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Over Rs 3 lakh recovered from pension of deceased former employee | CAT directs DG Doordarshan, others to consider case of legal heir for release of amount

12:32 AM May 15, 2024 IST | GK LEGAL CORRESPONDENT
over rs 3 lakh recovered from pension of deceased former employee   cat directs dg doordarshan  others to consider case of legal heir for release of amount
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Srinagar, May 14:  The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Srinagar has directed the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, Directorate General (DG) Doordarshan, New Delhi, and others to consider case of the legal heir of a former deceased employee of Doordarshan for release of over Rs 3 lakh that had been recovered from her pension on account of overpayment of Pay and Allowance including leave salary.

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A bench of Judicial Member M S Latif ordered for the release of the amount while setting aside an order dated November 15, 2022, by which claim for reimbursement of Rs 3,16,189 recovered from the former deceased employee of Doordarshan  Haleema Parveen on account of overpayment of Pay and Allowance including leave salary had been rejected.

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The court observed that the retired employee had expired on January 5, 2023, and as such the cause to pursue the matter vested with the present petitioners, who were legal heir of the deceased.

Besides the order dated November 15, 2022, in their plea, the legal heir had assailed an order dated August 22, 2016, by which the recovery of Rs 3,16,189 was ordered to be made by the Senior Accounts Officer Pay and Accounts Officer, Doordarshan.

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Directing the respondents (Doordarshan authorities) to consider the case of the petitioners for the release of the amount already recovered from the pension of the deceased employee, the court said: “It is expected that the needful will be done within six weeks from the date a copy of this judgment is served upon the respondents.”

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The court ordered that the respondents (Doordarshan authorities) should ask for an undertaking from the petitioners that they were the legal heir of the deceased pensioner and were entitled to receive it.

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In their plea, the petitioners through their counsel Hakim Suhail Ishtiaq submitted that the communication dated August 22, 2016, had been issued on the premise that the applicant had received a financial upgradation for which she was not entitled.

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“This premise is illegal for the reason that this upgradation was the replacement of scales and not financial upgradation,” he argued.

He submitted that given the order dated June 3, 2016, the respondents had admitted that the financial upgradation as had accrued to the pensioner was justified.

“In the presence of the order dated June 3, 2016, the order impugned being contrary, as such cannot withstand the test of law,” he argued.

In their objections, the respondents submitted that the case of the petitioners was not maintainable, as the case of the retired employee was already considered by them as early as in the year 2021.

Relying on the Supreme Court judgment ‘Syed Abdul Qadir versus State of Bihar, (2009) 3 SCC 475’, the tribunal said in the case the apex court held that “the excess amount that has been paid to the appellant teachers was not because of any misrepresentation or fraud on their part and the appellants also did not know that the amount that was being paid to them was more than what they were entitled to”.

“Their lordships further held that given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case at hand and to avoid any hardship to the appellant teachers, we are of the view that no recovery of the amount that has been paid in excess to the appellant teachers should be made,” the tribunal said.

Referring to another SC judgment, the tribunal said that the apex court in the judgment has held that “if the excess amount was not paid on account of any misrepresentation or fraud of the employee or if such excess payment was made by the employer by applying a wrong principle for calculating the pay and allowance or based on a particular interpretation of rule and order which is subsequently found to be erroneous, such excess payment of emoluments or allowances are not recoverable”.

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