Govt can withhold retiral benefits of employee: HC

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 7: The State High Court today dismissed the plea of an employee seeking release of post retiral benefit and recorded that the authorities are well within their right to withhold the post retiral benefits in view of pendency of criminal case against retired employee.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey on the analysis of the rule position concluded that the authorities are well within their right in withholding the pensionary benefits, including Gratuity, Leave Salary, differential salary for the suspension period, in view of the pendency of the criminal case against the petitioner-employee.
Court, however, on the pendency of the criminal case for a lengthy time said the respondents are duty bound to make every endeavor so as to ensure that the proceedings pending against the petitioner before the Court of competent jurisdiction are taken to their logical conclusion.
The case of the petitioner is pending for more than 20 years as the FIR in question has been lodged in the year 1997. “The petitioner cannot be kept in a lurch for his entire lifetime on the ground of a case being registered against him and deprived of his rights as may have accrued to him during the course of his service carrier and subsequent retirement”, Justice Magrey recorded.
Court also said that it is also not apparent as to why the case has remained pending before the Trial Court, despite the fact that the challan, in the case, has been filed before the Court in November, 2007, that is more than 10 years ago.
The case set up by the petitioner before the court was that he was appointed in the respondent Department way back in the year 1984 and accordingly retired from service after attaining the age of superannuation on 31st of August, 2016.
He has further stated that the competent authority cleared and verified all the NOCs/ documents produced by him from the concerned quarters, whereafter he was issued the requisite retirement certificate by his superiors. He further pleaded that despite fulfilling all the formalities by him but the respondents did not release the post-retirement benefits in his favour.
Department in opposition to the plea of the petitioner filed objections wherein it has been stated that the post-retirement benefits of the petitioner have been withheld because he was involved in FIR No.25/2014 registered by Police Station, Vigilance Organization, Kashmir for the commission of offences punishable under Section 5(1) (C) (D) read with Section 5(2) J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120-B RPC for abuse of official position and illegally/ fraudulently misappropriating an amount of Rs 2, 47, 993 during the period 2009-12.
Court while referring the provision of CSR said admittedly the petitioner is facing trial in case FIR No. 25/2014, which has been instituted before his retirement. “Therefore, unless the trial is concluded, petitioner is entitled only to provisional pension which the department has already sanctioned”, read the judgment. “In view of the preceding analysis, the petition of the petitioner is found without any merit, as such, same shall stand dismissed. However, the petitioner shall be paid provisional pension and other dues admissible under rules pending decision in the criminal case”, the Court said.