Supreme Court Imposes ₹5 Lakh Costs On Tamil Nadu For Appealing Against Order To Grant Arrears Of Pension To 75 Year Old
The Supreme Court has imposed Rs. 5 Lakh costs on the state of Tamil Nadu for filing a petition again on the issue which was already concluded by the Court with respect to entitlement to pension of 75-year-old PG Venugopal.
"At the outset, it is required to be noted that as such the State ought not to have filed the present Special Leave Petition. Despite the fact that the issue with respect to entitlement of pension by the respondent was concluded up to this Court, still thereafter, the State had an audacity to contend that the respondent was not entitled to pension.", the Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari noted.
In this case, PG Venugopal was appointed in a permanent vacancy as a Conductor in the year 1971 in the erstwhile Tamil Nadu State Transport Department. His services were regularized and thereafter, he was absorbed in the newly formed Pallavan Transport Corporation.
He had requested the Transport Department Chennai to pay the pension in accordance with the Government Order which provided for grant of pension to those employees, who were appointed in the erstwhile Tamil Nadu State Transport Department and thereafter, were deputed to Pallavan Transport Corporation Limited and completed 10 years of service.
As his request remained unheeded, he approached the Labour Court by filing Claim Petition, which was allowed by the Court.
However, the Transport Department failed to pay the computed money value of arrears of pension, which made him file an Execution Petition. Consequent thereto, pension arrears upto March 31, 2009 was paid and thereafter, seeking appropriate directions with regard to payment of regular pension as well as arrears of pension from April 1, 2009, the respondent-PG Venugopal approached Madras High Court.
The Single Judge observed that there is no doubt with regard to entitlement of pension payable to the respondent/writ petitioner as it has been confirmed by the order of the Labour Court, which was further confirmed by Madras High Court and ultimately by the Apex Court and that the respondent also has the requisite qualification of 10 years of service.
The Single Judge directed the respondent/writ petitioner to submit a fresh representation to the Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chennai with regard to his claim with supporting materials and on receipt of the same, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chennai was directed to process and forward the same to the Transport Department Chennai, who was directed to consider and pass necessary orders with regard to payment of regular pension as well as arrears of pension with interest from April 1, 2009 till the payment of regular pension to the respondent/writ petitioner.
Aggrieved by this order, the Transport Department appealed before Division Bench of Madras High Court.
The Division Bench observed that "the act of the appellants in not granting arrears of pension from 01.04.2009 is arbitrary. Once the entitlement of pension of the employee is decided, the appellants are bound to pay the same."
The Division Bench directed that arrears of pension with effect from April 1, 2009 will have to be paid with interest @ 9% per annum on or before March 31, 2022 and from April 1, 2022, regular pension will have to be paid to the respondent/writ petitioner till he survives and after his demise, in case of any surviving legal heir(s), the benefit of family pension will have to be extended to the eligible legal heir(s).
The Transport Department, Chennai filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court contending that the respondent-writ petitioner was not entitled to pension.
AAG V. Krishna Murthy and Advocate Sheikh F. Kalia represented the Petitioners.
Terming it as a frivolous litigation the Supreme Court noted that "Once the issue was concluded up to this court that the respondent is entitled to pension, thereafter, it was not open for the State to again contend post 2009 when the arrears were to be paid that the respondent is not entitled to pension. The aforesaid stand is just in teeth of order passed by this Court. In that view of the matter, there is no substance in the present Special Leave Petition, the same deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed with an exemplary cost, which is quantified at Rs. 5,00,000/-."
The Court expressed that the cost was imposed to send a message to the concerned stakeholders that to file such frivolous litigation in the Courts and wasting the Court's time would entail such consequences.
Cause Title- The Secretary to Government & Anr v. P.G. Venugopal