a sum of 3,08,000 rupees had been released to the petitioner towards arrears of medical reimbursement, salary, leave encashment and ex-gratia. Also, the process for releasing the payment on account of Contributory Provident Fund and Family Pension and whatever amount was legally due to the petitioner had already been initiated and the same would be completed within one month.
The Court directed the respondent to address the grievances of the petitioner expeditiously. While expressing concerns over unjustified delay in the grant of pensionary benefits to the petitioner the Court said, “It is unfortunate that the dependents/heirs of an Ex-employee, who died in harness, are being made to run from pillar to post. It is, thus, apparent that the State of Punjab has to put its house in order lest the Court compelled to take a serious view of the matter. It is hoped that this order would serve as a wake up call for the officers.” [Balbir Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 2263, decided on 21-12-2020]