Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh declines the relief of pensionary benefits to the retired employees of State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO), JK Industrial Corporation and JK State Forest Corporation.
While setting aside the writ court judgement whereby the retired employees of these corporations were held entitled to pensionary benefits, the division bench in a fresh appeal filed by J&K government held no employee, as a matter of right, is entitled to claim retirement pension in addition to other post retiral benefits unless there is a specific provision in this regard made in the terms and conditions of his service.
The Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Rajnesh Oswal recorded in a 57- page Judgement that the Right to Pension is not a fundamental right guaranteed by any Article of Part III of the Constitution of India.
“It is a mere condition of service,” court said.
The court further noted that whether or not an employee of the Government or a Statutory Corporation is entitled to pension, is determined by the terms and conditions of his employment.
“These terms and conditions, court added may be contractual or statutory in nature and no employee of the Government or of any Public or Private Corporation can claim retirement pension de hors the rules and regulations governing conditions of his service,” the Bench said.
The court pointed out that there may be provisions in some PSUs also providing gratuity, EPF and also pension as part of post retirement benefits.
” If that is done, it is perfectly legal but there
could be some Departments/Organizations which may provide for payment of EPF in lieu of pension along with gratuity and other terminal benefits. It is equally legally perfect,” court noted.
While further elaborating that it depends upon many factors including the financial health of such Department/Organization or the Corporation as the case may be.
It was also noted by the Bench that all employees, when recruited, are aware and at least are ought to be aware of the terms and conditions of their service.
After noting all the facts said we have carefully gone through the judgment of the writ Court,
but could not find as to how the writ petitioners were found to be similarly placed with the employees of JK Industries by the Writ Court.
“In the absence of any comparison between the two having been done by the writ Court or otherwise existing, it was not permissible to dispose of the writ petitions on the analogy of
the decision in the case of employees of JK Industries,” court said.
The Bench said, “In view of the foregoing discussions and adopting the reasoning
given in support of our judgment rendered in the case of employees ofSIDCO, we find merit in these appeals, the same are, accordingly, allowed and the impugned judgment is set aside. As a result, the writ petitions stand dismissed.”