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pensionMisconduct of an employee, unless grave, cannot be a ground for a State to slash post-retirement pensionary benefits, the Delhi High Court has held.

“Suffice it to state that for a retired government servant a cut in pension can be ordered if the misconduct of which he is found guilty is grave. Mere misconduct, without a finding of it being grave, would not empower the competent authority to order a cut in pension,” a Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani said.

The Bench, while disposing of a petition filed by now-retired CRPF commandant N Bhardwaja, quashed an order of pension cut and the action initiated to withdraw a gallantary medal awarded to him for using official vehicle while on casual leave observing that his misconduct was not grave.

The judges said “the penalty imposed upon the petitioner of five per cent cut in pension for six months is set aside and the action initiated to withdraw the gallantry medal awarded to the petitioner is also quashed”.

Mr. Bhardwaja has challenged the charges and penalties imposed for using service car and escort vehicle to return from his residence in Chandigarh to his base at 14 Battalion of CRPF in Amritsar in 1993, an act which was considered serious misconduct and unbecoming of government servant.

The Bench noted that the gallantry medal and the citation were issued conferring an honour upon the petitioner for an operation dated October 4, 2006, which has no connection with the incident dated December 21, 1993, for which the petitioner was named in a charge sheet.

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