The Punjab and Haryana high court has imposed a penalty of Rs 3.31 lakh on the secretary and the director of the health and family welfare department, Punjab, for not releasing complete pensionary benefits to a former director of the department despite the high court's directions on a contempt petition.
The bench headed by justice Mahesh Grover directed that the amount be recovered from both officers.
Puran Singh Jassi, who retired as director of the department, had approached the high court in 2010, claiming that his retirement benefits were not being released by the state government. The high court then directed the government to release the benefits along with 6% interest within three months. When the court orders were not complied with by the authorities, Jassi filed a contempt of court petition in the high court. After the issuance of notices by the court, the state government paid him the principal amount, but failed to pay the interest as directed by the court.
The petitioner then approached the court for the third time stating that interest on principal amount had not been released to him. When the case came up for hearing before the court on Monday, the court while taking serious note of the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities directed that Rs 3.31 lakh be recovered personally from secretary and director, state health and family welfare department and the interest be paid to the petitioner.