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M. Veerannan v/s The Government of Tamil Nadu, Represented by the Secretary to Government, Chennai & Others

    W.P. No. 22766 of 2017 & W.M.P. No. 23891 of 2017 & W.M.P. No. 6259 of 2019
    Decided On, 18 February 2022
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    For the Petitioner: K. Thennan, Advocate. For the Respondents: C. Sangamithirai, Special Government Pleader.

Judgment Text
(Prayer: Writ Petitions filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, calling for the records relating to reduction of monthly pension and recovery from the pension amount order in R.C. No. 1170/2017/IC1 dated 11.01.2017 passed by the Principal Secretary/Commissioner (Pension) Treasuries and Account of Tamil Nadu, Thadander Nagar, Nandanam, Chennai – 35 the Second Respondent herein, and quash the same insofar as the Petitioner is concerned and further direct the Fourth Respondent to repay the pension amount so far recovered from the pension of the Petitioner from March 2017 to till date.)

1. Heard Mr. K.Thennan, Learned Counsel for the Petitioner and Mrs. C.Sangamithirai, Learned Special Government Pleader appearing for the Respondents and perused the materials placed on record, apart from the pleadings of the parties.

2. The Writ Petition challenges the Proceedings in R.C. No. 1170/2017/IC1 dated 11.01.2017 passed by the Second Respondent in which the Petitioner has been informed that amount excessively paid to him would be recovered from his pensionary benefits.

3. This Court at the time of admission on 28.08.2017 had granted an order of interim stay of the recovery alone, which continues to be in force as on date.

4. It is trite law that any administrative action which involves civil consequences must be made consistently with the rules of natural justice, meaning thereby that the person concerned must be informed of the case with supporting evidence against him and he must be given a fair opportunity to meet the case before an adverse decision is taken. The Government of Tamil Nadu in G.O. Ms. No. 286, Finance (Pension) Department dated 28.08.2018 after referring to the principles laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in State of Punjab -vs- Rafiq Masih (Whitewasher) [(2015) 4 SCC 334], has issued detailed instructions providing the manner in which any excess amount paid to Government Servants/Pensioners/Family Pensioners would have to be made.

5. There is nothing to show that either in the impugned order or in the Counter-Affidavit filed by the First Respondent that before the excess payment claimed to have been made was effected, any show cause notice had been issued to the Petitioner calling for an explanation from him with supporting materials relied in that regard. Such incurable flaw in decision making by the Respondents is in violation of the principles of natural justice and would vitiate the impugned order. In that view of the matter, the impugned order passed by the Second Respondent is set aside leaving it open to the concerned authorities to appropriately deal with the matter following due process. It shall be incumbent upon the concerned authorities to issue show cause notice to the Petitioner along with working-sheet of the calculation for the excess payment claimed to have been made to him and after affording full opportunity of personal hearing to him and considering each of the objections that may be raised by him, a reasoned order shall be passed on merits and in accordance with law following the procedure laid down in the instructions in G.O. Ms. No. 286, Finance (Pension) Department dated 28.08.2018 issued by the Government of Tamil Nadu, uninhibited and uninfluenced by the earlier order passed in the matter, and the decision taken shall be communicated to the Petitioner under written acknowledgement.

6. Since it is represented that the Petitioner is now aged 85 years, he may engage the services of an Advocate to represent along with him in the enquiry.

7. In the event of the concerned authorities failing to initiate fresh such proceedi

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ngs within 31.07.2022, any amount recovered so far from the Petitioner pursuant to the impugned order, which has been set aside, shall be refunded to him under written acknowledgment and report of compliance in that regard shall be filed before the Registrar (Judicial) of this Court. In fine, the Writ Petition is ordered on the aforesaid terms. Consequently, the connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed. No costs.