PATNA HIGH COURT HOLDS THAT TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES WITH OVER 15 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PENSIONARY BENEFITS

Karanveer Singh Khaira and Sumati Arora

Background And Facts Of The Case

In The Registrar General, Patna High Court v. Ram Vyas Dubey and others LPA No. 198 of 2016[i] the Hon’ble High Court of Patna addressing the grievance of countless temporary wage employees extended the benefits of Pension to employees who had been working continuously for over 15 years and reinforced the commitment of State of Bihar to help its poor people.

The facts of the case are, Ram Vyas Dubey was appointed as daily wage (literate) Mazdoor on 18th April 1985 and thereafter, on 1st May 1988, he was regularized in service and made an Ad hoc Assistant which is apparent from the note sheet of the then Registrar Inspection, dated 6th June 1994 and further by virtue of order dated 11th August 1994 he was recalled holding that employees shall continue as daily wage with effect from the date of issuance the order.

In 2003, he took the departmental examination but didn’t pass. However, in 2004, he passed the examination and was subsequently appointed as an Assistant on March 18, 2004, as per Memo No. 2675.[ii] and ultimately, he superannuated from service on 31st October 2010. Having worked continuously for more than 25 years in office, he filed representations before the appellant, however, by the impugned letter dated 10.7.2012 Ram Vyas Dubey was held to be not entitled for grant of pension on account of the fact that the period of his service was less than 10 years.

The Respondent no 1, Ram Vyas Dubey in the present Letter Patents Appeal (‘LPA’)[iii] brought Civil Writ No.15761 of 2013 before the Patna High Court praying therein that the letter dated 10 July 2012 debarring him from pension on account of his regular service being less than 10 years be quashed and the pension amount be determined as he had retired on 31 October 2010 for he had been working in the department for more than 35 years. It was ordered on 12 November 2014 by a Single Judge Bench that Ram Vyas Dubey was entitled to Pensionary Benefits by directing the respondents to consider the period of service rendered by him from May 1988 to 10th August 1994, to be added to the period of his service from 18.3.2004 to 31.10.2010.

Arguments By The Appellant

The appellant in the present LPA argues that the Single Judge failed to appreciate that Ram Vyas Dubey (writ petitioner) was not entitled for pension in view of the fact that he had not completed 10 years of regular service as a permanent employee. For the period from 1988 to 1994, although he had worked as a regular employee butthe order of regularization was recalled and the petitioner was again placed as Daily Wage Employee. Ram Vyas Dubey had rendered 18 years 11 months as Casual Literate Mazdoor / Daily Wager and only 6 years 7 months 13 days as a permanent employee and thus in the light of the Bihar Gazette Notification dated 23 September 2009 as per which a minimum period of ten years regular service is required for becoming eligible for  pension, Ram Vyas Dubey was not entitled to the same. It was submitted that Rules 59 and 63 of the Bihar Pension Rules, 1950[iv] were not applicable in the case of Ram Vyas Dubey.

Respondents Contention

Ram Vyas Dubey’s (respondent No. 1) counsel argued that the Single Judge’s ruling was well-reasoned and took into account both the Government letter dated 12 August 1969 and Rule 58 of the Bihar Pension Rules[v]. The aforementioned order is lawful, and because the current appeal lacks merit, it should be rejected.

Judgement And Reasoning By The Court

The High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the order by Single Judge Bench. In reaching this decision, the High Court thoroughly examined Memo No. Pen1024/69/11779 F., dated 12.8.1969,[vi] and Rules 58 and 59 of the Bihar Pension Rules.[vii]

The impugned order took into account the provisions of Rule 58 of the Bihar Pensions Rules, which outline three conditions that a government servant must fulfil to be eligible for a pension. The first condition is being employed under the government. The second condition requires the employment to be of a substantive and permanent nature, and the third condition states that the payment should be made by the government. The counsel representing the appellants argued that Ram Vyas Dubey was not a “permanent employee” of the government for a continuous period of ten years. However, Rule 59 allows the government to designate certain services as eligible for a pension, even if the conditions of Rule 58 are not met.

In line with this provision, the state government issued a Memo No. Pen1024/69/11779 F., dated 12.8.1969, acknowledging the situation faced by a large number of temporary workers employed by the government who would encounter hardship if they were not granted a pension. Through this memorandum, the government established the eligibility for pension of temporary government officers who had been employed for more than fifteen years.

Hence, the judgement affirmed the provision in Rule 59 that allows the government to extend pension benefits to temporary employees who have served for an extended period.

Analysis

The impugned order passed by the Single Judge Bench has been upheld in this judgment, which ordered the release of pension after calculating the period of service of Ram Vyas Dubey.

The Single Judge Bench noted that Ram Vyas Dubey was regularized from 1.5.1988 to 10.8.1994 until this benefit was withdrawn by an order dated 11th August 1994, which stated that employees shall continue as daily wage workers. It is undisputed that the petitioner worked as a daily wage employee thereafter until he passed the departmental exam in the year 2004. He finally superannuated from service in 2010, and throughout this period, it constituted his permanent service.

In addition to Rule 58 of the same act, Rule 59 provides an exception that allows the government to notify individuals who are eligible for pension even if they do not fulfil the conditions specified in Rule 58. On the directions of the State Government, a specific kind of service rendered in a non-gazetted capacity shall be qualified for a pension. By exercising the power under Rule 59 vide Memo No. Pen1024/69/11779 F., dated 12.8.1969 the Government granted the status of pensionability to temporary workers who were previously deemed ineligible for pension benefits. The objective of granting a pension to those employed temporarily for more than 15 years is specified in Clause 2 of the memo[viii], which is to ease difficulties in the lives of employees post-retirement. Clause 3 of the Memo[ix] made the service of these temporary government servants pensionable under Rule 59 of the Bihar Pension Rules 1950 if it is not confirmed in any post and is continuing for more than 15 years.

Considering this memo, the services rendered by Ram Vyas Dubey from 1.5.1988 to 10.8.1994 cannot be ignored in calculating his total period of service for the Government. It is observed in the upheld order that while working as a regular employee and as an Ad hoc assistant, the petitioner fulfilled all three conditions mentioned in Rule 58 of the Bihar Pension Rules, which are required for qualifying for pension. Hence, he is qualified to receive a pension from the state government under the Bihar Pension Rules.

The learned Single Judge Bench also observed in the impugned order that the state was mistaken in calculating the period of service of Ram Vyas Dubey (writ petitioner), and he is certainly entitled to a pension if the period of service from 1.5.1988 to 10.8.1994 is added to his service from 18th March 2004 to 31 October 2010. This judgment upholds the same order.

Conclusion

The judgement in The Registrar General, Patna High Court v. Ram Vyas Dubey and others LPA No. 198 of 2016 affirms the importance of recognising contributions of temporary employees in the government workforce and reinforces the utilitarian stand of State Government in ensuring financial stability for them after retirement. The judgment upheld the order of the Single Judge Bench to grant a pension to the writ petitioner (respondent) for his service. The High Court considered Rule 58 of the Bihar Pension Rules, which sets forth the conditions for qualifying for a pension. It was observed that Writ Petitioner fulfilled all three conditions mentioned in Rule 58 during his tenure as a regular employee and as an ad hoc assistant. Additionally, the Court referenced Rule 59, which allows the government to designate certain services as eligible for a pension, even if the conditions of Rule 58 are not fully met. By virtue of Memo No. Pen1024/69/11779 F., dated 12.8.1969, the government acknowledged the hardships faced by temporary government employees and made their service pensionable if they had served for more than 15 years. Therefore, considering the memo and the fulfilment of the necessary conditions, the Court determined that Ram Vyas Dubey is entitled to receive a pension.


[i]The Registrar General, Patna High Court v. Ram Vyas Dubey and others LPA No. 198 of 2016.

[ii]Memo No. 2675 dt. 18/03/2004.

[iii]Letter patent appeal (LPA) is an appeal against a decision of a single judge to another bench of the same court.

[iv]The Bihar Pension Rules, 1950, r 59 and 63.

[v]ibid, r 58.

[vi]Memo No. Pen1024/69/11779 F. dt. 12.8.1969.

[vii]The Bihar Pension Rules, 1950, r 58 and 59.

[viii]ibid 6, Clause 2.

[ix] ibid 6, Clause 3.


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