Punjab and Haryana High Court:The Division Bench of Ravi Shanker Jha, CJ. and Arun Palli, J., upheld the impugned order of Single Judge whereby, the Single Judge had held that the appellant is not entitled to pensionary benefits as he has resigned from service.
The petitioner joined the services of Punjab National Bank in the year 1963 and due to personal reasons, after rendering 25 years of service; he submitted his resignation on 05-01-1988, which was accepted belatedly by the bank on 14-10-1991 with effect from 05-02-1988. Petitioner requested the Bank to release his retiral benefits including gratuity, provident fund, leave encashment, sick leave salary and arrears of increments. The claim of the petitioner had been resisted by the Bank in view of Regulation 22(1) of the Punjab National Bank(Employees’)Pension Regulations, 1995, Which is extracted herein below:-
“22. Forfeiture of service–(1) Resignation or dismissal or removal or termination of an employee from service of the Bank shall entail forfeiture of his entire past service and consequently shall not qualify for pensionary benefits.”
The Single Judge while considering the issue of pension relied on the judgment of Supreme Court rendered in Senior Divisional Manager, Life Insurance Corporation of India v.. Shree Lal Meena, (2019) 4 SCC 479, and Uco Bank v. Sanwar Mal, 2004(4) SCC 412, wherein, the Court had held that, In a self financing scheme, a separate fund is earmarked as the Scheme is not based on budgetary support but on adequate contributions from the members of the fund. Retirement is allowed only on completion of qualifying service which is not there in the case of resignation. When such a retiree opts for self financing Pension Scheme, he brings in accumulated contribution earned by him after completing qualifying number of years of service under the Provident Fund Rules whereas a person who resigns may not have adequate credit balance to his provident fund account. Similarly, the pension payable to the beneficiaries under the Scheme would depend on income accruing on investments and unless there is adequate corpus, the Scheme may not be workable and, therefore, Regulation 22 prescribes a disqualification to dismissed employees and employees who have resigned.
On the basis of above-mentioned precedent, the Single Judge had held that there was no doubt that the petitioner had invited the forfeiture of pension by his own conduct and, therefore, no interference was called for by the Court to that extent. However, regarding the other claims, the Court observed that the same had been withheld by the Bank without any plausible explanation. Therefore, the Court had directed the Bank to make requisite calculations and give benefits of all the retiral benefits except pension, to the petitioner by reckoning his date of resignation as 14-10-1991. The petitioner was also granted interest at 8% per annum on the amount, which was found due and payable to him.
In the light of above, the Bench dismissed the appeal holding that it did not find any reason to interfere with the order passed by the Single Judge, as the Single Judge had already granted adequate relief to the appellant. [Kanwar Kesri Singh v. Punjab National Bank, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 2359, decided on 19-02-2020]