25 Sep 2023 11:15 AM GMT
Observing that “gratuity is not a bounty that can be withheld at the sweet will or whim of the employer,” the Karnataka High Court recently directed State's Health Secretary to disburse the gratuity amount of a former employee which has been pending for the last 16 years, within 30 days.A single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by 74-year-old retired employee...
Observing that “gratuity is not a bounty that can be withheld at the sweet will or whim of the employer,” the Karnataka High Court recently directed State's Health Secretary to disburse the gratuity amount of a former employee which has been pending for the last 16 years, within 30 days.
A single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by 74-year-old retired employee and directed release of gratuity amount of Rs 4,09,550 along with interest.
Petitioner had retired from Jawarharlal Nehru Medical College, Belgaum after completing 34 years of service. Aggrieved by non-payment of gratuity, Petitioner had first approached the Controlling Authority under the Payment of Gratuity Act. The application was allowed but the respondent-authority failed to clear the amount.
“The entitlement of gratuity and interest on its delayed payment are both statutorily mandated,” High Court observed at the outset. It referred to Section 7(3)(a) of the Act which depicts entitlement of an employee for simple interest as notified by the Central Government from time to time.
The bench said, “Admittedly in the case at hand, 11 years have passed by, pursuant to the directions issued by the Controlling Authority for payment of gratuity and 16 years have passed by with the petitioner attaining the age of superannuation. Therefore, it is not delay alone, but culpable delay on the part of the respondent in not paying the amount of gratuity that the petitioner was at all time entitled to.”
It added, “The State treating its employee of not paying gratuity, a terminal benefit for the last 16 years depicts apathy towards the citizens, particularly of the retired employees, whose voices have become feeble by progression of age and therefore the State does not hear such voices. Thus, callousness is displayed, not for a year or two but close to 2 decades by denying the gratuity to an employee who was always entitled to it, as a retirement benefit.”
Court said State might ignore the plea of a citizen for payment of gratuity because it has nothing to lose but, if an employee whose retirement is dependent on receipt of terminal benefits like gratuity is delayed or denied, he would be driven to impecuniosities, having no money to fall back upon, at the advancing old age.
Following which it allowed the petition.
Appearance: Advocates Ramesh I. Zirali and Shivaraj S. Balloli for the petitioner.
CGSC M.B. Kanavi for R1.
HCGP V.S. Kalasurmath for 2 to 5 and 7.
Advocate Mallikarjunsamy B. Hiremath for R6.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 367
Case Title: Babu s/o Shankarappa Mukkannvar And Union of India & Others
Case No: Writ Petition No: 111248/2014
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