25 Apr, 2022 10:43p.m.

HC deplores Punjab's denial of old pension to staff who was regularised after NPS


The state of Punjab's action of not granting pension benefits under the old pension scheme to an employee whose services were regularised after the start of the new contributory provident fund, despite the fact that he was already working on a temporary or ad hoc basis, has been described as "deplorable" by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The respondents' actions were appalling, according to Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi, because the law on granting benefits under the old scheme had already been settled by a Division Bench in the case of "Harbans Lal versus Punjab and others," which was decided on August 31, 2010.

The decision made it clear that an employee who was working on a temporary or ad hoc basis on January 1, 2004, when the new contributory provident fund scheme was implemented, was only covered by the old pension scheme. The same rule holds good for Central Government Employees also.

After employee Prem Chand filed a petition against the state and other respondents, the matter was brought to the attention of the High Court. According to the facts of the case, the petitioner-case employee was made applicable to the contributory provident fund scheme when he retired in May 2016, even though the state and other respondent authorities were required to apply the judgement in Harbans Lal's case to his case as well.

“What to expect of applying the judgment so as to grant the necessary relief, the petitioner was rather forced to approach this court for redress of his grievances…. The counsel for the respondents has not been able to dispute the fact that the petitioner’s case is covered by the judgment, so as to grant him the pension benefit as per the old scheme. Hence, it is held the claim of the petitioner for the grant of pension benefits be considered under the old scheme,” Justice Sethi asserted.

Justice Sethi also made it clear the petitioner’s total length of service was to be taken into consideration as a qualifying service, including the daily wage service rendered by him from September 1987 to October 2004. Justice Sethi added it was a settled principle of law that daily wage service was to be treated as qualifying service for computing the pension benefits when the service was regularised by the department.

Justice Sethi also ruled the petitioner was entitled to grant of interest on the pension and its arrears, to be calculated by the respondents at 6 per cent per annum “from the date the petitioner’s pension became due till its release to him to be paid within two months from receiving the order’s copy”.

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