The Hon’ble Supreme Court has rendered yet another detailed landmark judgement on pensionary matters on 17 January 2013.
The SC has once again held that there can be no cut-off dates in pensionary matters, in the sense that two sets of retirees cannot be treated differently without there being a just objective.
In the instant case, the SC has held that the observation of the Division Bench of the High Court which had dismissed the pensioners’ petitions stating that retirees retiring after a particular cut-off date were only getting “a little higher” pension, was clearly not in order.
This is how the SC has dealt with the above:-
“…First and foremost, it needs to be understood that the quantum of discrimination is irrelevant to a challenge based on a plea of arbitrariness, under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Article 14 of the Constitution of India ensures to all, equality before the law and equal protection of the laws. The question is of arbitrariness and discrimination. These rights flow to an individual under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The extent of benefit or loss in such a determination is irrelevant and inconsequential. The extent to which a benefit or loss actually affects the person concerned, cannot ever be a valid justification for a court in either granting or denying the claim raised on these counts. The rejection of the claim of the appellants by the High Court, merely on account of the belief that the carry home pension for employees who would retire after 1.6.1988, would be trivially lower than those retiring prior thereto, amounts to bagging the issue pressed before the High Court….”
The SC has struck down the cut-off date of 01-06-1988 which obviously results in grant of full and equal benefits with arrears with effect from 01-06-1988 to the affected pensioners.