S.A. Shah, J.
1. This is a case of a petitioner - a retired primary school teacher - making representation to various authorities for the fixation of his pension and payment of gratuity and a unique example of utter disregard and callousness of the authorities concerned so much so that when the petition was filed in September, 1977 (the petitioner was 68 years of age) even in November 1983 none of the respondents has cared to file an affidavit-in-reply or to show any reason for non-payment of gratuity and fixation of pension for a period of about 18 years. I have asked the learned Counsel for the State Government to produce the file of the petitioner and to show me the reasons as to why his pension case has not been finalised and gratuity not paid to him. The learned Government Pleader says that he has not got the original file nor any material to show reasons. Unfortunately the Government Solicitors, though filed their appearance, are not present. In this view of the matter there is no option for me except to proceed with the matter on the basis of the petition and take all averments therein to be true. In this Welfare State if a teacher who has spent best years of his life for the service of the State gets a provisional pension of Rs. 30/- since last 18 years which cannot even satisfy his barest necessity, it is really very unfortunate. The facts of the case are as under.
2. The petitioner joined service as a Primary School Teacher in the then Baroda State on July 20, 1934; was confirmed as such on 1st January, 1935. On merger of Baroda State with the State of Bombay in 1949, the petitioner was absorbed in the Bombay State and was posted under the Amreli District Primary Education Board where be worked upto August 17, 1961 as a Primary School Teacher.
3. On August 17, 1961 the petitioner was transferred to Government Teachers Training School at Badia and from that school the petitioner was made to retire from June 15, 1965. The order of his retirement is produced at Annexure-A. Generally, papers for pension are to be prepared prior to the retirement so that the incumbent can start getting his pension as soon as he retires. (It has now been an accepted position that pension is not a bounty of the State. It is given by the welfare State as a due compensation for having done best service and the petitioner has a statutory right for early fixation and regular receipt of month to month pension). After the efforts of about two years, in February 1967 provisional pension of a meagre amount of Rs. 30/- per month was fixed by the authorities. According to the petitioner when he retired his basic salary was Rs. 150/-plus dearness allowance admissible from time to time and, therefore, according to his calculation he was expecting at least Rs. 60/- per month plus dearness allowance as pension. The petitioner made a representation to the Director of Education by his letter dated August 29, 1967 requesting him to direct the Administrative Officer, District Education Committee, Amreli-respondent No. 3 herein to prepare the pension papers of the petitioner, but nothing happened. The petitioner again made a representation. As seen from Annexure-C, the Senior Deputy Accountant General Mr. R. Raman, had addressed a letter to the Director of Education for expediting the documents and the information asked for. Last Para of his letter being relevant is reproduced below:
As nearly 12 years have elapsed after retirement of the pensioner I shall be thankful if you could expedite the documents and information mentioned above.
This leaves no doubt that the authorities of the State Government were totally negligent and callous in sending the information so that the Accountant General could have finally fixed pension and gratuity of the petitioner. It appears that the petitioner has made a representation in 1976 prior to the filing of the petition, and enquired as to why his pension has not been settled and why he has not been replied. Again, it appears that the Director of Education wrote to the Administrative Officer, Amreli by his letter of November 1976, produced at Annexure-B as to why decision is not being taken, etc., and a copy thereof was given to the petitioner. But unfortunately neither the pension was paid nor reasons were given and. therefore, the petitioner had to file this petition in September. 1977.
4. Even after 18 years of the retirement of the petitioner nobody has explained as to why the petitioner's pension has not been fixed finally and why he has not been paid his due gratuity. Even the highest Officer like the Director of Education remained satisfied after writing a letter to the subordinate officer. Nobody has thought how a teacher with a pension of Rs. 30/- per month will be able to maintain himself. The Counsel for the Government is not able to reply because he has no original files. The Solicitors are absent.
5. In my opinion this is a case in which not only interest but compensation should be awarded to the pensioner, for the petitioner must be atleast 73 or 74 years of age and one can understand how much he must be suffering in these hard days. But in absence of an affidavit it is not possible to find out who is responsible for non-payment of pension.
6. In view of the aforesaid circumstances and considering the hardship of the petitioner and the callousness in which the department has proceeded, I order that the respondents shall pay Rs. 60/- per month as pension to the petitioner till the pension is finally decided and if the pension is decided at a lesser amount the excess payment made may be adjusted to the said amount.
7. In the case of Krishna Prasad Sinha v. State of Bihar and Ors. : (1983)IILLJ263SC , which was a case for payment of arrears of salary, subsistance allowance and pension which were not paid to the petitioner for more than five years, the Supreme Court was pleased to pass an order as under:
We, would, therefore, direct the State Government to make payment of the amount of salary and subsistance allowance as per the order of the High Court peremptorily within three weeks from today, together with interest thereon at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of the judgment of the High Court.
Though the facts are little different, non-payment of pension for a period of 18 years is a sufficient ground for allowing the petitioner interest at the rate of 12 per cent as has been done by the Supreme Court in an appropriate case. I, therefore, order that the State Government shall pay 12 per cent interest per annum on the outstanding amount payable month to month to the petitioner. The respondents will start making payment of provisional pension of Rs. 60/- per month within two weeks from the receipt of writ of this Court.
In the result petition is allowed. Rule is made absolute with cost. Writ to be issued forthwith.