Read Order: Baldev Singh v. State of Punjab and Others
Chandigarh, March 17, 2022: While dealing with a petition filed by a retired Clerk of Nagar Council, Mansa, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reiterated that the pensionary benefits of a Government employee are to be released within a period of two months of the retirement and if the same is not done, the employee concerned in entitled to interest for the delay shown.
Giving relief to the employee- petitioner, the Bench of Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi held,“Resultantly, the prayer of the petitioner is allowed qua the payments which have been released after two months of his retirement. Petitioner is held entitled for the interest @ 9% per annum on the payment, which have been released after 01.12.2012 [two month period expired] onwards till the same were released to him.”
The Court was dealing with a petition filed for the grant of interest to the petitioner in respect of the delayed release of his pensionary benefits.
The case of the petitioner’s counsel was that the petitioner, who was working as a Clerk with Nagar Council, Mansa, on attaining the age of superannuation, retired from service on September 30, 2012. The counsel further submitted that though a certain amount of his pension was released to the petitioner immediately within the time frame of two months of his retirement but the remaining amount was released to the petitioner after the expiry of the period of two months for which, the petitioner was entitled for interest keeping in view the judgment of this Court in A.S. Randhawa Vs. State of Punjab and others, 1997(3) SCT 468.
The counsel appearing on behalf of the fourth respondent (Nagar Council) submitted that details were already given with regard to the payments, which were extended to the petitioner and though, there was a delay in release of some of the payments but the same was procedural delay and was not intentional and therefore, the counsel argued that the fourth respondent was not liable to pay interest on the said delay in payments.
At the outset, the Court reiterated the undisputed facts of the case to put things in perspective, one of such facts was that the petitioner retired from service on attaining the age of superannuation and at the time of retirement, there was no impediment in the release of the pensionary benefits of the petitioner.
That being so, the Court opined that keeping in view of A.S. Randhawa’s Case (Supra), the pensionary benefits of an employee are to be released within a period of two months of the retirement.
Further, the Court opined that as there was a delay in releasing the pensionary benefits of the petitioner, the petitioner was entitled for interest on the delayed payments, which was made after December 1, 2012 onwards.
Also, the Court made reference to a Coordinate Bench of this Court in J.S. Cheema Vs. State of Haryana, 2014(13) RCR (Civil) 355, wherein it was held that where an amount belonging to an employee, was retained and used by the respondents, upon the release of the said amount, on a later date, the interest has to be given.
Resultantly, the prayer of the petitioner was allowed pertaining to the payments which was released after two months of his retirement. The petitioner was also held entitled for the interest @ 9% per annum on the payment, which was released after December 1, 2012 onwards till the same were released to him.
“Let the calculation of interest be done by the respondents within a period of two months from the receipt of certified copy of this order and the amount so calculated shall be paid to the petitioner within a period of four weeks thereafter. The writ petition is allowed in above terms”, held the Bench.