In a major relief to senior citizens who retired from government service before 2006, the Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to fix their pension on the basis of recommendation of the sixth pay commission.
The court also ordered payment of enhanced pension amount with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006 — when the pay commission recommendations came into effect.
The move would substantially increase the pre-2006 retirees' pension and bring them on par with those who retired after the pay panel recommendations were implemented. The order came while the court upheld a central administrative tribunal (CAT) order of 2011, which said that government employees who retired before 2006 are also entitled to the benefits of the sixth pay commission.
This court was hearing a petition by Central Government Pensioners Association.
Dismissing the appeal filed by the Centre against the CAT order, a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao said: "A direction is issued to the respondents (Centre) to re-fix the pension of the petitioners accordingly within a period of two months. In case, the arrears are not paid within a period of two months, it will also carry interest at 9% with effect from March 1, 2013."
CAT had quashed the August 29, 2008 government resolution which amended the recommendations of the sixth pay commission due to which the pre-2006 retirees were getting lower pension than the post-2006 retirees. The retired employees had told the tribunal that there could be a difference of over R25,000 in the pension of a person retiring on January 1, 2006 from the one retiring a day before.
In the court, the government submitted to pay the pre-2006 retirees increased pension only from September 24, 2012 when it was finally approved following the CAT order but the bench asked it grant them retrospectively from 2006 when the pay commission was implemented.
"The only issue which survives after the CAT order is with respect to office memorandum which makes it applicable with effect from September 24, 2012 denying arrears to the pensioners with effect from January 1, 2006," said the court.
"The government of India has admitted that it was in the wrong and that the tribunal is right. We conclude by noting that as regards the substance of the view taken by the Tribunal, even the government accepts its correctness, but insists to make the same applicable prospectively. This cannot be allowed," said the bench.