1. In this writ petition presented by a civil servant retired on attaining the age of superannuation at 55 years, before the age of retirement was raise to 58 years, the following question of law arises for consideration :
Whether the encashment of leave amounts to extension of service equivalent the period of leave permitted to be encashed.
2. The petition came up for preliminary hearing yesterday. Government Advocate was directed to take notice and was posted to today. Accordingly, the matter has come up for preliminary hearing today.
3. The petitioner was a Health Supervisor in the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services of the State Government. His age of superannuation fell within the month of June 1984. As provided in the Karnataka Civil Services Rules ('the Rules' for short), he retired from service at the end of the said month on 30th June, 1984. On the date of retirement, the petitioner had 120 days leave to this credit. Encashment of the leave was granted by an Official Memorandum dated 6th July, 1984.
4. On 24th August, 1984 the State Government vide Annexure-A, issued on order raising the age of superannuation from 55 to 58 years. By subsequent order dated 31st August, 1984, Annexure-B, the Government stated that the enhanced age of superannuation was applicable to persons who attained the age of 55 years on or after 2nd August, 1984. This order was issued to clarify that though the Government issued order enhancing the age of superannuation on 24th August, 1984, it would apply to all the civil servants due to retire on or after 2nd August, 1984. This is obvious for the reason that according to the proviso to Rule 95 of the Rules, a civil servant attaining the age of superannuation after the 1st day of any month would retire only at the end of the month. Therefore, the benefit was sought to be extended to all the persons who were due to retire in the month of August 1984.
5. The case of the petitioner is that as encashment of leave to the extent of 120 days i.e., four months was granted to the petitioner on 6th July, 1984 he must be deemed to be in service for four months even after 30th June, 1984 i.e. till 30th October, 1984 and as the raising of the age of superannuation has taken place in August 1984 he was entitled to the benefit of enhanced age of superannuation.
6. Sri N. Devadas, learned High Court Government Pleader, submits that the encashment of leave standing to the credit of a civil servant on the date of retirement does not amount to extension of service and that the relationship of master and servant comes to an end as on the date of superannuation and, therefore, civil servant cannot claim to be in service for the period equivalent to the number of days in respect of which the encashment of leave was permitted.
7. The petitioner is trying to equate encashment of leave to refused leave sanctioned after superannuation. This is untenable. There is a clear distinction between sanction of refused leave after superannuation and granting of encashment of leave. In the case of refused leave, it could be granted only under one circumstance viz., that a civil servant, who had, during the period when he was in service, applied for sanction of leave due to his credit and the said leave was refused in public interest. In such a situation, Rule 110 of the Rules empowers the competent authority to sanction leave which had been refused in public interest, even if it extends beyond the age of superannuation. Therefore, when refused leave is granted and it extends to any date beyond the age of superannuation, the said period by the force of the rule has to be treated as extension and in such a case, if there is enhancement of age of superannuation before the expiry of such period, the civil servant will be entitled to the said benefit as he would be in service as on the date of superannuation.
8. But the effect of encashment of leave is entirely different. That is a pecuniary terminal benefit allowed to a civil servant. If a civil servant does not utilise his leave to his credit, but for the rule providing for encashment, the leave would lapse on the date of superannuation, The provision for encashment of leave enables a civil servant to secure pecuniary benefit equal to the salary for the period of leave which stands to his credit as on the date of retirement. It does not have the effect of continuation of service after the date of retirement. Therefore, the contention of the petitioner that he must be deemed to be in service for 120 days after 30th June, 1984 and consequently he becomes entitled to the enhanced age of superannuation is clearly untenable.
9. It is true that the District Health and Family Welfare Officer has stated that he earned leave for 120 days for encashment of leave salary benefit was sanctioned to the petitioner who retired from service from 30th June, 1984, though what was actually sanctioned was the encashment of leave and not leave. The O.M. itself indicates that the petitioner retired from 30th June, 1984 which means that the petitioner was not in service on and after that date.
10. It is also pertinent to point out that there is no difference between a civil servant who secured the encashment of leave to his credit on the date of his retirement and another, who retired on the same date without encashment of leave. In both the cases, there is severance of relationship of master and servant between the employee and the Government.
11. In the result, I find no ground to entertain the petition. The petition is rejected.