V. Sukumaran vs. State of Kerala & Anr.
(CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3984 OF 2010) decided on August 26, 2020
BENCH: Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, JJ
The appellant has been claiming his pension entitlement for the last almost 13 years but was unsuccessful, despite having worked with Government departments in various capacities for about 32 years.
The controversy emanates from the appellant having worked in these different capacities with two different departments from time to time, albeit continuously. The appellant joined Department of Fisheries of the State Government of Kerala as a Casual Labour Roll (CLR) worker. He rendered 7 years, 4 months and 23 days of service as a CLR worker. Afterwards the District Officer, Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) advised him to join the Revenue Department, as Lower Division Clerk (LDC) on his participation in a direct recruitment process. On having rendered a few years of service, the appellant sought an inter-departmental transfer from the Revenue Department back to the Fisheries Department. The appellant earned his promotion as Upper Division Clerk (Higher Grade) (UDC) from which post he retired. The total service rendered by the appellant was about 25 years, but excluding the service as CLR.
Whether the appellant could claim the pensionary benefits for his service as CLR worker which had a duration of 7 years, 4 months and 23 days ?
The Supreme Court held that the benefit of the service rendered as a CLR worker would be liable to be counted for determining the pensionary benefits of the appellant at par with other CLR workers and the pension be accordingly calculated. The Court further emphasized that the pensionary provisions must be given a liberal construction as a social welfare measure. The Supreme Court also observed that appellant is being deprived of the maximum pensionable service which would be permissible to him if his period of CLR service is recognised as qualifying service and there is no reason to deny the same to him when other CLR workers have got this benefit at the time of their absorption and subsequent regularisation as SLR workers and who would have, by virtue of joining at a later point of time, rendered less service. The benefit of the service rendered as a CLR worker would, thus, be liable to be counted for determining the pensionary benefits of the appellant at par with other CLR workers and the pension be accordingly calculated.