Decided on July 20,2003

Bidhu Bhusan Bhattacharya Appellant

Referred Judgements :-



Pratap Kr. Ray, J. - (1.):- Heard the learned advocates appearing for the parties.
(2.)In the instant application, it is the grievance of the petitioner that though the pay fixation issue was finally decided and adjudicated upon by the decision of District Inspector of Schools concerned dated 12th April, 2002, but to that effect the arrear salary has not been paid for which the school has already referred to the papers on 5th July, 2002 showing the arrear amounts. Further it is the grievance of the petitioner that though the petitioner has retired with effect from 31st Dec., 2002 and pension papers have already been referred to five months prior to the date of retirement i.e. on 5th July, 2002, by the School Authority, as yet, nothing has been done and no provisional pension also was released in favour of the petitioner. It is a sad case that despite retirement, the benefits have not been released. The retirement benefits is not a bounty or charity in the hands of the employer. By the Constitution Bench judgment in the case Deokinandan Prasad Vs. State of Bihar, reported in 1971 (2) SCC 330: [1971 (1) SLR 175 (SC)]. It has been held that the retirement benefits is available as per rule and it is a matter of right, but only for calculating the amount, there are some procedural steps by which the amount is calculated. In the case D.S. Nakara Vs. Union of India, reported in 1983 (1) SCC 305 : [ 1983(2) SLR 246 (SC)], the Supreme Court further enunciated the principle relying upon the said Constitution Bench judgment that pension amount is not only a matter of right but it is nothing but a deferred salary to the persons concerned who is suffering for the old age even in the Constitutional provision under Article 41, the State is bound to provide sufficient benefits to the person of old age. There is a circular letter of the Government issued under no. 88/SE(B) dated 26th May, 1998 issued by Secretary, School Education Department, Budget Branch, Government of West Bengal, wherein it is provided that the papers to be processed for retirement benefits 18 months before the retirement and further it was directed that all the officers would act promptly well in advance so that the retirement benefits is available to the concerned employee just after the date of retirement. Under clause 8, a penal provision has been made by directing initiation of disciplinary proceeding and imposition of punishment for whose fault there would be delay to finalise the retirement benefits. The said clause 8 reads thus:
"8. Failure to comply with the provisions as stated above by the concerned authorities shall be seriously viewed and may make such authorities liable for disciplinary action. In particular the head of the institution, Sub-Inspector (Circle), Pension Sanctioning Authority, Asstt. Director of Accounts/Finance Officer, DPSC, the DPPG, WB and the P.D.O.T.O. shall be held personally responsible for non-compliance with the procedure required to be followed by them for payment of pension. For any lapses on their part on this regard, the concerned authorities part from being liable for disciplinary action, may also be required to pay to the Government such amount which Government may have to pay additionally by way of interest for delayed payment of retiring benefits to the employees."
Having regard to said constitutional provision as referred to earlier and the circular letter of the Government, accordingly, it appears there is a total infringement of petitioner's right of retirement benefits as well as the constitutional mandate. The petitioner, is accordingly not only entitled to get retirement benefits forthwith but also is entitled to get the interest at the rate of 12% per annum since the petitioner's money was kept in the hands of the employer without any valid reason. Having regard to such conduct, all the concerned respondents are directed to pay all retirement benefits within two months from this date along with the interest at the rate of 12% per annum with effect from Ist Jan., 2003. All retirement benefits as arrear along with the interest must be paid within the period and current benefits also be released ad paid month by month. However, in favour of the petitioner as an ad hoc retirement provisional pension amount be released within a month on the basis of the last pay as drawn by the petitioner without prejudice to the rights and contention of the petitioner to quantify the amount. Let this matter appear two months hence as 'for order' when all the parties will submit their compliance reports as per direction of this Court.
(3.)Heard-in-part. Xerox plain copy of the order be issued for communication to the respondents concerned. The petitioner is granted leave to add Treasury Officer and the Assistant Director of Pension, Provident Fund, Gratuity as a party in this proceeding and serve a copy of the writ application along with the order to them in addition to the intimation of the order to all the parties. So far as the arrear salary is concerned which has already been finalized, the respondents are directed to release the arrear amounts within two months from this date along with the interest of 6% on the said amount from the date when the pay fixation was finalised till the date of payment. The Director of Schools Education, West Bengal is directed to disburse the funds to the District Inspector of Schools concerned to that effect within a month from this date so that the petitioner may get entire amount along with the interest within the date fixed. A compliance report also be filed by the concerned District Inspector of Schools, West Bengal, as well as the Managing Committee of the School that the amount has been paid to the petitioner on the date fixed.

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