GAYA: Giving a major relief to the retired employees of the universities of the state, a division bench of the Patna high court comprising Justice Mukesh Shah and Justice Ashutosh Kumar on October 8 has directed the state government and the universities to ensure pension payment before the seventh day of every month.
The division bench harped on the earlier order passed by the court which recognised pension as a right and not a discretion of the employer. Quoting the judgement passed in 1971 in Deoki Nandan Prasad vs State of Bihar, the bench stated, "Pension is a right and the payment of it does not depend on the discretion of the government but is governed by the rules and a government servant coming within those rules is entitled to claim pension.”
The court also observed that the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to live with dignity and pension is an integral part of the right as enshrined in Article 19 (1).
The order was uploaded on Patna HC’s official website on October 10 evening. The 15-page-long judgement noted that both the universities and the state government were engaged in blame game on the issue of non-settlement of retiral benefits and regular payment of pension.
While universities including Magadh University made the submission that the government never releases the grant in time, the government lawyer said the universities never submit the budget estimates in the proper format and even requisitions fund on plain paper.
The HC, while directing the state government to release salary and pension amount to the universities at least three months in advance and specifically mentioned that pension payable in March should be made available to the universities in December of the previous year.
In his complaint, petitioner Krishna Kant Sinha, secretary, Pensioner Samaj of BR Ambedkar University, Muzaffarpur said that in 2016, pension for March 2016 was released by the government on July 11, 2016. It cited several such examples. The high court extensively quoted SC judgements on the pension issue including the judgement of well known DS Nakara Vs the Union of India (1983) case.