The Patna high court on Wednesday directed the Bihar government to pay within six weeks all post-retirement benefits, including family pension and gratuity, to the widow of an employee in a work-charged establishment.
While dismissing the state government’s appeal, the division bench of Justices Jyoti Saran and Arvind Srivastava also allowed five other similar petitions. An employee of a work-charged establishment gets payscale and other facilities on par with other regular government employees, but his or her service is not permanent.
The bench upheld the judgement of Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, who had ordered the government to pay all post-retirement benefits to Basirun Khatoon, whose husband Lal Mohammad was a work-charged employee with rural works department in Muzaffarpur.
The Wednesday order was based on a judgment by the full bench of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, Justice Ashutosh Kumar and Justice Anjana Mishra of the Patna high court on February 4 this year in favour of giving post-retirement benefits to all work-charged employees who served the government while fulfilling conditions for pension benefits to them or their family in case of death. The full bench order had come after two contradictory judgments by separate division benches. The full bench had given its judgement while hearing appeals of the state government and one Mobina Khatoon on the issue.
The state government had appealed against relief given to Soniya Devi, whose husband Yugal Mahto was a work-charged employee with public health engineering department (PHED) and had died while in service. He was earlier a daily-wager before being brought under the work-charged category.
The department later reverted his service category along with others on August 30, 2002. The aggrieved persons had moved the Supreme Court, which regularized their services on August 11, 2006. But Mahto was not among the petitioners when he died on September 15, 2005.
Since he was dead, Mahto’s case was not considered by a three-member committee formed under the Supreme Court’s directive to pay the benefits. Soniya had then moved the high court and got relief from Justice Amanullah on November 24, 2017.
In another case, Mobina Khatoon’s husband Abdul Jabbar was also a work-charged employee with PHED in Begusarai when he died. She had sought family pension and other benefits from the high court, but the bench of Justice Vikash Jain had dismissed her petition on September 1, 2017 following which she had filed an appeal.