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Friday, August 8, 2014

Award of Interest - High court not granted interest on delayed payment of Pension and Gratuity wrongly withheld - Apex court held that the respondents have erroneously withheld payment of gratuity amount for which the appellants herein are entitled in law for payment of penal amount on the delayed payment of gratuity under the provisions of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. and held that we award interest at the rate of 9% on the delayed payment of pension and gratuity amount from the date of entitlement till the date of the actual payment. If this amount is not paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, the same shall carry interest at the rate of 18% per annum from the date of amount falls due to the deceased employee. =CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7113 OF 2014 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 25015 of 2011) D.D. TEWARI(D) THR. LRS. ……APPELLANTS VERSUS UTTAR HARYANA BIJLI VITRAN NIGAM LTD. & ORS. …RESPONDENTS = 2014 - Aug.part - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41799

    Award of Interest - High court not granted interest on delayed payment of Pension and Gratuity wrongly withheld - Apex court held that the respondents have  erroneously
withheld payment of gratuity amount for  which  the  appellants  herein  are entitled in law for payment of  penal  amount  on  the  delayed  payment  of gratuity under the provisions of the Payment of Gratuity Act,  1972. and held that  we award interest at the rate of 9%  on the delayed payment  of  pension  and  gratuity  amount  from  the  date  of entitlement till the date of the actual payment.   If  this  amount  is  not paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,  the same shall carry interest at the rate of 18% per  annum  from  the  date  of amount falls due to the deceased employee. =

learned  single  Judge  passed  in
C.W.P. No. 1048 of 2010 wherein he was not awarded interest for the  delayed
payment of pension  and  gratuity  amount,  for  which      he  was  legally
entitled to.  Therefore, the  appellant approached this Court for  grant  of
interest on the delayed payment on  the  retiral  benefits  of  pension  and
gratuity payable to him by the respondents.=
It is needless to mention that the respondents have  erroneously
withheld payment of gratuity amount for  which  the  appellants  herein  are
entitled in law for payment of  penal  amount  on  the  delayed  payment  of
gratuity under the provisions of the Payment of Gratuity Act,  1972.  Having
regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we do not propose  to  do
that in the case in hand.=
 we award interest at the rate of 9%  on
the delayed payment  of  pension  and  gratuity  amount  from  the  date  of
entitlement till the date of the actual payment.   If  this  amount  is  not
paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,  the
same shall carry interest at the rate of 18% per  annum  from  the  date  of
amount falls due to the deceased employee.
2014 - Aug.part - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41799

                                                           NON-REPORTABLE



              IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA                         CIVIL
                           APPELLATE JURISDICTION

         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7113   OF 2014                       (Arising out
                        of SLP (C) No. 25015 of 2011)



 D.D. TEWARI(D) THR. LRS.                    ……APPELLANTS



                                   VERSUS



 UTTAR HARYANA BIJLI VITRAN NIGAM LTD. & ORS. …RESPONDENTS



    J U D G M E N T



V.GOPALA GOWDA, J.

            Leave granted.

2.      Heard learned counsel on  behalf  of  the  parties.   The  appellant
(since deceased) is aggrieved by the impugned order dated 14.03.2011  passed
by the High Court of   Punjab  and Haryana at Chandigarh  in  LPA  No.  1818
of 2010 in affirming the judgment of the  learned  single  Judge  passed  in
C.W.P. No. 1048 of 2010 wherein he was not awarded interest for the  delayed
payment of pension  and  gratuity  amount,  for  which      he  was  legally
entitled to.  Therefore, the  appellant approached this Court for  grant  of
interest on the delayed payment on  the  retiral  benefits  of  pension  and
gratuity payable to him by the respondents.

3.       The appellant was appointed to the post of Line  Superintendent  on
30.08.1968 with the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran  Nigam  Ltd.    In  the  year
1990, he was promoted to the post of Junior Engineer-I. During his  service,
the appellant remained in charge of number  of  transformers  after  getting
issued them from the stores and deposited a number of  damaged  transformers
in the stores.  While depositing the damaged  transformers  in  the  stores,
some shortage in transformers oil and breakages  of  the  parts  of  damaged
transformers were erroneously debited to the account of  the  appellant  and
later on it was held that for  the  shortages  and  breakages  there  is  no
negligence  on  the  part  of  the  appellant.   On  attaining  the  age  of
superannuation,  he  retired  from  service  on  31.10.2006.   The   retiral
benefits of the appellant were withheld by the respondents  on  the  alleged
ground  that  some  amount  was  due  to  the  employer.  The   disciplinary
proceedings were not pending against  the  appellant  on  the  date  of  his
retirement. Therefore, the appellant approached the High Court  seeking  for
issuance of a direction to the respondents regarding payment of pension  and
release of the gratuity amount which are retiral benefits with  an  interest
at the rate of 18% on the delayed payments.  The learned  single  Judge  has
allowed the Writ Petition vide order dated 25.08.2010, after  setting  aside
the action of the respondents in withholding  the  amount  of  gratuity  and
directing the respondents to release the withheld amount of gratuity  within
three months without awarding interest as claimed  by  the  appellant.   The
High Court has adverted to the judgments of this Court particularly, in  the
case of State of Kerala & Ors. Vs.  M.  Padmanabhan  Nair[1],  wherein  this
Court reiterated its earlier view holding that the pension and gratuity  are
no longer any bounty to be distributed by the Government  to  its  employees
on their retirement, but, have become, under the decisions  of  this  Court,
valuable rights and property in  their  hands  and  any  culpable  delay  in
settlement and disbursement thereof  must  be  dealt  with  the  penalty  of
payment of interest at the current market rate till actual  payment  to  the
employees.  The said legal principle laid down by  this  Court  still  holds
good in so far as awarding the interest  on  the  delayed  payments  to  the
appellant is concerned.  This aspect of the matter was adverted  to  in  the
judgment of the learned single Judge without assigning any  reason  for  not
awarding the interest as  claimed  by  the  appellant.   That  is  why  that
portion of the judgment of the learned single Judge was aggrieved of by  the
appellant and he had filed L.P.A. before Division Bench of the  High  Court.
The Division Bench of the High Court has passed a  cryptic  order  which  is
impugned in this appeal.  It has adverted to  the  fact  that  there  is  no
order passed by the learned single Judge  with  regard  to  the  payment  of
interest and the appellant has not raised any plea  which  was  rejected  by
him, therefore, the Division Bench did not find fault with the  judgment  of
the learned single Judge in the appeal and the  Letters  Patent  Appeal  was
dismissed.  The correctness of the order is under challenge in  this  appeal
before this Court urging various legal grounds.

4.     It is an undisputed fact that the appellant retired from  service  on
attaining the age of superannuation on  31.10.2006  and  the  order  of  the
learned single Judge after adverting to the relevant  facts  and  the  legal
position has given  a  direction  to  the  employer-respondent  to  pay  the
erroneously withheld pensionary benefits and  the  gratuity  amount  to  the
legal representatives of the deceased  employee  without  awarding  interest
for which the appellant is legally entitled,  therefore, this Court  has  to
exercise its appellate jurisdiction as there is a miscarriage of justice  in
denying  the interest to be paid or payable by the employer  from  the  date
of the entitlement of the deceased employee till the date of payment as  per
the aforesaid legal principle laid  down  by  this  Court  in  the  judgment
referred to supra. We have to award interest at the rate  of  9%  per  annum
both on the amount of pension due and the gratuity amount which  are  to  be
paid by the respondent.

5.          It is needless to mention that the respondents have  erroneously
withheld payment of gratuity amount for  which  the  appellants  herein  are
entitled in law for payment of  penal  amount  on  the  delayed  payment  of
gratuity under the provisions of the Payment of Gratuity Act,  1972.  Having
regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we do not propose  to  do
that in the case in hand.

6.     For the reasons stated above, we award interest at the rate of 9%  on
the delayed payment  of  pension  and  gratuity  amount  from  the  date  of
entitlement till the date of the actual payment.   If  this  amount  is  not
paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,  the
same shall carry interest at the rate of 18% per  annum  from  the  date  of
amount falls due to the deceased employee.  With the above directions,  this
appeal is allowed.

……………………………………………………J.     [DIPAK MISRA]





……………………………………………………J.       [V. GOPALA GOWDA]

New Delhi,                                                    August 1,
2014









-----------------------
[1]

      [2] (1985) 1 SCC 429


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