By LE Desk

Shimla, April 12: Pension and gratuity are not mere bounties or given out of generosity of the employer, but these are benefits earned by the employee by virtue of his long and continuous service. This was held by the Himachal Pradesh High Court while dealing with a petition filed by a retired employee alleging therein that the government authorities had wrongly withheld his retiral benefits.

Taking a strong note on this a division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice C B Barowalia directed the state authorities to pay the entire retiral benefits to the petitioner along with 9 per cent interest with in a period of 30 days, The Tribune reported.

The court further directed the state to conduct an inquiry and fix responsibility on the officer/official, whether serving or retired, for delay in finalising and thereafter not releasing the pensionary benefits in favour of the petitioner.

While passing this order last week, the court observed that “the instant case is a glaring example where the state authorities have flagrantly and in most brazen manner denied the petitioner part of his retiral benefits, constraining him to file the petition.”

It was further alleged in the petition that the petitioner namely Satnam, retired from the forest department on October, 31, 2017 and the department has not released his entire retiral benefits till date.

It further observed that “it would be evident from the reply filed by the state that as on the date of retirement, there was neither a departmental inquiry nor any criminal case pending against the petitioner. In view of this, the action of the respondents in not paying the entire retiral dues to the petitioner is not only unjustified, but is clearly illegal.”

It further said, “The pension is succor for post-retirement period. It is not bounty payable at will, but is a social measure as also a post-retirement entitlement to maintain the dignity of any employee.”

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