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'Pension A Deferred Compensation, Hard Earned Benefit For Employee' : Supreme Court Grants Relief To Widow

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 Nov 2021 10:36 AM GMT
Pension A Deferred Compensation, Hard Earned Benefit For Employee : Supreme Court Grants Relief To Widow
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The Supreme Court directed to disburse pension to a deceased employee's widow who has been litigating for over a decade."Pension as is well known, is the deferred portion of the compensation for rendering long years of service. It is a hard-earned benefit accruing to an employee, in the nature of property,", the bench comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy observed.Following...

The Supreme Court directed to disburse pension to a deceased employee's widow who has been litigating for over a decade.

"Pension as is well known, is the deferred portion of the compensation for rendering long years of service. It is a hard-earned benefit accruing to an employee, in the nature of property,", the bench comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy observed.

Following the employee's death on 12.01.2011, as per the Pension Scheme, 1998 the widow of the pensioner made claim for a sum equivalent to 100 times the full monthly pension of her husband. Vide letter dated 30.09.2012, she applied for payment of the lump sum amount in pursuance of para 15(1)(b) read with para 15(2) of the Coal Mines Pension Scheme, 1998. 

As her representation was rejected, she approached the High Court by filing a writ petition. This petition was dismissed by the High court on the ground that no cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court of Patna. It was observed that the services rendered by the pensioner were outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Patna High Court and hence the writ petition filed by the widow of the pensioner was not maintainable.

In appeal, the bench noted that that the Coal Mines Pension Scheme, 1998 was framed as a measure of social security for ensuring socio-economic justice for the employees in the coal sector under the powers conferred by Section 3-E of the Coal Mines Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948.

Nevertheless, for over a decade, the widow of the employee is forced to litigate to secure the pension benefits, the court said.

"While considering the appellant's case, the High Court did not however consider her entitlement on merit, but had dismissed both the Writ Petition and the LPA, citing want of territorial jurisdiction. The employment of the appellant's husband with the respondent employer is however not in dispute. Nevertheless, for over a decade, the widow of the employee is forced to litigate to secure the pension benefits".


The court disposed the appeal by observing thus:

"In the above peculiar circumstances of this case, without commenting on the legality of the decision to discontinue the said provision in the pension scheme by the employer, as the pensioner was not alive on the date of discontinuance, we consider it appropriate to pass necessary orders in her favor in this proceeding itself. Resultantly, the sum due and payable under the Pension scheme be computed and the same is ordered to be disbursed to the appellant. The amount earlier refunded to the appellant be adjusted suitably during the remittance process. The respondent/ employer should do the needful in terms of this order, within 8 weeks from today."


Case name: Veena Pandey vs Union of India

Citation: LL 2021 SC 661

Case no. and Date: CA 6953 OF 2021 | 18 Nov 2021

Coram: Justices R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy

Counsel: Adv Santosh Kumar for appellant, ASG Madhavi Divan for UoI


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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