Delayed sanction of pension not only violation of service rules but also violation of human rights: CAT

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Srinagar: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Wednesday held that delayed sanction of pension was not only violation of service rules but also violation of human rights.

“Admittedly, a duty is cast upon the employee to fulfill certain legal requirements but delayed sanction of pension would not only be violation of service rules but also would be violation of human rights,” a Srinagar bench of Member (J), M S Latif said.

The tribunal made the observation while disposing of a transfer application from High Court by Dr Bashir Gaash wherein he stated that he retired from service on superannuation on November 30, 2010, as epidemiologist from J&K’s Health and Medical Education Department and that his pension case had not been settled so far.

“The instant application depicts a very sorry state of affairs where a government employee, after having put in the prime of his life with the department, at the time of his superannuation is denied his pensionary and retiral benefits,” the tribunal said.

It said that for more than 13 years the applicant had been tossed from pillar to post for whatever reason, ignoring the fact that pension granted to a public servant on his retirement is his property within the meaning of the Constitution of India.

The tribunal underscored that any culpable delay in disbursement of retiral benefits to the applicant, the respondents (authorities) are liable to be visited with penalty of payment of interest.

“The (retiral benefits) are only bread and butter source for him and at the time of reaching his retirement, after serving and spending his prime in the department gracefully, he expects that his employer will treat him with same grace,” the tribunal said.

It said that the department in its reply through Bikram Deep Singh, DAG, submitted that the provisional pension had already been sanctioned in favour of the applicant. “However, his pension case has not been finally settled as yet,” the tribunal said.

The reply indicated that a complaint was lodged against the applicant in the Vigilance Organisation, alleging that apart from having made illegal appointments, he had drawn Rs 10 lakh as honorarium.

The reply underscores that the applicant is also involved in misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 23.41 lakh and has caused wasteful expenditure on printing of manuals besides causing further misappropriation of Rs 7.26 lakh under training programmes.

“Even if there were some discrepancies or some legal requirements to be followed by the employee in order to get his pension case settled, the respondents could have enquired into those requirements by giving the applicant opportunity of being heard and by giving him chance to put forward his case before the competent authority for finalization of his pension case,” the tribunal said

Finally, disposing of the transfer application, the tribunal directed the authorities to finalise the case of the applicant for release of his pensionary and retiral benefits in accordance with law.

“It is expected that the applicant will cooperate with the authorities by replying to any query as may be raised by the respondents and by submitting the required documents, if not already submitted,” the tribunal said. “The whole process of finalization of the case of the applicant be undertaken within a period of six weeks from the date copy of this order is served on the respondents.”

It said that in case there was any delay on the part of the respondents to finalise the case of the applicant, they should be liable to payment of interest at 6 percent in favour of the applicant.

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