31 Aug 2023 4:45 AM GMT
Reaffirming the importance of pension as a beneficial provision for government servants, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has recently emphasised that any restrictive interpretation of pension rules would undermine its purpose.Justice Satyen Vaidya added that pension rules have to be considered from the perspective that it is earned in lieu of the services rendered by the government servant...
Reaffirming the importance of pension as a beneficial provision for government servants, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has recently emphasised that any restrictive interpretation of pension rules would undermine its purpose.
Justice Satyen Vaidya added that pension rules have to be considered from the perspective that it is earned in lieu of the services rendered by the government servant for the public.
“Pension is earned by a government servant in lieu of the services rendered by him. It is the security for which he serves the public besides what he earns by way of monthly emoluments during service. The rules prescribing the norms for disbursement of the amount of pension have to be considered in that perspective. Since it is a beneficial provision for the government servant, therefore, any narrow construction will render the purpose of granting the same otiose."
The case revolved around the fixation of the petitioner's pension amount after more than 20 years of service as a government employee. She had retired on August 31, 2017, and sought a pension amount of 50% of the basic pay she had last drawn. The government, however, had fixed her pension at a lower amount of Rs. 9658 per month and contended that since the petitioner had retired before the issuance of this notification, she was not eligible for its benefits.
The question that fell for adjudication before the bench was whether the petitioner could avail the benefits of a notification dated June 12, 2018, that reinstated the entitlement to 50% of emoluments as pension for Class-III and Class-IV employees who completed a qualifying service of 20 years.
After examining the facts and arguments put forth by both sides Justice Vaidya noted that pension is earned by government servants in recognition of their dedicated service, providing them with security and stability post-retirement. Stressing the broader purpose of pension, he cautioned against construing rules in a manner that would negate its very essence.
Observing that the notification issued on June 12, 2018, was intended to benefit an entire class of employees and should not be confined to those retiring after its issuance, the court recorded,
“Since, the notification dated 12.6.2018 was for the benefit of an entire class i.e. class III and IV employees of the State Government it could not be construed to benefit only those who would retire after the issuance of the notification for such a classification will clearly be discriminatory. The pension is a recurring benefit to a retired government servant, therefore, the notification dated 12.6.2018 promulgating a beneficial rule will also enure for benefit of petitioner, who still was entitled to pension on the date of such promulgation”.
In view of the said legal position, the court ruled in favour of the petitioner, directing the authorities to re-fix her pension in line with the notification dated June 12, 2018, within a timeframe of eight weeks from the date of the judgment.
Case Title: Veena Devi vs. State of H.P. & Others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (HP) 64
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment