The petitioner of the present case, Nisi @ Nishi Prodhan v. The State of West Bengal, is the wife of a deceased employee who worked for Berhampore Municipality. He belonged to the Group ‘D’ category. She approached this court to claim the pension amount which is due from 2011. The bench constituted of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha. The court ordered the authority to pay within 10 weeks. They wanted the authorities to pay an interest of 6% for the delayed payments.
Facts of the case
The petitioner filed this present petition against them for non-payment of pension. The petitioner’s husband retired from service on August 31st 2010 and the authority disbursed the pension amount in 2011. The pension amount to be paid was Rs 2,16,405. The municipality managed to pay the first instalment of Rs 14,150. However, the petitioner’s husband died in 2014. Since then the pension accrued was Rs 2,02, 255.
The authorities failed to pay the amount until 2020. Aggrieved by this act, the petitioner filed the present petition requesting the court to order the authorities for paying the remaining amount.
Arguments of the Petitioner
The counsel of the petitioner mentioned the disparity in payment with due records. The petitioner’s counsel prayed for directing the authority to pay the remaining amount at the earliest.
Arguments of the Respondents
The Respondent’s counsel pointed out the current financial situation faced by them is the main reason for the non-payment of pension. He pointed out that the Municipality had no intentions to defraud the petitioner and the financial situation that they faced is what prevented them from releasing funds on time. He also mentioned to the court that the matter was heard on August 6th 2020, where they mentioned the same situation to the court. However, the matter was not adjudicated and new dates were given.
The Court’s decision
The court considered the facts and arguments presented before it. His lordship pointed out that pension is a fundamental right of the employee and not to be acknowledged as a mere bounty payment for services. The payment of pension is to acknowledge the effort the employee has taken while working with the organisation. Hence the court directed the authority to pay the remaining amount within 10 weeks from this order. The court also ensured that amount paid is with 8% interest for the delay for all these years.
His Lordship also added a penalty clause in the event of default. He stated that if the authorities fail to make the payment then an interest of 10% will be charged until the date of actual payment. Concerning the arrear amount pending, the court ruled that the payment has to be made with an interest of 6%. In the event of default, an interest of 8% will be charged against the authority as a penalty.
The court also ordered the State government to ensure that there are sufficient funds made available for the municipality to pay the pension amount.
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