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Pension is statutory right not subject to whims of authorities: CAT to Govt

Directs top Forest officer to appear in person if directions not implemented
12:36 AM Jun 08, 2024 IST | GK LEGAL CORRESPONDENT
pension is statutory right not subject to whims of authorities  cat to govt
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Srinagar, June 7:  The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Friday granted 10 days as the “last and final opportunity” to J&K’s Commissioner Secretary Forests to submit a detailed response to a plea related to the release of retiral benefits to an officer who superannuated in May 2012.

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A bench of M S Latif, Member (J), directed the officer to implement its orders or remain present before the court either in person or through virtual mode on June 20.

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“Pension is a statutory right, not subject to whims of the authorities, but is governed by statutory rules,” the tribunal said in its order while dealing with the plea by Aijaz Ahmad Bhat whose contention was that he was inducted in the IFS and after serving the department for decades and holding various posts, he finally got superannuated from services on May 13, 2012, as a State Forest Services Officer.

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The tribunal observed that right from 2022, it directed the respondents (authorities) to file their reply for which time was extended from time to time.

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“This court without entering into the merits or otherwise of any proceeding pending before any other court is concerned as to why despite more than twelve years, the applicant has not been paid at least his provisional pension or other retiral benefits,” the tribunal observed. In his plea, Bhat is seeking the court’s intervention to direct respondents to release all the retiral benefits in his favour including the pension, gratuity and pay arrears.

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According to Bhat’s plea, in 2006 an allegation was levelled against him that he had applied for an Indian Passport and concealed that he was holding a US Passport. The allegation necessitated the Crime Branch Kashmir to register an FIR bearing number 68/2007.

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After the registration of the FIR, Bhat was placed under suspension and the investigation in the FIR was dropped officially after ten years.

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The State’s Crime Branch submitted a closure report before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar which accepted the final report and accordingly, the proceedings against the accused in the FIR were dropped.

The tribunal expressed its dismay over the non-compliance of its directions about filing a response to the plea seeking the retiral benefits.

“Today, the matter came up for consideration. Neither any response has been filed nor this Court has been apprised of the present status of the case of the applicant,” the tribunal said.

The court in support of its order cited various judgments passed by the Supreme Court related to the release of retiral benefits of the retired officer.

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