IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI W.P. (S) No.3746 of 2009 Mangari Debi, wife of Late Tetru Oraon, resident of village Dunduriya, P.O. And P.S. Gumla, District Gumla. ………. Petitioner. -Versus- 1. The State of Jharkhand.
2. The Secretary cum Commissioner, The Forest Department, Ranchi, P.O. & P.S. Ranchi, District Ranchi.
3. The Chief Conservator of Forest, The Forest Department, Ranchi, P.O. & P.S. Ranchi, District Ranchi.
4. The District Forest Officer, Lohardaga, P.O. & P.S. Lohardaga, District Lohardaga.
5. The District Provident Fund Officer, Lohardaga, P.O. & P.S. Lohardaga, District Lohardaga.
6. The Accountant General (A & E), Jharkhand, Ranchi, P.O. & P.S. Ranchi, District Ranchi. .……... Respondents. ------ CORAM : HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJESH SHANKAR ------ For the Petitioner : Mr. O.P. Tiwari, Advocate For the Respondents: Mr. S. Shrivastava and J.C. to G.P.III ------ 10/21.10.2016: Heard learned counsel for the parties.
2. This writ petition has been filed for payment of death- cum-retiral benefits, such as provident fund, gratuity, leave encashment and other legally payable dues along with family pension and interest to the petitioner.
3. The factual matrix of the case is that the husband of the petitioner, namely, Tetru Oraon was employed as Forest Guard (Van Rakshi) and was posted at Lohardaga, who died in harness on 12th April, 2004. Thereafter, the petitioner obtained dependency certificate from the office of the Circle Officer, Gumla vide Letter No.65/Ra. Dated 17th January, 2005 and applied for payment of retiral benefits along with family pension, but, as per the petitioner, the same has not yet been paid by the respondents.
4. In Paragraph No.5 of the counter affidavit filed on behalf of Respondent No.4, it has been stated that the husband of the petitioner, namely, Tetru Oraon had joined the service as Forest Guard on 1st October, 1982 and died in harness on 12th April, 2004. Pursuant to his death, two ladies, namely, Mangari Debi (petitioner) and one Sheela Khalkho, claiming themselves as the wives of deceased employee-Late Tetru Oraon, applied for payment of death-cum-retiral benefits in their favour. Further, in Paragraph No.6 of the counter -2- affidavit, it has been stated that the Divisional Forest Officer, Lohardaga informed the said two claimants vide Letter Nos.2473 and 2474, both, dated 27th August, 2008, respectively, to submit their legal heir certificates issued by the competent authority, but the same has not yet been submitted.
5. The petitioner has also filed rejoinder affidavit dated 16th April, 2010, stating, inter alia, that Sheela Khalkho, who claimed herself to be the wife of Late Tetru Oraon, has married to one Abhay Kumar Beck on 11th June, 2007. The petitioner has also made certain allegations against said Sheela Khalkho, who claimed herself to be the legally wedded wife of Late Tetru Oraon.
6. The admitted fact emerging from various pleadings made in this case is that Late Tetru Oraon had not made any nomination in favour of any one so far as the provident fund, gratuity and family pension are concerned.
7. Perusal of Clause 12(iii) of Appendix 5 of Jharkhand Pension Rules, 2000 would be relevant here, which reads as under:-
“12. In case of non-availability of pension records in respective Department/Head of Department/Office the following procedure would be adopted to finalize such cases. xx xx xx xx xx (iii) Determination of real claimant of family pension. It is the full responsibility of the petitioner to satisfy the Head of Department/Office that she/he is the widow/widower or eligible child of the concerned Govt. Servant and prove his identity by producing relevant records, i.e. P.P.O. of the deceased Govt. servant or any other available records. Where no records are available the claimant should be asked to produce any one of the following documents:- (i) Succession certificate of the court; or (ii) Declaration with affidavit filed before a Magistrate; or (iii) Affidavit on plain paper by the claimant along with two documents, which would be acceptable to the pension sanctioning authority.” (Emphasis supplied) 8. This Court in the case of Bimla Devi Vs. State of Jharkhand & Ors., reported in 2012(3) JLJR429 while considering Clause 12(iii) of Appendix 5 of Jharkhand Pension Rules 2000, has held, as quoted hereinafter:- “5(vii) It appears that the provisions of Jharkhand Pension Rules, 2000, as referred to hereinabove, mention categorically that when no record is available, then the claimant should be asked to produce -3- succession certificate or declaration with affidavit or affidavit before a Magistrate on a plain paper alongwith two documents, but, in the facts of the present case, there are evidences on record in favour of the present petitioner, which are at Annexures-1 and 2, which cannot be ignored by the respondent- State authorities.”
9. In the present case, the admitted fact is that Late Tetru Oraon had not made any nomination in favour of any one in the official records during his life time (as already observed in preceding paragraph).
10. On consideration of the aforesaid provision of Jharkhand Pension Rules, 2000, it would emerge that in case of non- availability of nomination in favour of anyone by the deceased employee, the State authorities should enquire into the matter so as to find out the lawful claimant of retiral benefits on behalf the deceased employee. It has also been held that when there is no categorical record available so as to find out any lawful claimant of the retiral benefits of the deceased employee, it would be proper to ask for succession certificate by the lawful claimant.
11. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case, this Court is of the view that since Late Tetru Oraon had not made any nomination in favour of the present petitioner so as to make her entitled to receive the retiral benefits, such as provident fund, gratuity, leave encashment as well as family pension, no order can be passed in her favour as prayed in the present writ petition and thus it would not be proper to direct the respondents to make payment of admissible retiral benefits, including family pension, to the petitioner at present.
12. The writ petitioner is, however, at liberty to workout the remedies provided under law.
13. The writ petition is disposed of with the aforesaid observations. (Rajesh Shankar, J.) Sanjay/Animesh/AFR