Decide Relevant Pension Scheme Applicability and Disburse Pension & Gratuity to Widowed Wife: Patna HC

Decide Relevant Pension Scheme Applicability and Disburse Pension & Gratuity to Deceased Teacher’s Wife: Patna HC
17.08.2021 | Education News | EduLegaL  | |
3rd August 2021, Patna High Court in Sudha Devi Vs The State of Bihar and Ors — Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.15564 of 2017, directed the Human Resources Development Department of Govt. of Bihar, to decide expeditiously the pension scheme applicable to deceased primary teacher and provide eligible pension and gratuity to his widowed wife.  
The Honorable Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh held: 

“In the absence of any clear pleadings on record on the crucial aspects of the matter for determining the petitioner’s claim, the Court deems it fit and proper to dispose of this writ application with a direction to respondent No.2 to take a decision as to whether the petitioner’s claim for family pension and gratuity under the Bihar Pension Rules, 1950 is made out or not” 

The deceased husband of the petitioner was appointed as Supervisor in Non-Formal Education Programme run by the Bihar Government in 1985. Due to non-adherence to guidelines and difficulties in improving the quality of Informal Centers by supervision, the Government of Bihar decided to remove all Supervisors engaged in the said scheme by an order dated 12.12.1994. A limited competitive exam, restricted to dismissed Supervisors was held by Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) for the appointment of the post of Primary Teacher. Accordingly, he was appointed as a Primary Teacher in the year 2004. 
The government of Bihar through the Memo No 1964 dated 31.08.2005, declared that a new contributory pension scheme will be implemented for appointments made after 01.09.2005. This scheme was the adoption of a similar scheme of Government of India implemented from 01.01.2004. New Rules were formulated for appointment and service conditions of Panchayat Primary Teachers in 2006. The question was raised before the same court in Pramila Kumari and Ors Vs. State of Bihar and Ors — CWJC No. 8611 of 2007, as to which rules apply to teachers appointed before enforcement of Rules of 2006. The court held that service conditions of such persons shall be governed by the rules as existing on the date of the recommendations made by the BPSC. 
After the death of the petitioner’s husband in 2012, District Program Officer (Establishment) requested the Accountant General of Bihar for payment of pension. By a letter dated 12.12.2013, Account General noted that all Government servants appointed after 01.01.2004 are covered under the new contributory pension scheme. However, the petitioner contended that the Bihar Pension Rules, 1950 which were existing on the date of recommendations are applicable instead of the new pension scheme which takes effect from 01.09.2005, as the appointment was made in 2004. The petitioner argued that for lapses on the part of the respondent, she cannot be denied her legal rights.  
The court observed that there are contravening submissions as to the enforcement date of the new pension scheme. The Accountant General stated that the date of application was from 01.01.2004 whereas the memo of the government read that the scheme will be applicable from 01.09.2005. Therefore, the court disposed of the petition and directed the respondents to decide which scheme applies to the petitioners and provide for pension amount and gratuity accordingly.  
Vaibhav Karadale | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL

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