Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: The Bench of Aniruddha Bose, C.J. and B.B. Mangalmurti, J. dismissed a petition claiming arrears of pension, post retrial benefits with statutory and penal interest.

In the present case the appellant was appointed as Chairman and later was appointed as Junior Account Clerk in Rural Works Department. After rendering a long length of service, he superannuated as Accounts Clerk. The respondents settled his pensionary benefits by paying his Government Provident Fund, Group Insurance amount, part of gratuity as per 5th Pay Revision Commission (old scale) and part of leave encashment as per 5th Pay Revision Commission (old scale). The appellant alleged that the respondent did not pay arrear and benefits of first, second and third financial upgradation under Assured Carrier Progression and the arrear of pay revision, gratuity and part of leave encashment as recommended by 6th Pay Revision Commission. And that he stands on equal footing with one of his colleague, Saryug Prasad, as when he approached the Court, the same was allowed and the respondent was directed to pay benefits of financial upgradation. The respondents controverted the claim as appellant did not pass a departmental examination which is mandatory and as such the case of this appellant is not similar to the case of Saryug Prasad. Moreover, after attaining the age of 50, the appellant did not approach his controlling officer for issuance of an order of waiver while he was in service.

The Court after considering the material facts and the papers attached therewith held that it was clear that the appellant did not pass the mandatory test which was a prerequisite. The Court relied on the case of U.P. Jal Nigam v. Jaswant Singh, (2006) 11 SCC 464 where the Court held that “…When a person who is not vigilant of his rights and acquiesces with this situation, can his writ petition be heard after a couple of years on the ground that same relief should be granted to him as was granted to persons similarly situated who was vigilant about his rights and challenged his retirement…”.

In such view of the matter, the Court held that no relief could be granted to the appellant.[Birendra Kumar Sinha v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 432, decided on 23-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J., allowed the writ petition filed with a prayer of expeditious disposal on the grounds that delay was being caused by the respondent in examining the witnesses and this was coming in the way of consideration of petitioner’s superannuation that was to be done taking into account his age.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner was working in place of his brother who died in 1988. He continued to work without any complaint but suddenly in the year 1994, on a complaint, a full-fledged departmental enquiry was held by the Railways in which he was ultimately exonerated. It was submitted that thereafter again complaint was made in 2013, for the same charges and on the one hand departmental proceedings were initiated and on the other hand, a criminal case was also instituted. In this criminal case, it was submitted that it was the authorities who were not cooperating as witnesses are not being examined on behalf of the prosecution. This would cause a delay in the superannuation which was due within a few weeks as the criminal case would come in the way of consideration. The prayer was to expedite and conclude the trial at the earliest.

The Court allowed the petition finding prayer to be reasonable. [Hoti Rai v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 307, Order dated 08-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. dismissed a petition being devoid of merit and also finding a gross abuse of process of the Court.

In the pertinent case the petitioner after his retirement from the service, filed for correction of his date of birth in the official order. The petitioner originally worked under the administrative control of Beas Control Board (BCB) where at the time of joining he got recorded his date of birth as 15-04-1950. The cases referred to by the Court were Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Chhota Birsa Uranw, (2014) 12 SCC 570 and Union of India v. Harnam Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 162 wherein the issue was expressly dealt with. The petitioner in return produced his school leaving certificate, where the date of birth according to him was 15-4-1954 and not 15-4-1950.

The Court noted certain material facts:

– if the date of birth was 15-04-1954 and not 15-4-1950, as is being vehemently claimed by the petitioner, then it is impossible to fathom as to how his services could have been engaged by BCB at the age of about 15 years and he being minor at that time, under no circumstances, he could have been legally appointed.

-the petitioner, while in service of BCB, did not take any steps  whatsoever to get his date of birth corrected and the reason for the same is obvious because in case his service record would have been corrected on the basis of date of birth, then obviously his services were bound to be terminated being a minor.

-after attaining the age of superannuation on completion of 55 years, was granted three successive continuations and even during this period, he did not object to the date of birth.

The Court found this to be normally a fit case where the criminal prosecution should have been ordered against the petitioner for tampering with the official record, however, it refrained from passing any order to this effect taking into consideration that the petitioner has not only retired from service of the respondents, but is currently a senior citizen of about 65 years of age. Thus the petition was dismissed.[Dhani Ram v. Bhakra Beas Management Board, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 251, decided on 05-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Shivaji Pandey, J. dismissed a writ petition for transfer owing to financial inconvenience and remaining superannuation period of the petitioner.

In this case, the petitioner through his counsel Kedar Jha has challenged his transfer order wherein it was stated that the petitioner has worked at Darbhanga for a very long time and now the respondents want to uproot him and plant him at Patna thereby causing great financial inconvenience to him as the cost of living was higher which would cause difficulties in running his families. It was also added that as per policy of the authorities class-III employees shall be treated as District Cadre Level employees in order to erode their difficulties.

The Court was of the view that it does not stand to the reason as to why the petitioner has been sent to Patna and thus Darbhanga district was convenient for the petitioner. Further as more than a year was left for his superannuation and that allows him to be given the choice of his workplace. Accordingly, this writ petition was allowed.[Wasi Ahmad v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2269, decided on 21-12-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A full court, speaking through A.M. Khanwilkar, J. for himself and Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. D.Y.  Chandrachud, dismissed an appeal filed by the Kerala Assistant Public Prosecutors Association against the decision of Kerala High Court which rejected the claim of the members of appellant association to be treated at par with Public Prosecutors in the matter of age of superannuation.

The appellant association claimed that the Assistant Public Prosecutors (APPs) who are officers of law courts should be treated at parity with Public Prosecutors in the matter of retirement age. It is worth noting that age of retirement of APPs appointed before 31st March 2013, is 56 years, while retirement age of Public Prosecutors is 60 years. Their claim was rejected by the Kerala High Court and therefore appeal was filed before the Apex Court.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court cogitated over the rival submissions of the parties and found no infirmity in the conclusion arrived at by the High Court. The concerned APPs are appointed on the advice of Kerala Public Service Commission, after clearing competitive examination. Whereas, Public Prosecutors are appointed by the Government under Kerala Government Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) and Conduct of Cases Rules 1978. Their method of appointment and conditions of service are different. The APPs are like any other government servants while the Public Prosecutors, appointed for a period of three years, are not government employees and do not enjoy service benefits like APPs. The Court held that merely because they perform similar functions, the APPs cannot be considered at par with Public Prosecutors to make provision for same retirement age. However, APPs were given liberty to approach the State Government to represent the alternatives as suggested by them. [Kerala Assistant Public Prosecutors Association v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine 551, dated 17.05.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Order passed by the respondent, reducing the basic pay of the petitioner retrospectively after her superannuation, was set aside by a Division Bench comprising of B.R. Gavai and Bharati. H. Dangre, JJ.

The petitioner challenged the recovery of a certain sum on account of reduction in pay scale, ordered by the respondent. The petitioner was appointed as an Assistant Trained Teacher in 1970. She attained superannuation in 2010. The impugned order was passed in 2011 by the respondent on the ground that the basic pay was reduced as per the qualifications of the petitioner.

The High Court perused the record and found that the impugned order was passed after 18 months of petitioner’s retirement. The Court, referring to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Sayed Abdul Qadir v. State of Bihar, (2009) 3 SCC 475, held that such a recovery at the far end of the career of an employee or after his superannuation was not permissible in law. Similarly, the impugned order of the respondent reducing basic pay of the petitioner was also found unsustainable. Accordingly, the impugned order was set aside and the petition was allowed. [Grace George Pampoorickal v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1037, dated 20-4-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Court dismissed a service matter stating that the amended age of superannuation cannot be applicable to a retired employee even though the petition was pending during the term of his employment.

The petitioner was an employee of the U.P. Bhumi Sudhar Nigam. The Company proposed to extend the superannuation age from 58 years to 60 years. The petitioner superannuated during the pendency of the proposal. He challenged the retirement notice. Once the proposal was accepted and implemented, the petitioner filed for a writ of mandamus upon the respondents for the salary difference and pension along with a 12% interest from the date of his superannuation.

The Court did not accept the prayer of the petitioner stating that the amended operative age of retirement is applicable prospectively only after it is approved by the State Government. Before such approval, the Corporation does not have any jurisdiction to extend the age. If the employee has already superannuated before the amended rules have been approved, then the pre-amendment rules shall be applicable on him. The extension of age of superannuation shall not be retrospective in nature. [Shanker Dayal Singh v. State of U.P. 2017 SCC OnLine All 1898, decided on 03.07.2017]

Case BriefsHigh CourtsUniversities and Educational Institutions

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding upon 68 writ petitions filed by various Professors and Assistant Professors of the Panjab University and its affiliated colleges, all seeking the writ of Mandamus directing the Central Government and the Panjab University to raise the age of superannuation from service to 65 years, the Bench of Amol Rattan Singh, J., dismissed the petitions stating that the matter of raising the age of superannuation is solely a matter of executive policy.

In the instant petitions it was contended that the respondent University is sui generis and is Centrally governed, controlled and funded and therefore a Central University, and relied upon Section 2 (b) of the Panjab University Act, 1947 and Section 72 of the Punjab Re-Organization Act, 1966, Section 2(d) of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, Article 248 of the Constitution read with Entry 97 in List I of the Seventh Schedule, and Article 254 of the Constitution, read with Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations 2010. It was contended that since the University is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development through the UGC, it would also be governed by Clause 2.1.0, per se, and the age of superannuation of its teachers should thus be raised to 65 years. In rebuttal the respondents contended that Panjab University was established by the Panjab University Act, 1947, and at that time, the ‘area of jurisdiction’ of the University covered the undivided State of Punjab. In 1966 upon the reorganization of the State of Punjab University was declared to be an Inter-State body corporate, as per Section 72 (3) of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

Upon perusing the contentions, the Court declined to accept the petitioners’ contention to that the plain meaning of the words contained in Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations must be given effect without any additions or subtractions whatsoever. The Court further perused the letter of the Director (U.II) MHRD, which clarified that the respondent University is not a Central University but an Inter State body; even the documents relied by the petitioners failed to prove the same. It was further added that an increased quantum of funding by the Central Government also does not render the respondent University to be a Central University. The Court thus concluded that it did not find the decision of refusing to raise the age of superannuation as arbitrary. [Bhura Singh Ghuman v. Panjab University2016 SCC OnLine P&H 6385, decided on 16.08.2016]