Pension delay cannot be justified, says panel

District forums’ ruling on payment of full pension to retired coop. bank employees upheld

Holding that the right to receive pension is not dependent on the whims of any authority, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has observed that there is no justification for either a delay in disbursement of pension or retaining a portion of pension of the retired cooperative bank employees by the Kerala State Cooperative Employees Pension Board.

The commission, headed by Justice K. Surendra Mohan, made the observation while dismissing an appeal filed by various cooperative banks and the pension board against district consumer forums’ orders to pay full pension to retired cooperative bank employees. The district consumer forums had also awarded compensation to the pensioners for the delay in disbursal of their pension amount. The commission upheld the forums’ orders.

The commission observed that as reiterated by the apex court and the High Court, “the right to receive a pension is a right that flows from the status of the pensioner as an employee”.

Sole exception

The stand of the pension board that the arrears of pension withheld by it unjustifiably could not be returned could not be countenanced, the commission said. The pension or any portion of it could be withheld only in cases where in departmental or judicial proceedings initiated against an employee, he has been held guilty of misconduct in the discharge of his duties. No such situation exists in these cases, the commission said.

Pension board’s duty

The pension scheme conferred sufficient powers on the pension board to recover the contributions payable by the employers who delay such payments. The date of retirement of each employee was known in advance and therefore, it was incumbent upon the board to have prepared itself to disburse pension to the employees immediately on their retirement. The board was duty-bound to ensure speedy settlement of claims and sanction of pension. However, in these cases, the board had not discharged the duty promptly and efficiently.

Source: Read Full Article