Services Rendered As Work Charged Cannot Be Counted For Purpose Of Pension: Holds Supreme Court
The Supreme Court recently held that denying pension after rendering service as work charged for a number of years on the ground that they have not completed the qualifying service can be said to be unfair and illegal.
A Two Judge Bench of Justice M.R Shah and Justice C.T Ravikumar reiterated that there is always a difference and distinction between a regular employee appointed on a substantive post and a work charged employee working under work charged establishment.
Therefore, "the services rendered as work charged cannot be counted for the purpose of pension / quantum of pension", added the Bench.
Advocate Amit Pawan appeared for the Appellant and AOR Raj Bahadur Yadav along with Advocate Abhinav Mukerji appeared for the Respondents.
In a nutshell, the High Court while upholding Rule 5(v) of the Work Charged Establishment Revised Service Conditions (Repealing) Rules, 2013, had held that the period spent in the work charged establishment would be counted only to the extent of the shortfall in the qualifying period of service for grant of pension, which shall be made up by adding that period spent under the work charged establishment and that the entire period spent under the work charged establishment would not be considered.
After considering the submissions, the Apex Court noted that the respective Appellants were working as work charged under the work charged establishment in the State, and their services were regularized under the Rules, 2013 and the follow-up notification of the Finance Department vide Circular No. 10710 dated Oct 17, 2013.
Thus, the Court observed that Rule 5(v) of the Rules, 2013 as such can be said to be beneficial to such work-charged employees, whose services have been regularized subsequently, added the Court.
“As per Rule 5(v), even if the minimum requirement of 10 years of service (qualifying service) for pension is not met, in that case also, the service rendered as a work charged to be added for qualifying service for pension. Therefore, the efforts have been made by the State Government to see that after rendering services for number of years as work charged, and thereafter, their services have been regularized, they may not be denied the pension on the ground that they have not completed the qualifying service for pension” added the Court.
The Court observed that Rule 5(v) is beneficial also in favour of such work charged employees, whose services have been regularized subsequently, and they may not be deprived of the pension on the ground that they have not completed the qualifying service for pension.
"Thus, the Larger Bench of the High Court has rightly observed and held that for the purpose of pension, only such period from the work charged tenure would be added for making the service of an employee, who has been regularized to qualify him for pension," added the present Bench.
The Apex Court therefore dismissed the appeals and concluded that the service rendered as work charged after their services have been regularized under the regularization scheme, namely, the Rules, 2013, and the Circular, shall be counted for the purpose of qualifying service for pension only as per Rule 5(v) of the Rules, 2013.
Cause title: Uday Pratap Thakur and Ors. v. State of Bihar and Ors.