The Supreme Court deprecated the State for filing cases and denying the benefit of benevolent schemes such as death-cum-retirement gratuity to the heirs of the deceased and further imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000/- on the State to be paid to the heirs of the deceased.

The Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna observed that “the death-cum-retirement gratuity is the benevolent scheme and the same must be extended to the respondent being heirs/dependent of the deceased employee by the learned Single Judge, confirmed by the Division Bench. In the facts and circumstances of the case, no interference of this Court is called for.”

The Bench was hearing a Civil Appeal arising out of a Special Leave Petition which was filed against the order of the division bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.

The division bench of the High Court, in the impugned order had dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellant and had confirmed the judgment and order passed by the Single Judge and observed that the respondent would be entitled to the benefit of the Government Order and would be entitled to the benefit of death-cum-retirement gratuity being the heirs of the deceased employee.

Advocate Sanjay Kumar Tyagi appeared for the appellants and Adv. Dr. Ritu Bharadwaj appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the deceased employee was working as a Lecturer in 2001 and died while in service in 2009. The original writ petitioner-wife of the deceased applied for the payment of gratuity due to her husband, but the same was rejected on the ground that the husband of the petitioner, while in service, had not opted for retirement at the age of 60 years.

Thereafter, writ petition was preferred before the Single Judge of Allahabad High Court. The Single Judge allowed the writ petition.

The Apex Court noted that as per the Government Order dated September 16, 2009, the deceased would have exercised his option to retire at the age of 60 years on or before July 1, 2010. But he couldn’t exercise the option as he had died even prior to the Government order.

“Therefore, there was no chance for him to exercise any option at all. There is hence no merit in this appeal.” observed the Court.

Further, it was also noted by the Court noted that it was never contended on behalf of the appellants that if the deceased employee would have exercised the option, even then he would not have been entitled to the benefit of death-cum-retirement gratuity under the scheme.

Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Cause Title- State of U.P. & Ors. V. Smt. Priyanka

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