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Pension Is A Continuous Cause Of Action; Arrears Can't Be Denied On Ground Of Delay : Supreme Court

Sohini Chowdhury
1 Jun 2022 4:00 AM GMT
Pension Is A Continuous Cause Of Action; Arrears Cant Be Denied On Ground Of Delay : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court, recently, held that arrears of pension cannot be denied on the ground of delay in approaching the Court as pension is a continuous cause of action.

The appellant had filed writ petition along with other petitioners before the Bombay High Court at Goa, assailing the action of their employer (Goa Government) retiring them at the age of 58 years instead of 60 years. They were inducted in service prior to the appointment day as provided under the Goa, Damn and Diu Reorganisation Act, by which the State of Goa and Union Territory of Daman and Diu came into existence. The appellant and the other petitioners contended that the Act of the Govt. was in violation of Section 60(6) of the Reorgnaisation Act which contemplated the conditions of service applicable immediately before the appointed day, shall not be varied to the disadvantage of the employees appointed prior to it, except with approval of the Central Government. Though the Bombay High Court found the retirement age to be 60 years, considering the delay in approaching it, the High Court held that they were not entitled to any salary/back wages for the two extra years they would have been in service. It reckoned that the pension would be computed on the basis that they continued service till they attained the age of 60 years, but no arrears of pension would be paid. Even the pension at the revised rates would be payable only from 01.01.2020.

A Bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna set aside the order of the High Court to the extent it denied arrears of pension. It held that the appellant are entitled to pension at the revised rates from the day they turn 60. Furthermore, arrears of pension were directed to be paid to the appellant within a period of four weeks.

Hearing the submission made by Advocate, Mr. Rahul Gupta, appearing for the appellant and Advocate, Mr. Ravindra Lokhande, appearing on behalf of the State of Goa, the Apex Court was of the opinion that the High Court may be right and/or justified in denying any salary for the period of two extra years to the writ petitioners if they would have continued in service.

However, there was no justification in denying the relief regarding pension arrears.

"...as far as the pension is concerned, it is a continuous cause of action. There is no justification at all for denying the arrears of pension as if they would have been retired/superannuated at the age of 60 years. There is no justification at all by the High Court to deny the pension at the revised rates and payable only from 1st January, 2020. Under the circumstances, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is required to be modified to the aforesaid extent".

Partly allowing the appeal, the Court said:

"The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court to the extent of denying any arrears of pension and holding that the appellant shall be entitled to the pension at the revised rates only from 1st January, 2020 is hereby quashed and set aside. It is held and ordered that the appellant –original writ petitioner shall be entitled to pension at the revised rates from the date he attains the age of 60 years. Now the arrears accordingly shall be paid to the appellant within a period of four weeks from today"

Case Name: Shri M.L.Patil (Dead) Through LRs v. State of Goa And Anr.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 537

Case No. and Date: Civil Appeal No. 4100 of 2022 | 20 May 2022

Corum: Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

Service Law - Pension - Pension is a continuous cause of action - No justification in denying the arrears of pension on ground of delay.





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