Are aged parents eligible to get a share of the pension of a deceased son? The answer, according to a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), is yes.
Kanon Borgohain, an engineer with the Northeast Frontier Railway, was 34 when he died a few months back. His parents subsequently filed an application to CAT’s Guwahati Bench, seeking a portion of the family pension of their deceased son, which his widow is entitled to.
On December 22, the court headed by CAT vice-chairman KV Sachidanandan declared that parents deserved a portion of the family pension and retirement benefits of a deceased employee. Citing a Supreme Court ruling, it declared, “Pension is not a bounty but a reward for past services rendered by an employee to the institution. Pension scheme should result in a liberal construction with a wider definition of family so as to include parents, making them eligible for pension, which is lacking in the present rules.”
The court further ruled that “old parents who take care of children and bring them up through great sacrifice should not be left in the lurch”. He said that grant of pension was a constitutional obligation of the state. The CAT court also discussed the amended Section 125 of the CrPC, which provides for maintenance of those parents who are unable to fend for themselves. “The same logic and wisdom should be applied in granting share of pension to aged parents by redefining the definition of family,” it added.
In the absence of any provision in the Railway Pension Rules, the court directed railway authorities to refer the matter to the 6th Central Pay Commission or ensure social security and pensionary benefit to the parents.