The Supreme Court recently held that pension is a continuous cause of action and arrears of pension cannot be denied on ground of delay in filing petition for the same [ML Patil (Dead) through LRs v. State of Goa and Another].
A division bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna was hearing an appeal assailing the decision of the Bombay High Court which had refused arrears of pension to the appellants.
Before the Bombay High Court, the appellants had challenged the action of the respondents in superannuating/retiring them at the age of 58 years. According to the appellants, the retirement age was 60 years.
The appellants were inducted in service prior to the appointment day as provided under the Goa, Damn and Diu Reorganization Act, 1987 (Reorganization Act) by which the State of Goa and Union Territory of Daman and Diu came into existence.
It was contended that the act of the Government in superannuating them was in violation of Section 60(6) of the Reorganization Act which contemplated the conditions of service applicable immediately before the appointed day, shall not be varied to the disadvantage of the employees appointed prior to it, except with approval of the Central government.
The High Court despite holding that the retirement age of the petitioners was 60 years and they were wrongly superannuated at the age of 58 years rejected the plea on the ground that the appellants had approached the Court belatedly.
Hence, it ruled that the petitioners will not be entitled to any salary or arrears of pension.
Aggrieved, the appellants had moved the present appeal before the apex court.
The Supreme Court observed that the High Court erred in observing that the appellants were not entitled to any arrears of pension.
It was of the view that the High Court may be right and/or justified in denying any salary for the period of two extra years to the appellants if they would have continued in service, on the ground of delay. However, as far as the pension is concerned, it is a continuous cause of action and arrears of the same cannot be denied.
There was no justification at all for denying the arrears of pension to the appellants, the top court underlined.
“As far as the pension is concerned, it is a continuous cause of action. There is no justification at all for denying the arrears of pension as if they would have been retired/superannuated at the age of 60 years. There is no justification at all by the High Court to deny the pension at the revised rates and payable only from January 1, 2020. Under the circumstances, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is required to be modified to the aforesaid extent,” the Court held.
While partly allowing the appeal, it directed that the appellants shall be entitled to pension at the revised rates from the date they attain the age of 60 years and the arrears of pension shall be paid to them accordingly.
Consequently, the Bombay High Court decision was set aside and the appeal was partly allowed.