High Court raps state for stopping family pension

Says action not in consonance with law, calls it arbitrary

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has virtually rapped Haryana for stopping family pension to an employee’s son after stating that the action is not in consonance with law and is, rather, arbitrary.

The admonition of sorts by Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi came on a petition filed by Bharat Sharma against Haryana and other respondents. The Bench, during the course of hearing, was told that the petitioner was entitled to family pension after his mother’s death in a road accident in September 1991.

She was, at that time, working as S.S. Mistress in the Education Department. After her demise, the petitioner’s father was sanctioned family pension.

It continued till 1993, when the petitioner’s father remarried. The family pension was sanctioned in the petitioner’s favour, but the respondents abruptly stopped payment of pension to him in 2003.

He moved the court, claiming arrears of family pension, along with interest, from July 1, 2003, till he turned 25. Responding to the notice, the respondents stated that the petitioner did not turn up before the authorities concerned to assure that he was still eligible to get family pension.

As no one turned up to claim family pension, it was stopped in 2003. It was stated that arrears of family pension from July 1, 2003, when it was stopped, till the petitioner turned 25 had already been released.

The petitioner’s counsel did not dispute the receipt of the amount, but argued that the same was released in 2015. As such, the petitioner was entitled to interest on the amount.

Justice Sethi asserted that it was not in dispute that the petitioner’s family pension was being deposited by the respondents in the bank after his father remarried. Once the family pension was being deposited with the bank, there was no question of the petitioner claiming it again.

The respondents stopped the pension without prior information. They could not have done it in the absence of cogent reason. The petitioner was still minor when the family pension was stopped.

“He was dependent upon family pension. Still, the same was stopped by the respondents abruptly without any show-cause notice or seeking any clarification from the petitioner or his guardian. In the facts and circumstances of the present case, stopping of pension by the respondents was not in consonance with law and was an arbitrary act,” Justice Sethi added.

Allowing the petition, the Bench asserted that the petitioner was entitled to interest on the delayed release of family pension at 9 per cent per annum from the date it became due till it was released.

About the case

  • Family pension sanctioned in petitioner’s  favour, but payment stopped  in 2003
  • Petitioner moves court for claiming arrears,  along with interest, till he turned 25
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