Libertatem Magazine

Overpayment, if Not Fault of Employee, Cannot Be Recovered From the Pension: Gauhati High Court

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The Gauhati High Court adhered to the Supreme Court’s precedent decision of the Supreme Court; it stated that if an overpayment is made to an employee during his/her service period because of no fault of his/her own, such overpayment cannot be retrieved from the retirement benefit.

Facts of the Case

When the Petitioner reached superannuation, he retired from his job as an Assistant Teacher at  Dhunaguri Kutum Prathamik Vidyala in the district Lakhimpur. When the matter about payment of his pensionary benefits was processed, the directorate for pension communicated with the school and provided that the Petitioner was paid a salary higher than his scale. Thus, the authorities wanted to deduct the sum from the Petitioner’s pension.

Arguments of the Petitioner

The Appellant’s Counsel argued that recovery from the pensionary benefits could not be made in respect of any salary paid to an employee during his service period for no fault of his own.

Arguments of the Defendants

According to the learned  Counsel, as the Petitioner was paid more than his pay scale, the recovery was to be made from the pension. No man should be wrongfully benefitted. A man should get the pay for his hard work and not otherwise. They also claimed that the correct payment to the Petitioner was supposed to be Rs.537/- per month. The pension should be given accordingly, and not on a higher scale.

Court’s Opinion

The Court said an assessment was to be conducted to check whether the Petitioner has contributed to receiving such excess salary. If it is found that there was no contribution, then the authorities could not insist on recovery. The assessment had to be done within two months.

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