Government employee is not entitled to full pension/death cum-retirement gratuity on or during pending disciplinary/judicial proceedings – Allahabad High Court
The Allahabad High Court has held that a Government servant is not entitled to full pension/death cum-retirement gratuity on/or during pending disciplinary/judicial proceedings against the government servant.
The full bench comprising of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal observed that the entitlement to full pension /death-cum-retirement gratuity to the government servant is subject to the outcome of the disciplinary/judicial proceedings and issue of final orders thereon by the competent authority. The bench was considering a reference to it on the issue of entitlement of the government servant to receive death cum-retirement gratuity on superannuation or otherwise pending judicial proceedings.
The court upheld a division bench judgment view that the term ‘pension’ would include ‘gratuity’ particularly in Article 351, 351-A of the Civil Service Regulations. Referring to these regulations, the bench observed:
- Future good conduct is implied condition of ever grant of pension. Full pension is not to be given as a matter of course, or unless the service rendered has been thoroughly satisfactory.
- Article 351 and/or 351-A can be invoked by the State Government or the Governor, as the case may be, if the pensioner (a) be convicted of serious crime; (b) be guilty of grave misconduct (c) caused pecuniary loss to the government in service. The power can be exercised in either of the eventualities. The action thereunder is punitive.
- Pendency of disciplinary/judicial proceedings on the date of retirement, or instituted after retirement, provisional pension equal to maximum pension as mandated under Article 919-A may be sanctioned to the government servant for the period upto conclusion of the proceedings.
- No gratuity is payable to the government servant during pendency of disciplinary/judicial proceedings/enquiry by Administrative Tribunal, until conclusion of the proceedings/enquiry and orders being passed thereon by the competent authority.
- The Regulations mandates that government servant is entitled to provisional pension equal to maximum pension during pendency of the proceedings until conclusion. The Regulations does not mandate the entitlement of full pension/gratuity on the ground of ‘hardship’ being faced by the pensioner pending proceedings.
- The nature of the charge/allegations against the government servant cannot be gone into during pendency of the proceedings. The government servant whether guilty of ‘serious crime’ and/or ‘grave misconduct’ in the opinion of the competent authority can be assessed/considered while passing final orders upon conclusion of the disciplinary/judicial proceedings.
- The impact on pension/gratuity would arise after the competent authority has had the occasion to consider and issue final orders upon conclusion of the proceedings. The cause to the government servant arises thereafter and not at the stage pending proceedings /enquiry.