UNION OF INDIA Vs. MADAN MOHAN PRASAD
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
MADAN MOHAN PRASAD
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(1.)An application was filed by respondent before the Central Administrative Tribunal, allahabad bench (hereinafter referred to as the 'tribunal') making several claims but subsequently, he confined his claim only to the relief of payment of death-cum-retirement gratuity (for short the DCRG) and the leave encashment The tribunal found that the respondent retired from service as head time clerk in the workshop of North east Railway, Gorakhpur on 31/7/1982 payment of DCRG as well as leave encashment having not been done despite several representations, he filed an application before the tribunal for payment of the same along with the interest The stand of the appellants before the tribunal has been that the payment of the said amounts had not been arranged on account of the fact that the respondent did not vacate the railway quarter which he continued to occupy even after retirement It appears that he had filed an application before the authorities concerned for regularisation of the allotment of the house in favour of his son who was living with him before his retirement. The tribunal relying upon a decision of this Court in R. Kapoor v. Director of inspection (Printing and Publication) income Tax and Anr. [jt 1994 (6) SC 354] took the view that DCRG being akin to pension, the same cannot be held back after retirement Just for the recovery of the dues of rent and allowed the claim made by him and also directed the payment of interest at 10 per cent per annum It was also brought to the notice of the tribunal that separate proceedings had been initiated under the Public Premises (Unauthorised Occupants) act, 1971 not only for recovery of the quarter from respondent but also for recovery of penal damages The tribunal stated, however, that aspect was left open to be agitated before the appropriate forum.
(2.)The learned counsel for the appellants relied upon the decisions of this Court in union of India v. Sisir Kumar Deb [1991 (1) SCC L and S 781], Director of Technical education v. K. Sita Devi [1991 Supp (2) 386] and Wazir Chand v. Union of India and0rs. [jt 2000 (Suppi 1) SC515] In none of these decisions, the actual import or the effect to the relevant rules regarding payment of DCRG had been considered in that view of the matter, these decisions cannot be of much help to the appellants the relevant rule applicable so far as the respondent is concerned is rule 323 which is available in the manual of Railway Pension rules, 1950 It is made clear therein that claim against the railway servant may be on account of three circumstances,
"(A) losses (including short collection in freight charges shortage in stores) caused to the government as a result of negligence of fraud on the part of the railway servant while he was in service, (b) other government dues such as overpayment on account of pay and allowances, or admitted and obvious dues such as house rent, post office, life insurance premia, outstanding advance etc; (C) non-government dues. "
(3.)It cannot be said that the case put forth on behalf of the appellants can be brought in any one of these categories. The claim made on behalf of the appellants is not only to collect normal house rent but also penal damages, in addition. That is not within the scope of rule 323 at all. What is contemplated therein is 'admitted' and 'obvious' dues. The payment resulting in penal damages is neither 'admitted' nor 'obvious' dues apart from the fact that determination has to be made in such a matter. It is also permissible under relevant rules to waive the same in appropriate cases. In that view of the matter, it cannot be said that such due is either 'admitted' or 'obvious'. Hence, we do not think that the view taken by the tribunal calls for any interference. However, it is made clear that while the appellants have to disburse the dcrg to the respondent the normal house rent, inclusive of electricity and water charges, which are 'admitted' or 'obvious' dues can be deducted out of the same, if still due.
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