Read Order: Mahavir Singh v. Uttari Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 27, 2022: While referring to Rule 3.17 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, 1970, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that daily wage services rendered by an employee prior to his/her regularization is to be treated as qualifying service for computing his/her pensionary benefits. 

Reference in this regard was made by the Bench of Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi to the case of Kesar Chand vs. State of Punjab through The Secretary P.W.D B & R Chandigarh and others wherein it was held that daily wage service rendered by an employee is to be taken into account as a qualifying service for computing his pensionary benefits.

u=In the present writ petition, the prayer of the petitioner was that the daily wage service, which the petitioner rendered with the respondent-Nigam starting from September of 1979 till his services were regularized (i.e. October, 1990) should be taken into account as qualifying service for computing his pensionary benefits.

As per the averments made in the petition, the petitioner initially joined the respondent-Nigam in 1979, however, his services were terminated in May 1982 and the said termination was challenged by the petitioner before the Industrial Tribunal which (in 1986) held the termination to be bad and the petitioner was reinstated in service with all back wages. 

In pursuance to the said award, the petitioner was reinstated in service and ultimately his services were regularized by the respondent-Nigam in October 1990. In September 1992, the petitioner was promoted as Assistant Line Man and, thereafter, in March 2010 as Line Man from which post he retired on attaining the age of superannuation in April, 2016.

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that once the petitioner rendered daily wage services starting from September 1979, which were ultimately regularized in 1990, the same needed to be taken into account as a qualifying service for computing the pensionary benefits of the petitioner, keeping in view Rule 3.17 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, 1970, which was duly adopted by the respondent-Nigam for regularizing the employees. 

After notice of motion, the respondent-Nigam filed a reply stating that the petitioner only informed the department that he remained engaged as a daily wager from September 23, 1981 to June 14, 1987 and the claim of the petitioner was from the year 1979, which was incorrect. The counsel for the respondent-Nigam submitted that there was no record with the respondents to show that petitioner was ever appointed in the year 1979 and he worked on daily wage basis. The counsel further submitted that the respondent-Nigam was admitting the claim of the petitioner starting from the year 1987 onwards till the regularization of his services in 1990.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that the petitioner rendered services on daily wage basis starting from September 23, 1979 onwards till October, 1990. 

After considering the above, the Court observed at the very outset that undisputedly, the Punjab Civil Services Rules, 1970 was adopted by the respondent-Nigam and according to Rule 3.17 of the said rules, daily wage services rendered by an employee prior to his/her regularization is to be treated as qualifying service for computing his/her pensionary benefits. 

Keeping in view the above, prayer of the petitioner was allowed and the respondent-Nigam was directed to compute the pensionary benefits of the petitioner afresh after taking into account the daily wage service rendered by the petitioner from September, 1979 onwards till the date his services were regularized as well and grant him the benefit of arrears as well.

The next question which the Court addressed was whether the petitioner would also be entitled for interest on the said arrears or not.  

In this regard, the Court observed that respondents forced the petitioner to approach the Court so as to get the benefit for which he was entitled for, even on the date when he retired from service in 2016 not only as per the rules governing the service but, as per the settled principle of law also. Hence, the Court held that the petitioner should be compensated for the same. 

Therefore, the Court held that the arrears which will be recomputed now will also carry interest @ 6% per annum from the date the petitioner retired till the actual payment will be released. Accordingly, the petition was allowed. 

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