The Allahabad High Court on May 8, 2019, has held that no pension/gratuity is payable to the government servant during pendency of disciplinary/judicial proceedings/enquiry by Administrative Tribunal, until conclusion of the proceedings/enquiry against them and issue of final orders thereon by the competent authority.
A Full Bench comprising of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal while hearing a batch of petitions, however, stated that as per Civil Service Regulations the “government servant is entitled to provisional pension equal to maximum pension during pendency of the proceedings until conclusion.”
The controversy involved in the batch of petitions was in regard to entitlement of the government servant to receive death-cumretirement gratuity on superannuation or otherwise pending judicial proceedings.
The High Court referred to a Division Bench judgment in the case of Shri Pal Vaish v. U.P. Power Corporation Limited and another to hold that the term ‘pension’ include ‘gratuity’ as provision of Article 474 of the Civil Service Regulations read with Article 41 indicates the same in reference to Article 351A.
On the basis of these regulations, the Bench observed the following:-
- 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 351A 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 919A 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.
Read the judgment below.