HC directs PHE to deposit Rs 10 lakh pension benefits for retired employee

HC directs PHE to deposit Rs 10 lakh pension benefits for retired employee

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed Public Health Engineer department to deposit Rs 10 lakh with its registry before October 5 for the payment as pensionary benefits to a retired employee of the department.
Hearing a contempt petition filed by the employee, Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, a single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the concerned authorities to release his pensionary benefits as there was no reason for them to withhold it.
“Respondents shall deposit an amount of Rs 10 lakh with the Registry of this court by October 5. Failure of the respondents to deposit the requisite amount shall invite action against them,” the court said.
The bench also directed Sheikh to apply afresh for the pensionary benefits before Executive Engineer PHE division Bandipora and directed the later to process, settle and release the retrial benefits in his favor after receiving his request.
“In case no positive development is made towards implementation of court orders and requisite amount is not deposited with the Registry, then Chief Engineer and Executive Engineer of the Department shall remain present before the court.”
In compliance to its earlier order, Chief Engineer PHE Kashmir and Executive Engineer Bandipora division were present in the court on Monday.
The court observed, despite clear cut directions, the concerned PHE department officers have “cheeks” to say that recovery was to be affected in the first instance and then the pensionary benefits can be released.
Sheikh, a retired head assistant in the department, was denied pensionary benefits, prompting him to approach the court.
On June 12, the bench had directed the Chief Engineer to settle and release Sheikh’s pensionary benefits within two months.
“Nobody irrespective of his stature can be allowed to make fun of (court) orders and play with its dignity,” the court observed.
Sheikh’s counsel advocate S N Ratanpuri had petitioned the court with a plea that it is a settled law that government employee can be subjected to disciplinary action or inquiry when he is on rolls. However the respondents had resisted the petition stating that an inquiry was initiated against Sheikh.
Observing that pension is hard earned money of an employee after giving his best to the institution, the court had observed that a great prejudice has been caused to Sheikh by withholding his pensionary and retrial benefits to him.
“The pensionary benefit is a deemed right of an employee and is aimed to ensure that a retired employee lives a peaceful and dignified life,” the court had said.

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