J&K Road Transport Corporation employees not entitled to pension benefits: High Court
The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Wednesday denied retirement benefits to retired employees of J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) while ruling that employees appointed by the company were not entitled to the same than government employees.
The decision was made in two appeals filed by the government challenging a single bench judgment in which the court ruled that the claimants were entitled to all pension benefits at the same level and on the analogy of the employee section of the company who were previously employees of the former government transport company. (TOS).
Overturning the single judge’s verdict, a divisional bench comprising Judges Sanjeev Kumar and Wasim Sadiq Nargal pointed out that they do not confirm the court’s opinion that the claimants, although appointed to the Company, are entitled to retirement benefits such as a pension and a gratuity.
“Having found that the applicants for the injunction were not in the same position as the class of employees of the former GTU, who had a further opportunity to make an option in 1986, we are satisfied that the opinion of the Court of Writs Holding Claimants in Order Entitled to Retirement Benefits, specifically where the JKSRTC Conditions of Service Rules and Regulations 1979 applicable to claimants declaring their service “non-pensionable”, are grossly wrong and unsustainable” the bench said as it allowed the calls.
Deliberating on the case, the court further stated that it could not issue a mandamus to the Company to provide or fail to provide a particular service benefit, while noting the 1979 Regulations, under which employees appointed to the Company (employees dependent on the Company) were not entitled to a retirement pension.
“However, they are entitled to certain other post-retail benefits in lieu of pension,” the court said.
The bench further pointed out that the Company is also free if it wishes to provide service benefits to its employees, including a pension, acting strictly within the mandate of the Central Road Transport Corporation Act 1950 and the rules and regulations arising therefrom by the Company.
“We, however, do not approve of the issuance of a writ of mandamus to the official defendants for them to necessarily concede the Society’s claim, nor do we support the opinion of the Court of Writs that the petitioners in short though appointed in the Society and by the Society are entitled to retirement benefits such as pension and gratuities on the same basis as government employees serving in other departments”, said the court during the judgment.
Accordingly, the appeal was also allowed and the judgment of the Write Court was set aside.
Case title: UT of J&K & Ors V/s All J&K Workers Union SRTC and another J&K Road Transport Employees Association & Anr.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 216
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