1 March 2023 8:47 AM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, was informed that most State Governments have complied with the directions regarding disbursal of the pension arrears to retired arrears after enhancement.On 07.02.2023, noting that some States Government have not complied with its earlier decision regarding enhancement of pension, to the extent they have defaulted in depositing pension arrears due to...
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, was informed that most State Governments have complied with the directions regarding disbursal of the pension arrears to retired arrears after enhancement.
On 07.02.2023, noting that some States Government have not complied with its earlier decision regarding enhancement of pension, to the extent they have defaulted in depositing pension arrears due to judicial officers, it had asked the respective Chief Secretaries of the concerned States to remain present in court if the affidavits were not submitted by 24.02.2023.
On Tuesday, the Amicus Curiae, Mr. Siddharth Bhatnagar apprised the Bench that almost all the non-compliant States [Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand] have substantially complied with the Apex Court’s orders pursuant to the order dated 07.02.2023. Accordingly, the Bench recorded appreciation for the Standing Counsel of the concerned States and the State Governments for making the payments.
It was also pointed out that the State of Sikkim has not filed any affidavits post the order passed on 07.02.2023 and NCT of Delhi is yet to comply with the Court’s earlier direction to raise the pension of retired judicial officers.
A Bench comprising Justice BR Gavai, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sanjay Karol also asked the Government of NCT of Delhi to file its compliance affidavit after making the payment of arrears within 10 days as has been assured by the Senior Counsel, Mr. W.A. Qadri representing the NCT.
The Counsel appearing for the State of Sikkim submitted that they have filed an affidavit in December itself indicating compliance. He submitted -
“On the last date of hearing we had clarified that in the concerned period only 5 judicial officers had retired and we have complied, we have said that in affidavit.”
The Amicus informed the Bench that in its affidavit the State has provided a notification in which it is said that arrears would be calculated and paid.
Justice Gavai asked the Counsel for the State, “Is it paid or not?”
The Counsel responded, “We have filed an affidavit saying we have complied.”
Justice Gavai enquired, “Has the payment been made? You have not mentioned in the affidavit that it has been paid. A specific statement was required, if paid or not.”
After perusing the affidavit the Bench was not satisfied and asked the Counsel to seek instructions regarding disbursal.
Addressing the issue of non-compliance by NCT of Delhi, Mr. Qadri pointed out some confusion at the level of Registry of the Delhi High Court and the Principal District Judge (Headquarter). He referred to several communications to demonstrate that the Government of NCT of Delhi has persistently pursued the cause pertaining to the disbursal of the arrears to the judicial officers. The Bench noted the same. It also took note of the fact that the office of Principal District Judge (Headquarter) was under some erroneous impression. The Bench was also apprised that the confusion has been cleared and the file has been sent to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The Senior Counsel assured the Bench that the actual disbursement would take place within a period of 10 days. Considering the same, the Bench directed the Government of NCT of Delhi to file a compliance affidavit once the actual disbursement is done.
In 2012, the Supreme Court had directed that the existing pension of all the past pensioners who had retired after January 1, 1996, and the pensioners whose pensions were consolidated as per the Karnataka model shall be raised by 3.07 times on par with the other pensioners subject to a minimum of 50% of the revised pay scale of their respective posts.
The 'Karnataka model' has been envisaged in the Karnataka Government Order of 2004, on the pension of retired judicial officers. By order dated 08.04.2004, the Apex Court had adopted the said model -
"Learned Amicus Curiae has placed before us a Government Order dated 4th February 2004 issued by the Government of Karnataka in regard to the payment of pension to the retired Judicial Officers and suggested that the same model may be adopted by other States. We take this Government Order on record and expect that all other States may adopt the said model. The States may file their response within a period of two months."
In May 2022, the Bench gave a last opportunity to all State Governments to enhance the pension of retired judicial officers as per the scheme elucidated in the order passed by the Apex Court in 2012. The State Governments were directed to comply with the order within 4 weeks.
[Case Title: Case Title: All India Judges Association And Ors v. Union of India And Ors. Writ Petition (C) No. 1022 of 1989]
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