CAT Principal Bench New Delhi directs to give increment for employees retiring on 31st December & 30th June. Pension have to be revised accordingly with arrears payable without interest. This verdict is subject to the outcome of Supreme Court judgment in SLP 4722/2021.
O R D E R (Oral)
Mr. Justice L. Narasimha Reddy:
In this batch of OAs, the only question that arises for consideration is as to whether an employee, who retired on 30th June of a year or 31st December of a preceding year, is entitled to be extended the benefit of increment that falls due on 1st July or 1st January of the next year, as the case may be. While the applicants in some of the cases have retired on 30th June, others retired on 31st December. They were denied the benefit of increment, which was otherwise due to them, only on the ground that by the time the increment became due, they were not in service.
2. The applicants contend there was absolutely no basis for the respondents in denying the benefit to them. Reliance is placed upon many orders passed by the Tribunal as well as the different Hon’ble High Courts. It is also stated that the judgments rendered by the Hon’ble High Courts were affirmed in some of the SLPs. Particulars thereof are also furnished.
3. The respondents filed the counter affidavits in respective OAs. Their stand is that with the retirement, the relationship of the employee with the Government ceases and once he is out of service, the Fundamental Rules do not permit extension of any benefit.
4. We heard Mr. Vidya Sagar, Mr. Mohid Tygagi, Mr. Setu Niket, Dr. Swati Jinidal Garg, Mr. Mithilesh Kumar Gupta, Ms. Versha Agarwal, Mr. Anmol Pandita, Mr. Yogesh Sharma, Mr. MS Reen, Mr. Mukesh Kumar Singh, Mr. MK Bhardwaj, Mr. Suresh Sharma, learned counsel for applicants and Mr. VSR Krishna, Mr. Satish Kumar, Mr. Saurabh Chadda, Mr. Kapil Agnihotri, Ms. Esha Mazumdar, Mr. Sanjeev Yadava, Mr. Amit Yadav, Mr. C. Bheemanama, Mr. R.K. Jain, Mr. Ritu Singh, Mr. RS Rana, Mr. RK jain, Mr. Gyanendra Singh, Mr. GS Virk, Mr. Saurabh Chadda, Mr. UN Singh, Mr. Manish Kumar, Mr. KK Sharma, Mr. Rajeev Kr., learned counsel for the respondents.
5. The issue as mentioned above, fell for consideration in a large number of cases. The Benches of this Tribunal as well as the different Hon’ble High Courts have taken the view that the increment becomes payable on account of the satisfactory service rendered by the employee for the preceding six months, and the mere fact that he retired one day earlier, should not be factored to deny him the benefit. It is also a matter of record that some SLPs filed against the detailed orders passed by the Hon’ble High Courts were dismissed.
6. It is true that in Union of India Vs. M. Siddaraj (SLP No. 4722/2021), the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order drawn as on 30th June, 2014. Learned counsel for the applicants submit that they verified the record and found that the respondents in the said SLP were already extended the benefit of increment, at the last day of their service.
7. Be that as it may, once the various benches of the Tribunal, the Hon’ble High Courts and the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the increment, which became due on 1st July or 1st January as the case may be, needs to be released for the employees, who retired one day earlier thereto, the applicants herein cannot be denied such benefit.
8. To protect the interests of the respondents, we direct that in case any different view is taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in SLP No. 4722/2021, the applicants shall be under obligation to refund the benefit that is extended to them. In the corresponding orders, a clause can be incorporated to that effect.
9. We make it clear that extension of benefit of increment shall be subject to their fulfilling other conditions under the relevant service rules.
10. For the foregoing reasons, the OAs are allowed, directing that:
(a) for such employees, who retired on 30th June of any particular year, increment payable on 1st July shall be extended. Their pensions shall also be revised, subject to their fulfilling other conditions which are applicable. The arrears that become due shall be paid without interest;
(b) Similarly for employees, who retired on 31st December of a particular year, the increment payable on the 1st January of the next year shall be extended and pension revised, subject to same conditions in the same manner.
(c) While extending such benefits, a clause shall be incorporated to the effect that in case the Hon’ble Supreme takes a different view in the Civil Appeal arising out of SLP No. 4722/2021, they shall be under obligation to refund the entire benefit without any demur.
The aforesaid exercise shall be completed within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
Pending MAs shall also stand disposed of. There shall be no order as to costs.
(A K Bishnoi )
(Justice L. Narasimha Reddy)