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K. Narayanan Vs. Kerala State Electricity Board - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1974)IILLJ40Ker
AppellantK. Narayanan
RespondentKerala State Electricity Board
Cases ReferredK.R. Erry v. The State of Punjab
Excerpt:
- - r 6 is bad. 4. whatever might have been the view once held as to the right of a government servant to his pension, by this time it is well-settled that pension is not a bounty given by the state to a government servant for his good conduct. if no reasons are shown or no reasons can be read in the order reducing such pension necessarily the order is bad for that reason. p2 it was the duty of the respondent to have considered the matter properly and satisfied itself that there were still reasons to proceed to reduce the pension and if it was so satisfied the reasons which weighed with it to come to that conclusion must have been indicated......at central stores in alwaye in august, 1965 about 32 m.t. was noted as excess and the executive engineer, stores division, alwaye repeatedly instructed you to account for the same. you did not take any timely steps and the chief engineer (electricity) on 23-7-1966 warned you that the repetition of such instances in future will lead to severe disciplinary action against you.ii. during the stock verification conducted in july and august, 1966, shortage of stock was detected and you were ordered to refund the value of missing stock by the orders of chief engineer (electricity).iii. in the work of clearance of goods from the railways since you were not taking timely action, avoidable loss had been caused to the board by way of wharfage on several occasions to the tune of rs. 847, rs......
Judgment:

P. Subramonian Poti, J.

1. Subsequent to the filing of this original petition, the Kerala State Electricity Board, respondent in the petition, passed Ext. R 6 order on 29-7-1971 reducing the pension of the petitioner and fixing it at Rs. 150 per mensem in exercise of the power under Rule 67, Part III of the Kerala Service Rules, subject to the decision of this Court in this original petition. The complaint of the petitioner in the petition is that though he had retired on 30-9-1970 his pension has not been settled and payments due to him on retirement were also not disbursed. On the passing of Ext. R 6 order the petition is amended seeking to quash that order also. The main challenge in this case is to that order.

2. The petitioner was, before Ms retirement, superintendent of stores at Alwave in the service of the Kerala State Electricity Board, It appears that several allegations were made against him as to his misconduct during his term of office relating to the stores under his charge and since he retired before any disciplinary proceedings could be taken against him it appears that resort was made by the Board to the provision in Rule 67 Part III of the Kerala Service Rules, which enables the authority sanctioning pension to reduce the pension if it finds that the service of the employee has not been thoroughly satisfactory.

3. Prior to the issue of Ext. R 6 order notice had been issued to the petitioner and that notice is Ext. P1. In it several matters had been mentioned. Particular reference was made to four instances having come to the notice of the Board which have been relied upon for arriving at the conclusion that the petitioner's service under the Board was not thoroughly satisfactory. These instances are:

i. During a special verification of stock of M.S. angles at Central Stores in Alwaye in August, 1965 about 32 M.T. was noted as excess and the executive engineer, stores division, Alwaye repeatedly instructed you to account for the same. You did not take any timely steps and the Chief Engineer (Electricity) on 23-7-1966 warned you that the repetition of such instances in future will lead to severe disciplinary action against you.

ii. During the stock verification conducted in July and August, 1966, shortage of stock was detected and you were ordered to refund the value of missing stock by the orders of Chief Engineer (Electricity).

iii. In the work of clearance of goods from the Railways since you were not taking timely action, avoidable loss had been caused to the Board by way of wharfage on several occasions to the tune of Rs. 847, Rs. 1,592. 90 and Rs. 984.70 and the Chief Engineer (Electricity) had ordered to recover the above amounts from you.

iv. On 22-4-1968 you were entrusted with the unloading and transporting of 45. 950 M, T of 12 mm. M.S. rods from Ernakulam goods station. For the purpose of transport of M.S. materials from Ernakulam goods station to Electrical Division Stores, Ernakulam or within a radius of 8 KM the Executive Engineer had entered into an agreement with the transport contractor, D. Venketaraman Potti. Instead of transporting the entire M.S. rods through the transpiration contractor 535 Nos. of M. S. rods were handed over to another person. The lorry with the 535 M.S. rods was seized by the Crime Branch Police on 26-4-1968 while the M.S rods in the lorry were being unloaded before a shed near Giri Nagar Colony on the way to Vyttila sub-station. The enquiry report of the Board's Administrative Vigilance Officer revealed a calculated attempt to misappropriate Board's property and the enquiry disclosed a prima facie case against you. You were kept under suspension from 8-7-1968. The State Government was also requested to take up the matter through the vigilance division.

The petitioner by his reply Ext. P 2 denied in detail the charges levelled against him. According to him some of these had been found by the Chief Engineer himself to be not true and others were not relevant. Ultimately, after the filing of this petition, Ext. R 6 order was passed. But Ext. R 6 order was silent as to the reasons which weighed with the respondent in holding that the explanation was not acceptable. There is not only no proper consideration but no consideration at all of the various points urged in Ext. P 2 by way of reply. Therefore, if there is a duty in the second respondent to write a speaking order, a duty to consider the matter as if in the exercise of quasi-judicial functions, it is evident that the order Ext. R 6 is bad. Therefore, that is a question which requires examination here.

4. Whatever might have been the view once held as to the right of a Government servant to his pension, by this time it is well-settled that pension is not a bounty given by the State to a Government servant for his good conduct. Any person who serves the State for a period of years is of right entitled to his pension and it is a property which accrues to him. The State cannot deny it without justifiable reasons. 1 need only refer to the decision of the Supreme Court reported in Deokinandan Prasad v. State of Bihar : (1971)ILLJ557SC , Vaidialmgam, J. in the said decision at page 1420, referring to a decision of the Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in K.R. Erry v. The State of Punjab 1969-I L.L.J. 679 : I.L.R. (1967) 1 Pun. & Har. 278, observed:

But we agree with the view of the majority when it has approved its earlier decision that pension is not a bounty payable on the sweet will and pleasure of the Government and that, on the other hand, the right to pension is a valuable right vesting in a Government servant.

The Court held that right to receive pension is property under Article 31(1) and that by a mere executive order the State has no power to withhold the same.

5. In denying the pension due to the petitioner the respondent would be taking a decision of considerable consequence to the petitioner and necessarily, therefore, the respondent would have to act properly considering the reasons for such dental and will have to satisfy itself that there are grounds for justifying exercise of the power under Rule 67. That satisfaction cannot be merely a subjective satisfaction. If it be objective satisfaction that may be open to judicial review. Therefore, it is open to the Court to consider whether the reasons which weighed with the respondent in reducing the pension are relevant. If no reasons are shown or no reasons can be read in the order reducing such pension necessarily the order is bad for that reason. In the face of the explanation contained in Ext. P2 it was the duty of the respondent to have considered the matter properly and satisfied itself that there were still reasons to proceed to reduce the pension and if it was so satisfied the reasons which weighed with it to come to that conclusion must have been indicated. In the absence of these in Ext. R6 order it is necessarily vitiated and so it cannot be sustained. Therefore, Ext. R6 order is set aside in so far as it reduced the pension of the petitioner to Rs. 150 per mensem. It is necessary that the question of pension must be settled without further delay and at any rate before 30-11-1973. In doing so if the respondent still intends to pursue action commenced by Ext. P1 notice that must necessarily be in accordance with law as indicated here. In the circumstances of the case the parties will suffer costs.


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