The Supreme Court adjudicated in a matter where the family of a person was awarded invalid person by the Tribunal Court despite the person not completing the minimum period of employment as stipulated in the Orissa Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1992.
A three judge bench comprising of Justice R Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that “The condition of qualifying service prescribed in the Pension Rules must be satisfied to become eligible for invalid pension and the arguments made to the contrary that invalid pension can be claimed under Rule 39 without satisfying the stipulated qualifying service mentioned in the same Rules, do not appeal to us.”
In the present case the Odisha Administrative Tribunal observed that the husband of the appellant was entitled to the pension for invalids under Rule 39 of Pension Rules and directed the authorities to sanction the pension after regularizing the service records of the deceased employee.
It was however brought to the Court’s notice that the applicant was not eligible because the Rule 39 itself was read along with Rule 47 and 56 that stated that for a person to be eligible for pension, the person needed to work for a minimum period of ten years and the consequences for those who did not fulfill the criteria. It was also noted that in case of gratuity and other claims, no further claim was raised of this fashion. The SC stated that “An employee becomes entitled to pension by stint of his long service for the employer and, therefore, it should be seen as a reward for toiling hard and long for the employer. The Pension Rules provide for a qualifying service of 10 years for such entitlement. When the question arises as to how certain provisions of the Pension Rules are to be understood, it would be appropriate to read the provision in its context which would mean reading the statute as a whole.” The SC also noted that no such claim was made by the party herself but were awarded by the Tribunal Court and the HC irrespective of this fact. Regarding this the SC said “Such additional munificence, in addition to the job provided to the first respondent under the Rehabilitation Assistance Scheme for the sustenance of the deceased’s family, in our view, was unwarranted and the impugned order cannot be sustained.”
State of Orissa v. Maju Naik, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9204 OF 2019