Says issue already settled by Division Bench in 2010
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has described as “deplorable” the state of Punjab’s action of not granting pension benefits under the old pension scheme to an employee whose services were regularised after the commencement of the new contributory provident fund, though he was already working on a temporary or ad hoc basis.
Justice Harsimran Singh Sethi asserted the action of the respondents was appalling in view of the fact that the law on granting the benefits under the old scheme had already been settled by a Division Bench in the case of “Harbans Lal versus Punjab and others” decided on August 31, 2010.
The judgment made it clear an employee already working on a temporary or ad hoc basis as on January 1, 2004 — when the new contributory provident fund scheme came into being — would be governed by the old pension scheme only.
The matter was brought to the High Court’s notice after employee Prem Chand filed a petition against the state and other respondents. Referring to the facts of the case, Justice Sethi asserted contributory provident fund scheme was made applicable in the petitioner-employee’s case when he retired in May 2016, even though it was incumbent upon the state and other respondent-authorities to apply the judgment passed in Harbans Lal’s case to his matter as well.
“What to expect of applying the judgment so as to grant the necessary relief, the petitioner was rather forced to approach this court for redress of his grievances…. The counsel for the respondents has not been able to dispute the fact that the petitioner’s case is covered by the judgment, so as to grant him the pension benefit as per the old scheme. Hence, it is held the claim of the petitioner for the grant of pension benefits be considered under the old scheme,” Justice Sethi asserted.
Justice Sethi also made it clear the petitioner’s total length of service was to be taken into consideration as qualifying service, including the daily wage service rendered by him from September 1987 to October 2004. Justice Sethi added it was a settled principle of law that daily wage service was to be treated as a qualifying service for computing the pension benefits when the service was regularised by the department.
Justice Sethi also ruled the petitioner was entitled to grant of interest on the pension and its arrears, to be calculated by the respondents at 6 per cent per annum “from the date the petitioner’s pension became due till its release to him to be paid within two months from receiving the order’s copy”.