Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of entitlement of all retirement benefits for 389 employees of Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) while quashing down a 2016 Government Order that had rejected these benefits for these employees.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey in a 27-page judgement held that the petitioners were entitled to all the retirement benefits, including pension, gratuity, etc, on par with and on the lines of the section of the employees of the corporation who were employees of the erstwhile Government Transport Undertaking (GTU) and had opted for the service of the corporation, and also on the lines of their counterparts in the JKI and other corporations.
Earlier, the court in an interim order dated June 2, 2016, had directed the respondents to consider the plea of employees seeking retirement benefits from the corporation, but the same was rejected by General Manager of JKSRTC in an order dated October 10, 2016.
The petitioners challenged the said order before the court, averring that they were performing the same duties as others in the corporation and yet they were being discriminated against.
They stated that they had a right to be treated equally and to be entitled to retirement benefits in the same manner as the other set of employees of the corporation.
The court while dealing with the matter said that it appeared extremely discriminatory, unjustified and unreasonable that those employees of the erstwhile GTU who had opted for the services of the corporation and were as such governed by the very same service regulations would not be paid pensionary benefits as admissible to government employees.
“All the employees of the Corporation constituted one class and they could not be treated differently in the matter of grant of retiral benefits,” the court recorded.
The court pointed out that pension was not only compensation for loyal service rendered in the past but also had a broader significance, in that it was a measure of socio-economic justice which assured economic security when physical and mental powers had started ebbing due to aging.
Therefore, the court held, all the retirement benefits had to be paid to the employees of the corporation.
The court also said that the Board of Directors of the corporation had already taken a decision in this regard and so the matter was referred to the Government’s Finance Department.
It was also directed by the court that government authorities consider the request of the corporation made in this regard by the Managing Director of the Corporation in terms of his communication dated 15 June, 2020, within a period of four months from the date a copy of this judgment is served on and/or received by them.
“In consequence thereof, the petitioners shall be paid the arrears of necessary dues as may be payable to them from the date of their retirement,” the court directed.