On getting retired, they have to struggle for the due pension, the bench observed.
While allowing an appeal preferred by the Union of India against a high court order that had favoured a retired railway employee, the Supreme Court recommended the Department of Personnel and Training of the Government of India to try and make life after retirement easier for a government servant.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur recommended that an appropriate legislation be enacted by Parliament or applicable Pension Rules rather than a ‘khichdi of Instructions, Office Memoranda, Clarifications, Corrigenda and so on and so forth’.
The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, began the judgment by quoting a privy council observation which reads: “These proceedings certainly illustrate what was said by Mr Doyne, and what has been often stated before, that the difficulties of a litigant in India begin when he has obtained a Decree.”
The court then observed: “A somewhat similar fate seems to await government servants – on getting retired, they have to struggle for the due pension. This is a classic case of a railway employee who retired as a Train Examiner on 31st March 1991 and his pension woes are being decided after 27 years and unfortunately not in his favour.”
The tribunal had dismissed the original application filed by the retired employee and had held that the pension of the respondent could not be on par with the pay scale of a Junior Engineer Grade-II. Aggrieved, he approached the high court, which allowed his appeal and set aside the tribunal order. The Union of India approached the apex court.
Referring to the tribunal order, the bench said: “While coming to this conclusion the Tribunal adverted to 20 or more decisions rendered by various Benches of the Tribunal, several High Courts and also few decisions of this Court. This is an indication of the contest in store for pensioners when a claim for pension is made against the State.”
The bench observed that the tribunal was right in observing that the situation is squarely covered by the decision of this court in KS Krishnaswamy & Ors v Union of India & Anr, and the high court erred in assuming that the post of Train Examiner was re-designated as Junior Engineer Grade-II.
The court allowed the appeal but observed that in case any payments have been made to the respondent, there will be no recovery of these amounts.