If Excess Pension Is Accepted With Due Knowledge, Objecting Its Recovery Is Not Permissible: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Aiman J. Chishti

10 Jun 2024 1:15 PM GMT

  • If Excess Pension Is Accepted With Due Knowledge, Objecting Its Recovery Is Not Permissible: Punjab & Haryana High Court

    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that if excess amount is accepted by the pensioner with due knowledge, not only that the said amount can be recovered at the later stage, objecting to the recovery of the excess amount is also not permissible.Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi said, "Every citizen claims rights but no one is ready to discharge the liability. Once a citizen knew that...

    The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that if excess amount is accepted by the pensioner with due knowledge, not only that the said amount can be recovered at the later stage, objecting to the recovery of the excess amount is also not permissible.

    Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi said, "Every citizen claims rights but no one is ready to discharge the liability. Once a citizen knew that the amount is being paid to her beyond her entitlement, the said excess payment paid to her should have been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned."

    These observations were made in response to the petition filed by a widow challenging the recovery of Rs. 6.36 lakh by the State authorities from the family pension.

    Petitioner's husband namely Hukam Chand, who was working with the Haryana Roadways Department on the post of Blacksmith retired from service in 2000 and died in 2021.

    The petitioner was being paid the enhanced family pension for a period of seven years, which was to be reduced to the normal family pension. Thereafter, as per the pension payment order, the petitioner was informed that enhanced rate of family pension will be payable from 12.05.2001 upto 11.05.2008 and thereafter, the family pension will be released to the petitioner on normal rates starting from 12.05.2008.

    Inadvertently, the petitioner continued to get the enhanced pension upto 31.08.2021 thereby getting a sum of Rs.6,22,520 beyond the entitlement.

    It was the case of respondents that when the said discrepancy was discovered by the respondents, a legal notice was given to the petitioner for refund of the excess amount and she was also asked to appear in person but, the said opportunity was not availed by her and ultimately, the recovery of the excess amount for the period from 12.05.2008 to 31.10.2021 amounting to Rs.6,36,386/- was started.

    It was submitted that the petitioner was issued show cause notice twice but she failed to file any response.

    The counsel for the petitioner argued that once excess amount has been paid to the petitioner by the respondents without there being any misrepresentation on the part of the petitioner no amount can be recovered.

    After hearing the submissions, the Court noted that "before the enhanced family pension was given to the petitioner, she was informed that for a period of 7 years starting from 12.05.2001 till 11.05.2008, the petitioner will be paid the enhanced family pension and thereafter, the family pension will be paid at the normal rate."

    Once, the said terms and conditions were brought to the notice of the petitioner, she should have objected to the payment of amount beyond her entitlement starting from 12.05.2008 onwards and should have informed the respondents about the same, it added.

    "Despite knowing that she was not entitled for enhanced pension after a period of 7 years, she continued to get the same for further period of 13 years. Every citizen claims rights but no one is ready to discharge the liability. Once a citizen knew that the amount is being paid to her beyond her entitlement, the said excess payment paid to her should have been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned," the Court said.

    Justice Sethi also highlighted that it is not the case that the petitioner never knew that she is being paid money beyond her entitlement.

    It also noted that despite giving the opportunity twice the petitioner did not file the response of show cause notice.

    In the light of the above, the plea was dismissed.

    Appearance: Mr.Ashutosh Kaushik, Advocate, for the petitioner.

    Mr.Harish Nain, Asstt.AG, Haryana.

    Mr. Teginder Singh,Advocate, with Mr. Gaurav Goel, Advocate, for respondents no.3 &4.

    Case Title: Taravanti v. State of Haryana and others

    Click here to read/download the order 

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