Casual Labourers on IR entitled to compute 50% of Casual Service for Determination of Pension and Retirement Benefits: Hyderabad HC

Hyderabad: A full bench of the Hyderabad High Court has ruled that casual workers of the Indian Railways later absorbed as a permanent workers, after completing temporary service are entitled to compute 50 per cent of the casual service for determination of pension and retirement benefits.

The full bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale, Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar and Justice P. Naveen Rao was answering a reference on the issue as to whether a casual employee of the Railways, later appointed on temporary basis, and then regularly appointed was entitled to count the full service rendered by him as a temporary servant and 50 per cent of his casual service to determine his retirement benefits.
While dealing with the reference the full bench noted that the AP High Court as well as the Delhi High Courts expressed three different views in four similar cases.
The bench pointed out in the four decisions, the scope of various provisions of the Railway Services (Pension) Rules 1993 was not considered by the High Courts and the full bench felt that the provisions of Rule 20 need to be analysed.
The relevant Rule says that qualifying service of a Railway servant commences from the date he takes charge of the post to which he was first appointed either substantively or in an officiating or temporary capacity.
The bench concluded that the only requirement was such a temporary appointment should be continuous and without interruption followed by substantive appointment.
The bench ruled that when there was no interruption of service between the temporary service and the permanent appointment, the entire temporary service should be taken for computation of pensionary benefits.
The full bench observed that it would lead to absurd conclusions if only 50 per cent of temporary service was counted on his permanent appointment when he was entitled to count the full temporary service if he retires as a temporary servant only. When there was no ambiguity in the rules and leads to only one conclusion, there was no scope for any other interpretation that can be given by the writ Court.
The bench said “It is also relevant to note that a person renders long service before he gets permanent appointment. He would hardly have any service left in permanent capacity before he retires. In most of these cases, he would not have the minimum service to qualify for pensionary benefits if the temporary service is not added.”