IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
AIR 2020 SC 76
Bses Yamuna Power Ltd.
Ghanshyam Chand Sharma And Ors.
Date of Judgement
Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Hon’ble Justice Mr. Hrishikesh Roy
Central Civil Service Pension Rules 1972 – Rule 26; Constitution of India – Article 14; Life Insurance Corporation of India (Employees) Pension Rules, 1995 – Rule 23, Life Insurance Corporation of India (Employees) Pension Rules, 1995 – Rule 31; Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations, 1960 – Regulation 19(2A).
Asger Ibrahim Amin v. Life Insurance Corporation of India; Sheelkumar Jain v. The New India Assurance Company Ltd. and Ors.; Senior Divisional Manager Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd. and Ors. v. Lal Meena;Senior Divisional Manager, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Ors. v. Shree Lal Meena; Reserve Bank of India and Anr. v. Cecil Dennis Solomon and Anr.
Facts of the case
The respondent was appointed as a daily rated mazdoor on 9 July 1968. His services were regularised on the post of a Peon on 22 December 1971. He tendered his resignation on 7 July 1990, which was accepted by the appellant w.e.f 10 July 1990. The respondent was subsequently denied pensionary benefits by the appellant on two grounds. First, that he had not completed twenty years of service, making him ineligible for the grant of pension. Second, in any case, by resigning, the first respondent had forfeited his past services and therefore could not claim pensionary benefits.
By its order dated 26 May 2017 the Delhi HC upheld the judgement of a Single Judge dated 21 March 2017 granting pensionary benefits to the respondent. The judgement of the Single Judge directed the appellant to pay pensionary benefits to the first respondent on the ground that he had completed twenty years of service and had “voluntarily retired” and not “resigned” from service. The appellant challenged the above findings in the present appeal.
The issues before the Hon’ble SC were:
1. Whether non-completion of twenty years of service renders the respondent ineligible for pension.
2. Whether a resignee is entitled to the Right to Pension?
In the instant case, the respondent resigned on 7 July 1990 with effect from 10 July 1990. By resigning, the first respondent submitted himself to the legal consequences that arise from a resignation under the provisions applicable to his service. Rule 26 of the Central Civil Service Pension Rules 1972 deals with the same. It states that upon resignation, an employee forfeits past service.
Decision of the Hon’ble HC
The SC set aside the order of the single judge HC bench. Placing reliance on the judgement in Asgar Ibrahim Amin, the court held that the employee in present case has “resigned” and not “voluntarily retired” and hence not entitled to pension.
The SC further added that the issue whether or not the employee has completed twenty years, is inconsequential to the dispute as the Rule 26 stands forfeited upon resignation.
The decision to resign is materially distinct from a decision to seek voluntary retirement. The decision to resign results in the legal consequences that flow from a resignation under the applicable provisions. These consequences are distinct from the consequences flowing from voluntary retirement and the cannot be used interchangeably. Further, If the courts were to re-classify a case of resignation as a case of voluntary retirement, this would obfuscate the distinction between the concepts of resignation and voluntary retirement. Lastly, the denial of voluntary retirement does not mitigate the legal consequences that flow from resignation.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
Asger Ibrahim Amin v. Life Insurance Corporation of India, (2016) 13 SCC 797.
Sheelkumar Jain v. The New India Assurance Company Ltd. and Ors., AIR 2011 SC 2990.
Senior Divisional Manager, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Ors. v. Shree Lal Meena, AIR 2016 SC 1394.
Senior Divisional Manager, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Ors. v. Shree Lal Meena, AIR 2019 SC 3510.
Reserve Bank of India and Anr. v. Cecil Dennis Solomon and Anr., (2004) 9 SCC 461.