In a relief to a retired government employee from Sohra whose pension and the gratuity were withheld since 2014, the Meghalaya High Court has today directed the State government to pay simple interest at the rate of 7.25 per cent per annum on the amount of gratuity and arrear of pension from the date on which those amounts became due till the date on which the same are actually released to him.
Tngen Singh Basaiawmoit having attained the age of superannuation, retired from service on January 31, 2014 as Accountant from the office of the Block Development Officer, Shella, Bholaganj C&RD Block, Sohra. However, even after his retirement, no service benefits like Pension, Gratuity, Leave Salary and GPF have been released to him by the government.
Basaiawmoit being aggrieved by the non-release of the retirement benefits, filed a writ petition before the High Court and the writ petition was disposed of by the court which passed an order on August 23, 2019 directing the government to take up the representation dated August 22, 2017, which was filed by the Basaiawmoit and pending before the government for consideration and to decide the same expeditiously.
As the same was not done, Basaiawmoit approached the High Court by filing a contempt petition and during the pendency of the contempt petition, the government issued letters dated November 28, 2019 and February 21, 2020 informing him regarding the decision to release provisional pension and to withhold the payment of gratuity to him.
“The impugned letters dated 28-11-2019 and 21-02-2020 are set aside and quashed. The petitioner is found to be entitled to grant of interest for delayed release of his regular pension and gratuity. Accordingly, it is directed that the respondent shall pay simple interest at the rate of 7.25 per cent per annum on the amount of gratuity and arrear of pension from the date on which those amounts became due till the date on which the same are actually released to the petitioner. Since, it is submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the respondents have already issued orders for the release of regular pension and gratuity to the petitioner, no direction in this regard is required to be passed. Let the calculation of the amount of interest be done by the respondents within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the certified of this order and the actual amount, so calculated, be released to the petitioner immediately thereafter,” Justice B Bhattacharjee said in an order passed today.
The government has alleged that Basaiawmoit was involved in forgery which resulted in filing of FIRs and initiation of criminal proceedings against him. The FIRs against him were filed on June 6, 2014 and May 8, 2014 (with supplementary FIR dated May 13, 2014) approximately three months after the date of his retirement.
However, there is nothing on record to suggest that Basaiawmoit was subjected to any departmental proceedings during his tenure of service. There is also no evidence to remotely suggest that he was ever placed under suspension. When he attained the age of superannuation and retired on January 31, 2014, there was no departmental proceeding pending against him.