Tuesday 25 April 2023

Karnataka HC fumes as pension to 102-year-old withheld

 Karnataka HC fumes as pension to 102-year-old withheld

 BENGALURU: The Karnataka high court has slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on some central and state government officials for withholding a 102-year-old freedom fighter's pension and forcing him to litigate over the matter thrice. 

Along with the fine, the court has ordered a payment of Rs 3,71,280 in arrears, with a 6% interest. The dues will have to be paid within two weeks, the court ruled. 

Freedom fighter H Nagabhushana Rao's pension under the Gaurava Dhana scheme was withheld from November 1, 2017, to December 24, 2018, over non-production of a mandatory Life Certificate. He was 97 then. Even after the pension was restored, the arrears were not paid despite two HC orders to release the dues. Justice M Nagaprasanna castigated the officials for apathy and holding the bank concerned responsible for dereliction of duty towards the petitioner. 

Pension is not bounty, it's a measure of socio-economic justice, says HC 

Justice M Nagaprasanna ruled: "Pension is not a bounty. It is a measure of socio-economic justice. The [reason] behind granting of pension is the inability to provide for oneself due to old age. This can be withheld, curtailed or taken away only in accordance with law." 

He further said: "The officers have displayed apathy towards the petitioner by not taking the Life Certificate from him as, by then, the petitioner was 97 years old and was already a recipient of the pension for a long time." 

The judge added: "The petitioner would be entitled to all the arrears along with interest, as the bank had failed to collect the Life Certificate from him. The bank ought to have visited the petitioner and collected the Life Certificate and regulated pension." 

The court clarified that in cases where pensioners are unable to visit the bank for documentation, it is the duty of the bank officials to visit them, obtain their Life Certificates and update the details in the bank's system.


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