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Child Adopted Post-Retirement Can't Be Denied Family Pension: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Drishti Yadav
17 May 2022 4:25 AM GMT
Provision Of Factories Act, 1948 Not In Substitution Of Any Other Act But Supplemental To The Same, It Does Not Override IPC: Punjab & Haryana High Court
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Image: Ganesh Sariki

Punjab and Haryana High Court while dealing with a petition of an adoptive daughter of a government employee, whose application for the benefit of a family pension was dismissed on the sole ground of her being adopted after her father's retirement date, held that an adoption post-retirement would not be a ground to deny the benefit of the family pension to such child.

Merely because the adoption is post retirement which is mainly for the purpose of providing dependency and also some light in the evening of the life of the couple. The same would not as such be good enough to deny the said child the benefit of the family pension merely on account of the fact that the decision as such to adopt was taken at a belated stage.

The bench comprising Justice G.S. Sandhawalia and Justice Vikas Suri further noted that a child-less employee may adopt a child after retirement and the same cannot be a sole ground to deny the benefit of the family pension.

Court further held that Note-1 of Clause (d) of Sub-rule (ii) of Rule 4 of the Family Pension Scheme, 1964 (as applicable to the State of Haryana) is liable to be quashed for being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India because it discriminates against children legally adopted after retirement and keeps them out of the ambit of the 'family' hence making them ineligible for a family pension.

In our considered opinion, the argument which has been raised as such by counsel for the petitioner is well justified that the said Note enhances the discrimination inter se children adopted before and after retirement and keep the ones adopted after retirement out of the ambit of family. They are, thus, excluded from the right of family pension, which is a beneficial provision to ensure that children of a retired government employee do not face any vagrancy. The Rule as such is thus liable to be quashed on the ground of being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India as it does not serve any purpose and discriminates against children legally adopted after retirement.

The court, after relying on the judgments of the Supreme Court in Smt. Bhagwanti vs. Union of India, (1989) 4 SCC 397, Smt. Lakshmi Kunwar vs. State of Rajasthan, 1993 (8) SLR 427, Kanta Devi vs. UOI 1994 (5) SLR 279 and the judgment of Single Judge of this Court in Gurdial Singh vs. State of Haryana, (2000) 1 SCT 1072 held that the said Note suffers from the vice of discrimination and arbitrariness.

Accordingly, the court allowed the writ petition and quashed Note-1 of Clause (d) of Sub-rule (ii) of Rule 4 of the Family Pension Scheme, 1964 (as applicable to the State of Haryana) to the extent it qualifies the adoption with the period of time.

Case Title: Raj Bala v. State of Haryana and Others 

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 104

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