“If this is not unconstitutional then what else can be” – Allahabad HC on Delaying retiral Benefits [Read Judgment]
Allahabad HC has held that Delaying retiral benefits to Govt. Employees is unconstitutional.
It is like a person starving today is assured food to be provide after a month or two by which time he may die of hunger or the foodstuff itself may rot. If this is not unconstitutional then what else can be, the Court observed.
The Allahabad High Court, in a scathing criticism to the Government laxity and delay in paying retiral benefits to the employees, has asked the state to pay 10 per cent G.P.F. amount which is pending for two decades. Division bench comprising of Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Shamsher Bahadur Singh observed that amount of G.P.F. is obviously the money which belong to employee and if a person who has retired in 1994 is not paid his own money for more than two decades, there can be nothing more serious and harsh on the part of Government authorities.
PUBLIC FUNCTIONARY CANNOT ACT LIKE A DICTATOR
The Court remarked: “In our system, the Constitution is supreme, but the real power vest in the people of India. The Constitution has been enacted "for the people, by the people and of the people". A public functionary cannot be permitted to act like a dictator causing harassment to a common man and in particular when the person subject to harassment is his own employee.”
COURTS SHOULD AWARD INTEREST TO COMPENSATE EXTRA ORDINARY DELAY
The Court also observed: if retiral benefits are paid with extra ordinary delay, the Court should award suitable interest which is compensatory in nature so as to cause some solace to the harassed employee. No Government official should have the liberty of harassing a hopeless employee by withholding his/her lawful dues for a long time and thereafter to escape from any liability so as to boast that nobody can touch him even if he commits an exfacie illegal, unjust or arbitrary act. Every authority howsoever high must always keep in mind that nobody is above law. The hands of justice are meant not only to catch out such person but it is also the constitutional duty of Court of law to pass suitable orders in such matters so that such illegal acts may not be repeated, not only by him/her but others also. This should be a lesson to everyone committing such unjust act.
BUREAUCRATS CREATING NIGHTMARE TO RETIRED EMPLOYEES
The court said: “A system controlled by bureaucrats can create wrangles to device something which is formulated by policy makers for the benefit of the citizen is writ large from this case. A beneficial scheme made for social welfare of old and retired employees, can be twisted by the system creating a nightmare to retired employees, as is quite evident. The constitutional obligation though pen down to reach the people but Executive, habitual of remaining static or move slow or no movement at all, can render such scheme quite ineffective and inoperative. Something due today may not be available to a person right in time. It is like a person starving today is assured food to be provide after a month or two by which time he may die of hunger or the foodstuff itself may rot. If this is not unconstitutional then what else can be. The pain and torture faced by retired employee and his family, in such circumstances, can be easily visualised and felt but cannot be assessed in the same way only those who really suffer, know it. This pain and humiliation cannot be compensated in terms of money.”
Read the Judgment here.