Posted On by &filed under High Court, Rajasthan High Court.


Rajasthan High Court
Heer Singh vs University Of Raj. And Anr. on 24 March, 2005
Equivalent citations: RLW 2005 (2) Raj 1474, 2005 (3) WLC 139
Author: V Bali
Bench: V Bali


JUDGMENT

V.K. Bali, J.

1. By this common order, I propose to dispose of five connected civil writ petitions bearing No. 5510/2004, No. 5277/2004, No. 5268/2004, No. 5290/2004 and No/6181/2004 as common questions of facts and law arise in all these matters. Learned counsel appearing for the parties also suggest likewise.

2. The bare minimum facts that however, need a necessary mention have been extracted from S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 5510/2004 Heer Singh v. University of Rajasthan and Anr..

3. The petitioner was appointed in the University of Rajasthan (in short ‘UOR’) as security Guard (Chowkidar) on 8.1.80. Vide order dated 23.11.1987 his services were regularised and regular pay scale was granted to him. He superannuated on 31.5.1994. It is his case that he had worked for 14 years upto the date of his retirement. He made a prayer for grant of pensionary benefits and when his entreaties brought no tangible results, he filed the present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In response to the notice that has been issued by this Court, the respondent University has entered defence and contested the cause of the petitioner primarily on the ground that the petitioner was in employment elsewhere before joining services with the respondent University and was getting pension from his previous employer. He thus was not covered in the category of re-employed pensioner as defined in Regulation 2 of the University Pension Regulations, 1990 (in short ‘Pension Regulations) and was thus, not entitled to any pensionary benefits. It is then pleaded and so urged by the learned counsel for the respondent University that in case the petitioner may be held entitled to pensionary dues, the scale of payment on various heads cannot be governed by Regulations of 1990 as in case of petitioner separate schedule of payment was made.

4. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner vehemently contends that the petitioner was a regular employee of the respondent University. He retired on attaining the age of superannuation and was governed by the Pension Regulations, which were applicable to the University Employees as per Register No. 2 subject to the provisions of proviso (a) to (d) and that the petitioner was not falling in any of the categories of the proviso. He further contends that it has been the consistent practice of the respondent University that only those pensioners are not considered to be reemployed pensioners who have got employment in the University after retirement from the University itself. Therefore, all the employees who have joined in the respondent University after retirement, from the State Government have been granted retiral benefits like pension, gratuity, commutation of pension etc. Learned counsel further contends that the controversy in hand is squarely covered in favour of the petitioner by a judgment of this Court recorded in Sajjan Singh v. University of Rajasthan and Anr., SBCWP No. 2587/96, dated 18.11.2002. This judgment, learned counsel further contends was affirmed by the Division Bench of this Court in DB Civil Special Appeal (W) No. 479/2003 decided on 9.5.2003. Special leave petition against the said judgment of the learned Division Bench bearing No. 8943/2003 was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 27.10.2003.

5. Learned counsel defending the University when controverted with the judgment relied upon by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner which pertains to the same dispute, however, vehemently contends that the relevant rules pertaining to the entitlement of the re-employed employee were not taken into consideration either by the learned Single Judge or by the Division Bench of this Court while affirming the order of the learned Single Judge or for that matter, by the Supreme Court of India.

6. I have heard learned counsel for the parties and examined the relevant records.

7. The facts culminating into the judgment recorded by the learned Single Judge in Writ Petition No. 2587/1996 reveal that the petitioner in that case was appointed as Security Guard on November 29, 1978 by the respondent University. DB Civil Writ Petition No. 94/88 was filed by the Security Guards of the University before this Court for granting pay scale at par with that of Class-IV staff of the University which was allowed on July 20, 1988. The petitioner stood retired on April 30, 1994 on attaining the age of superannuation. He was paid gratuity for 15 years service. He was not satisfied with the same and thus submitted an application to the effect that he was entitled to gratuity on total emolumends. He averred in the writ petition that he was not paid pensionary benefits on the ground that his services as Security Guard were regularised only from 23-11.1987 when the writ petition was filed. He also averred that he was not paid full provident fund amount on the ground that he had not completed required number of years service after 23.11.1987. Cause of the, petitioner was resisted by the respondent University on the ground that he was a retired military personnel and was getting pension from the Army and therefore, the amount of provident fund as admissible to him was paid. It was further averred that as per Regulation 2 of the Pension Regulations, he was not covered for grant of pension as he was a re-employed pensioner.

8. The petitioner submitted rejoinder to the reply reiterating the averments made in the writ petition. He placed reliance upon Regulation 3(2) of the Pension Regulations wherein according to him it was specifically mentioned that in case of employees who do not exercise option within the stipulated time period, it will be deemed that the concerned employee had opted for the pension scheme under the Regulations. It was also averred in the rejoinder that number of employees who were getting pension from the Government of Rajasthan or from the Central Government were getting pension from the University for the services rendered in the University. By way of illustration, he referred the cases of Ajeet Kumar Jain and V.I. Rajagopal. He also placed reliance upon Ismail Khan v. State of Rajasthan and Ors., 1986 (3) SLR 678)—Relied on, Norti Devi v. State of Rajasthan and Anr., 1992 (3) SLR 734, and Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Dharam Prakash Sharma and Anr., 1999 Lab. IC 177, in support of his submissions.

9. Learned Single Judge after making reference of the Division Bench judgment vide which the services of the petitioner had been regularised and various directions that were given as also after referring to the provisions of the Pension Regulations, held “undeniably the petitioner was retired from service on attaining the prescribed age of retirement. In the rejoinder submitted by the petitioner it was specifically stated that Shri Ajeet Kumar Jain who was retired from the respondent University on February 28, 1998 from the post of Associate Director, Adult Education was granted pension by the University vide PPO No. UOR/P.552 and he was already getting pension from the Government of Rajasthan vide PPO No. 28736(R). Shri V.I. Rajagopal, who was retired Home Secretary of the State of Rajasthan is also getting pension from the respondent University. There is no reason to disbelieve these facts which are supported by the documents Annexures 3 & 4. In not granting the retiral benefits to the petitioner as per the provisions of the 1990 Regulations, the action of the respondent University is violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Thus, the petitioner is entitled to all the retiral benefits as per the provisions of 1990 Regulations.”

10. The operative part of the judgment passed by the learned Single Judge reads as follows:

“In the result, the writ petition succeeds and stands allowed. The petitioner shall be entitled to all retiral benefits from the date of superannuation i.e., April 30, 1994. The arrears of the retiral benefits shall be paid to the petitioner within a period of 60 days, failing which the petitioner shall be entitled to interest on the due amount at the rate of 12% per annum. In the circumstances there shall be no order as to costs.”

11. A reading of the judgment of the learned Single Judge would clearly manifest that the respondent had indeed raised a plea with regard to non-entitlement of the pensionary benefits to the petitioner in the said case on the ground that he was a re-employed person getting pension already for the services rendered by him with the State. This plea, it is further clear was rejected by specifically holding that the action of the respondent University in not granting pensionary benefits to the said petitioner would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Even though no specific mention might have been made to the concerned Regulations dealing with the entitlement of re-employed employee to the pensionary dues, it is quite clear that the plea was raised and rejected even though on the ground of discrimination. This judgment, as mentioned above, has been affirmed not only by the Division Bench of this Court but also by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

12. The contention of the learned counsel for the respondent University that specific Regulations dealing with the entitlement of the re-employed person of pensionary benefits was not specifically discussed and therefore, the judgment rendered by the learned Single Judge, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court is per incuriam and has thus necessarily to be rejected. The orders passed by the learned Single Judge so affirmed, as mentioned above, have since been implemented by the University. No occasion arises to take a view different than the one taken by the learned Single Judge in Sajjan Singh v. University of Rajasthan (supra).

13. The other contention of the learned counsel in view of the operative part of the judgment reproduced above has also to be rejected.

14. In view of the observations made above, this Court would issue the same directions as were issued by the learned Single Judge in Sajjan Singh v. University of Rajasthan (supra), reproduced above. So ordered. In the facts and circumstances of the case, however, the parties are left to bear their own costs.

15. All the five writ petitions stand disposed of.


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