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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Bombay HC says pension is fundamental right slams state for withholding payment of retired employee

Bombay HC says pension is fundamental right, slams state for withholding payment of retired employee

Updated on: 22 November,2023 03:05 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Bombay HC criticised Maharashtra govt for delaying a man's pension for more than two years and declared pensions as a basic entitlement for retired employees.

Bombay HC says pension is fundamental right, slams state for withholding payment of retired employee

Bombay High Court/ File Photo

In addition to criticising the Maharashtra government for delaying a man's pension for more than two years after his retirement, the Bombay High Court highlighted the essential nature of pensions and declared them to be a basic entitlement for retired employees, calling such actions "unconscionable", according to a PTI report. 

At a hearing on November 21, a division bench made up of Justices GS Kulkarni and Jitendra Jain denounced the state's position, calling the circumstances intolerable. In the case, Jayram More, a former "hamal" (coolie) at the Savitribai Phule Pune University from 1983, was requesting the release of his pension from the Maharashtra government, the report added.

The High Court praised More's excellent and flawless service and expressed dismay that, even though he gave the relevant government department all the required documentation, technical issues have prevented the pension from being released for two years since his retirement in May 2021.

"From the beginning of the present proceedings, we were wondering as to whether any person who superannuates after a long unblemished service should at all suffer such a plight, after having rendered a long service of about 30 years and be deprived of basic entitlement of pension, being the very source of livelihood," the bench said.

The bench highlighted the outdated idea that pensions are optional by citing a Supreme Court decision from four decades ago. The ruling stated that pensions are, in fact, rights and not gratuitous payments that are dependent on an employer's goodwill.

"In such a decision, the Supreme Court had authoritatively ruled that pension is a right and payment of it does not depend on the discretion of the government and would be governed by the rules," the high court said.

The High Court bemoaned the disregard for the Supreme Court's ruling, pointing to the increase in pension-related cases that have come before the court as evidence of carelessness in the application of pension rights.

The government was told to release More's pension and arrears within four weeks after the court received previous orders directing it to do so.

The bench acknowledged that the case had been resolved, but stressed that More needed regular monthly pension payments, and they urged the government to make sure there would be no more delays.

The High Court emphasised that administrative disputes such as these ought to be settled internally within departments, necessitating quick action from public servants to avoid needless legal involvement. The case highlights the necessity of a prompt departmental resolution in order to prevent unnecessary grievances from reaching the courts.

"We may observe that many of such issues, in fact, do not require adjudication and can stand resolved at the level of the department, providing there is a willingness to do so, by the officers of the state government," the bench said.

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