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Pension is a ‘Property’ under Article 300 of the Constitution

The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay in Shri Naini Gopal V. Union of India & Ors.( R) while imposing a cost of Rs. 50,000 on State Bank of India for deducting more than 3 lakhs from petitioners account held that pension is a property under Article 300 A of the Constitution of India and it is a fundamental right to livelihood under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Background/Facts

The petitioner is a retired Assistant Foreman and a drawing basic pension of Rs. 25,634 post the recommendation of the 5th, 6th and the 7th pay commission. The petitioners bank (SBI) deducted more than Rs. 3 lakhs from the account stating that an amount of Rs. 872 per month was ‘erroneously paid’ in excess to the petitioner due to technical error in the system. The petitioner approached the Hon’ble High Court with a letter from the former employer stating that the pension at the rate of Rs. 26,000 has been correctly notified. Relying on clause (C) of an RBI circular the bank claimed to have an authority to recover the excess payment made to the petitioner and further contended that no memo was received by the bank from the former employer of the petitioner of enhancement of pension.

Held

The Hon’ble court held that bank liable and observed that the action of the bank was arbitrary, unreasonable, unauthorized and in flagrant violation of the principles of natural justice and cannot be sustained.The hon’ble court further observed that “the pension payable to the employees upon superannuation is a ‘property’ under Article 300-A of the Constitution of India and it constitutes a fundamental right to livelihood under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The deprivation, even a part of this amount, cannot be accepted, except in accordance with an authority of law.”

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