At, Central Administrative Tribunal Guwahati Bench Guwahati
By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. MANJULA DAS
By, JUDICIAL MEMBER
For the Applicant: H.K. Das, R. Talukdar, U. Pathak, D.J. Das, Advocates. For the Respondents: S.K. Ghosh, Addl. C.G.S.C.
1. By this OA applicant makes a prayer to quash and set aside the impugned communication dated 15.12.2014 (Annexure-12) issued by the Sr. Accounts Officer (Pension), O/o of the Director of Accounts (Postal) and grant all consequential service benefits and to direct the respondents to grant the applicant pension w.e.f. 01.04.2012 followed by the benefit of revision with all consequential benefits.
2. Mr.D.J.Das, learned counsel for the applicant submitted that applicant was engaged as Extra Departmental Agent (EDA in short) on 17.11.1971, and thereafter vide order dated 16.10.2002 applicant was appointed as Group D in the pay scale of Rs.5200-20200/- with Grade Pay of Rs.1800/- against a vacant post at Hajo Sub Office as Night Chowkidar. Applicant retired from service on 31.03.2012. Learned counsel for the applicant further submitted that though the applicant was granted retirement gratuity, he was not granted pension because of not having qualifying service for pension i.e. 10 years.
3. According to the learned counsel, the applicant completed 9 years 7 months and 5 days thus could not fulfill the required qualifying service for pension. Learned counsel further submitted that applicant served ad EO Agent for 31 years since 1971 to 2002. Applicant submitted representation to meet up the shortfall of qualifying service by reckoning at least 50% of 30 years service rendered as EDA, however, the respondents vide impugned order dated 15.12.2014 rejected the prayer of the applicant.
4. Learned counsel for the applicant submitted that similar issue has already been decided by the CAT. Madras Bench in OA.1264/2002 [Sri M.R.Palamswamy vs UOI] on 18.04.2002 wherein the Madras Bench directed to count at least 50% of ED service which calculating qualifying service for pension after absorption as Group D. The said order was assailed by the Department before the Hon’ble Madras High Court vide WP(C} No.45465/2002 which was dismissed on 04.10.2007. The SLP No.13829/2008 was also dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide judgment and order dated 17.10.2008.
5. Learned counsel further submitted that in view of the above decisions, 50% of the ED services be counted for the purpose of granting pension to the applicant.
6. The respondents have filed the written statement contesting the claim of the applicant. No rejoinder has been filed by the applicant.
7. Mr.S.K.Ghosh, learned Addl. C.G.S.C. appearing for the respondents submitted that applicant did not complete the minimum qualifying service of 9 years 9 months to get pension as prescribed under Directorate letter NoA-1/05-Pen dated 11.11.2005. Learned counsel submitted that the Department had filed Civil Appeal bearing no.13675-13676 of 2015 arising out of SLP(C) No. 17035-17036 of 2013 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a similar case. The Hon’ble Supreme vide judgment and order dated 24.11.2015 interfered with the impugned directions and allowed the appeals filed by the Department. According to the learned counsel, in the view of the said decision, the applicant is not entitled to any relief.
8. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties, perused the pleadings and the decisions relied upon.
9. Admittedly, the applicant has not fulfilled the requisite period of service for grant of pension. Rule 49(3) of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 provides that “in calculating the length of qualifying service, a fraction of three months and above shall be treated as a completed one half year and reckoned as qualifying service”. Even this Rule does not help the cause of the applicant inasmuch as the applicant had completed 9 years 7 months and 5 days of service only. The applicant has relied on the decision of the Madras Bench in M.R.Palanisamy (supra) whereby the following directions were issued:-
“(b) The first respondent is directed to consider the case of the applicant in a proper perspective and formulate a scheme as has been formulated by the DoPT in their scheme issued in the OM of 12.4.1991 as also in the Railways, by giving weightage for certain extra percentage of service rendered as an ED Agent for reckoning the same as a qualifying service for purposes of pension in respect of persons who get absorbed or promoted against regular Gr. D posts in the department which would enable such employees to get the minimum pension.”
The Hon’ble Madras High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by the Department assailing the said order. The SLP was also dismissed keeping the question of law open to be decided in appropriate case. Therefore, learned counsel for the applicant argued that relief may be granted in favour of the applicant.
10. However, the respondents have annexed the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal Nos.13675-13676 of 2015 dated 24.11.2015. The operative portion of this said order is reproduced below:-
“8. Considering the fact that the DOP&T Circular, 1991, which form the basis of the impugned direction of the learned Tribunal as affirmed by the High Court, pertained to full time causal employees to which category the second respondent does not belong and the provisions of the Rules governing the conditions of service of the respondent as noted above, we are of the view that the impugned directions ought not to have been passed by the learned Tribunal and approved by the High Court. The matter pertains to policy and involves financial implications. That apart, in view of the facts placed before us, as noted above, we deem it proper to interfere with the impugned directions and allow these appeals filed by the Union of India. W
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e, however, make it clear that the pension granted to the second respondent will not be affected by this order and the said respondent will continue to enjoy the benefit of pension in accordance with the provisions of law. 9. Consequently, the appeals ore allowed. We record the appreciation for the service rendered by Shri Nidhesh Gupta, learned amicus curiae.” (emphasis supplied) 11. In view of the above categorical findings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, no relief can be granted to the applicant in this present case. Accordingly, OA is dismissed. 12. There shall be no order as to costs.