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Employees Of Autonomous Bodies Can't Claim Same Service Benefits As Government Employees : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
10 Jan 2022 12:21 PM GMT
Employees Of Autonomous Bodies Cant Claim Same Service Benefits As Government Employees : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the employees of the autonomous bodies cannot claim, as a matter of right, the same service benefits on par with the Government employees.The State Government and the Autonomous Board/Body cannot be put on par and the the employees of the latter are governed by their own Service Rules and service conditions, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV...

The Supreme Court observed that the employees of the autonomous bodies cannot claim, as a matter of right, the same service benefits on par with the Government employees.

The State Government and the Autonomous Board/Body cannot be put on par and the the employees of the latter are governed by their own Service Rules and service conditions, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna observed in a judgment delivered on Monday.

The court also observed that interference by the Judiciary in a policy decision having financial implications and/or having a cascading effect is not at all warranted and justified.

In this case, allowing the writ petitions filed by some employees, the Bombay High Court directed the State Government to extend the pensionary benefits to the employees of Water and Land Management Institute.

The State of Maharashtra and another have preferred the present appeals. The State filed appeal before the Apex Court mainly contending that as per the Service Rules applicable to the employees of WALMI, there is no provision for pension/pensionary benefits. It was further contended that the Pension Rules applicable to the State Government employees shall not be made applicable to the employees of WALMI and therefore they are not entitled to the pensionary benefits

Therefore, the issue considered in this case was whether the employees of WALMI, which is an independent autonomous entity registered under the Societies Registration Act, are entitled to the pensionary benefits on par with the State Government employees?

Referring to T.M. Sampath and Ors. Vs. Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Ors., (2015) 5 SCC 333, the bench observed thus:

"As per the law laid down by this Court in a catena of decisions, the employees of the autonomous bodies cannot claim, as a matter of right, the same service benefits on par with the Government employees. Merely because such autonomous bodies might have adopted the Government Service Rules and/or in the Governing Council there may be a representative of the Government and/or merely because such institution is funded by the State/Central Government, employees of such autonomous bodies cannot, as a matter of right, claim parity with the State/Central Government employees. This is more particularly, when the employees of such autonomous bodies are governed by their own Service Rules and service conditions. The State Government and the Autonomous Board/Body cannot be put on par."

Further referring to Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited and Anr. Vs. Balbir Kumar Walia and Ors., (2021)

"As per the settled proposition of law, the Court should refrain from interfering with the policy decision, which might have a cascading effect and having financial implications. Whether to grant certain benefits to the employees or not should be left to the expert body and undertakings and the Court cannot interfere lightly. Granting of certain benefits may result in a cascading effect having adverse financial consequences."

While setting aside the High Court judgment, the bench held that the employees of WALMI are not entitled to the pensionary benefits.:

Grant of pensionary benefits is not a one-time payment. Grant of pensionary benefits is a recurring monthly expenditure and there is a continuous liability in future towards the pensionary benefits. Therefore, merely because at one point of time, WALMI might have certain funds does not mean that for all times to come, it can bear such burden of paying pension to all its employees. In any case, it is ultimately for the State Government and the Society (WALMI) to take their own policy decision whether to extend the pensionary benefits to its employees or not. The interference by the Judiciary in such a policy decision having financial implications and/or having a cascading effect is not at all warranted and justified.

Case name: State of Maharashtra vs Bhagwan

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 28

Case no. and Date: CA 7682-7684 OF 2021 | 10 Jan 2022

Coram: Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna

Counsel: SG Tushar Mehta assisted by Adv Sachin Patil for appellant, Adv J.N. Singh for respondent

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment



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