State of Bihar vs Rajmati Devi & Anr. case

State of Bihar vs Rajmati Devi & Anr. case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 3900­3901 OF 2022
The State of Bihar & Ors.             ..Appellant (S)
Versus
Rajmati Devi & Anr.                        ..Respondent (S)
J U D G M E N T 
M. R. Shah, J.
1. Feeling   aggrieved   and   dissatisfied   with   the   impugned
judgment   and   order   dated   11.04.2017   passed   by   the
Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Patna in
Letters   Patent   Appeal   No.   1099/2016,   by   which,   the
Division Bench of the High Court has dismissed the said
appeal   preferred   by   the   State   and   has   confirmed   the
judgment   and   order   dated   02.09.2015   passed   by   the
learned Single Judge holding that respondent No. 1 being
widow of the deceased employee would be entitled for grant
1
of family pension from the date of death of her husband,
the State of Bihar has preferred the present appeals.
2. The husband of respondent No. 1 herein joined the Bihar
Research Society, an autonomous society registered under
Societies Act, as a peon. The said society was taken over
by the Government of Bihar vide Bihar Research Society
(Taking Over) Act, 2007. By resolution dated 31.08.2005,
the   State   abolished   the   Old   Pension   Rules   i.e.,   Bihar
Pension   Rules,   1950   and   replaced   the   same   with   New
Pension   Scheme   i.e.,   Bihar   Government   Servant
Contributory Pension Scheme, 2005, w.e.f. 01.09.2005. As
per the New Pension Scheme, the employees appointed
after   31.08.2005   shall   be   governed   by   the   new
contributary pension scheme under which the government
employees appointed after 31.08.2005 shall not be entitled
to the pension/family pension. The Bihar Research Society
(Taking Over) Act, 2007 (hereinafter referred to as the Act,
2007) came into force on 02.03.2009 resulting in taking
over   of   the   Institute/Society   where   the   husband   of
respondent No. 1 was working. The husband of respondent
2
No. 1 died on 23.03.2013 while in service. The employees
of the aforesaid Society were taken into government service
vide   order   dated   25.03.2014   w.e.f.   02.03.2009.   A
corrigendum   came   to   be   issued   by   the   State   of   Bihar
amending   the   employment   order   dated   25.03.2014
substituting   the   word   “appointed”   with   the   word
“absorbed”.   Clause   6   was   inserted   by   the   corrigendum
stating that prior to date of acquisition, the service would
not be calculated as government service. That respondent
No. 1 filed the writ petition before the High Court praying
for family pension and other retiral benefits. By judgment
and   order   dated   02.09.2015,   the   learned   Single   Judge
allowed the said writ petition and directed the State to pay
the family pension to respondent No. 1 from the date of her
husband’s death i.e., 23.03.2013.  
2.1 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and
order  passed   by  the   learned  Single   Judge  allowing  the
family   pension,   the   State   preferred   the   Letters   Patent
Appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court. By the
impugned   judgment   and   order,   the   High   Court   has
3
dismissed the said appeal and has confirmed the judgment
and order passed by the learned Single Judge, which has
given rise to the present appeals.
  
3. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant has
vehemently   submitted   that   pension   and   family   pension
was available to the employees of the State Government
who   were   governed   by   the   Old   Pension   Rules.   It   is
submitted that when the husband of respondent No. 1 was
absorbed   in   the   year   2014   w.e.f.   02.03.2009,   the   Old
Pension Rules were abolished and the New Contributory
Pension   Scheme   was   replaced.   It   is   submitted   that
therefore, the Old Pension Rules were not applicable to the
husband of respondent No. 1 and therefore, respondent
No. 1 shall not be entitled to the family pension under the
Old Pension Rules. 
3.1 It is submitted that the Old Pension Rules were abolished
on 01.09.2005 and thereafter, the New Pension Scheme
came   into   force,   therefore,   New   Pension   Scheme   was
applicable to all the employees of the State Government,
who were appointed/absorbed on or after 01.09.2005.
4
3.2 It is submitted that a corrigendum dated 22.06.2015 was
also issued by the Government making it abundantly clear
that the term of Government service will be calculated only
from the cut­off date i.e., 02.03.2009 and the services of
the   adjusted   employees,   prior   to   date   of   acquisition   in
Bihar   Research   Society   shall   not   be   calculated   as   a
government service. It is submitted that in that view of the
matter, the High Court has committed a grave error in
allowing   the   family   pension   applying   the   Old   Pension
Rules, 1950.
3.3 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to allow the
present appeals.    
4. The   present   appeals   are   vehemently   opposed   by   Ms.
Rachitta   Rai,   learned   counsel   appearing   on   behalf   of
respondent   No.   1.   It   is   vehemently   submitted   that   the
husband of respondent No. 1 was absorbed in the State
Government   service   w.e.f.   02.03.2009   by   way   of
adjustment vide Section 5 of the Act, 2007. It is submitted
5
that it was not a fresh appointment and therefore, his
services were to be treated as continuous. 
4.1 It is submitted that the husband of respondent No. 1 died
in   harness   and   while   in   service   and   therefore,   as   per
clause 7(1) to the family pension scheme, on the death of
her husband who died while in service, respondent No. 1
was entitled to the family pension and the family pension
scheme being beneficial scheme, both, the learned Single
Judge as well as the Division Bench of the High Court
have rightly held that respondent No. 1 is entitled to the
benefit of the family pension scheme.   
5. We  have  heard learned counsel appearing on behalf of
both the parties at length. 
6. At the outset, it is required to be noted that the husband
of   respondent   No.   1   came   to   be   absorbed   in   the
government service in the year 2014 w.e.f. 02.03.2009. Till
02.03.2009,   he   remained   the   employee   of   the   Bihar
Research   Society,   of   which   he   was   an   employee   and
working.   The   Old   Pension   Rules,   1950   came   to   be
6
abolished and the New Contributory Pension Scheme came
to   be   introduced   w.e.f.   01.09.2005.   Under   the   New
Contributory Pension Scheme, there is no provision for
pension/family pension. As per the Scheme, all those who
are appointed after 31.08.2005 shall be governed by the
New Contributory Pension Scheme. Therefore, at the time
when the husband of respondent No. 1, who died in the
year   2013,   was   absorbed,   the   Old   Pension   Rules   were
abolished and the New Contributory Pension Scheme was
in   existence.   As   per   the   corrigendum   issued   in   the
appointment order and as per clause 6, the prior service
rendered   by   the   concerned   employee   prior   to   his
absorption shall not be treated as a government service.
Therefore, the husband of respondent No. 1 can be said to
be a government servant and in government service w.e.f.
02.03.2009 only.  Therefore, the  husband  of respondent
No.   1   was   governed   by   the   New   Contributory   Pension
Scheme   under   which   there   is   no   provision   for   the
pension/family   pension.   Therefore,   the   High   Court   has
committed a grave error in directing the appellant to pay
the family pension to respondent No. 1 applying the Old
7
Pension Rules, which were appliable prior to 31.08.2005.
The aforesaid aspect has not been considered by the High
Court   at   all   and   the   learned   Single   Judge   simply
considered that on the death of the husband of respondent
No. 1, who died in harness while in service, respondent No.
1 is entitled to the family pension under family pension
scheme. However, the High Court has not at all considered
that on coming into force the New Contributory Pension
Scheme,   no   government   employee   appointed   after
31.08.2005 shall be entitled to any other benefit except
under the New Contributory Pension Scheme. In that view
of the matter, respondent No. 1 shall not be entitled to the
family pension under the Old Pension Rules, which were
not appliable at the time when the husband of respondent
No. 1 came to be absorbed in the government service w.e.f.
02.03.2009. 
7. In view of the above discussion and for the reasons stated
above, the impugned judgment(s) and order(s) passed by
the High Court deserve(s) to be quashed and set aside.
Accordingly,   the   judgments   and   orders   passed   by   the
8
learned Single Judge as well as the Division Bench of the
High Court holding that respondent No. 1 shall be entitled
to the family pension under the Old Pension Rules are
hereby quashed and set aside. It is observed and held that
as the husband of respondent No. 1 was absorbed in the
government   service   only   w.e.f.   02.03.2009,   he   shall   be
governed   by   the   New   Pension   Scheme   i.e.,   Bihar
Government Servant Contributory Pension Scheme, 2005.
The present appeals are allowed, accordingly. No costs.      
                       
…………………………………J.
              (M. R. SHAH)
………………………………J.
    (B.V. NAGARATHNA)
New Delhi, 
May 20, 2022 
9

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Questions on Indian Constitution for UPSC 2020 Pre Exam

संविधान की प्रमुख विशेषताओं का उल्लेख | Characteristics of the Constitution of India

भारतीय संविधान से संबंधित 100 महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न उतर