After nearly six years of retirement, the chief manager of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will finally receive his pensionary and retirement benefits and also his monthly pension. Mohinder Paul Shukla who was working as an engineer with the Military Engineer Service (MES), Ministry of Defence (Union Government) was deputed to the JNPT from where he retired in January 2001.
Observing that Centre and JNPT were passing on the buck to each other, the Bombay High Court on December 22 directed the former to calculate Shukla’s pensionary benefits along with 12 per cent interest and deposit it with JNPT, which in turn has been directed to give the same to Shukla within two months.
Shukla, who was employed with the MES in March 1974 as an engineer was deputed as engineer to the JNPT on August 4, 1984. He was later absorbed in the JNPT as a permanent employee on May 1, 1990.
He had started as an Executive Engineer with the JNPT and was promoted as senior executive engineer, manager and finally to the post of chief manager from where he sought voluntary retirement in 2001.
After his absorption in the JNPT, he tendered his technical resignation. In the letter he opted to receive pro-rata retirement benefit such as Leave Salary, Gratuity etc from MES. He had requested that amounts due towards the pension contribution and leave salary be intimated to JNPT for the period of deputation ie from August 1984 to April 1990.
Shukla, who now works as a consultant in a company in Gujarat said that despite repeated reminders to the JNPT, he did not receive positive response. Hence he filed a writ petition early this year.
His lawyers – SK Talsania and Mahesh Londhe – argued that the Union Government and the JNPT have just been passing the buck and not paying Shukla’s dues.
"Such lethargy and gross indifference while dealing with the Petitioner’s matter was violative of his fundamental rights," states Shulka’s petition.
JNPT defended its stand of not clearing dues by stating that the Union Government has not yet transferred Shukla’s pro-rata retirement benefits to his JNPT account. Till that is done, JNPT cannot release his retirement benefits, states JNPT’s affidavit.
On the other hand, the Union Government contended that they have not yet received all the necessary details and documents which facilitate transfer to the JNPT.
Expressing its displeasure, a division bench of Justice FI Rebello and Justice AV Mohta directed the Union Government to calculate the retirement benefits and transfer it to JNPT who in turn will pass it on to Shukla within two months. If both the agencies fail to obey the HC directive then the heads of concerned departments in both the agencies have been asked to remain personally present in the HC on February 26.