Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Supreme Court: Pension Scheme must be Interpreted widely

2 min read
Supreme Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: February 12, 2024 at 12:55 IST

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court, while adjudicating on a pension claim under Gujarat Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 2022, emphasized the integral connection between a government servant’s pension and their dedicated service.

The Division Bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Satish Chandra Sharma underscored that pension is a crucial consideration for individuals seeking government employment, serving as recognition for their tireless service.

The case involved an appellant who initially worked for the central government as a Postal Assistant and later joined the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Government of Gujarat, as a Senior Assistant.

Despite serving for around ten years as a postal assistant, the State government only considered the period of his service as a Senior Assistant for pensionary benefits.

Rule 25(ix) of the Pension Rules, which specifies the qualifying service, was central to the appellant’s argument. The rule includes services rendered under the Central Government or its autonomous bodies having a pension scheme, for a government employee absorbed in the state government.

The Supreme Court analyzed the rule and stressed that the interpretation of the pension scheme should be broad and not restrictive. Considering that the appellant’s prior employment under the central government had a pension scheme, the Court asserted that the State Government implicitly absorbed him.

The Court criticized the narrow interpretation applied by the High Court and affirmed the appellant’s right to include the period of service rendered to the Central Government as part of the qualifying service.

Consequently, the Supreme Court directed the State to re-calculate the pensionary benefits and disburse any arrears accordingly.

The ruling exemplifies the Court’s commitment to interpreting pension schemes widely, aligning with the principles of fairness and clarity upheld by the State Government as a model employer.

Case Title: VINOD KANJIBHAI BHAGORA vs. THE STATE OF GUJARAT., Diary No.- 23474 – 2018