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Validity of tribe certificate doesn’t impair the legal heirs for getting pension: High Court of Bombay

The legal heirs are entitled to the benefits of family pension to the widow from the date of his death. A division bench comprising of Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge & S.G. Mehare adjudicating the Sunita Late Pradip Thakar v. The State Of Maharashtra And Others (WRIT PETITION NO.6485 OF 2020) dealt with an issue of whether to allow the present writ petition or not.

In the present case, the petitioner is a widow of an employee named Pradip Thakar who belonged to a Scheduled Tribe community. He was issued with the tribe certificate by the Executive Magistrate, Kallam. On 01.03.1982, he was appointed as “Chaukidar”, a post reserved for the Scheduled Tribe category with respondent No.3. He was promoted as “Supervisor” in 2009. He moved his application for seeking validation of his tribe he passed away on 06.11.2019, while being in employment. through the Employer but before the Committee could decide his claim, he passed away on 06.11.2019, while being in employment.

The widow of the deceased moved applications dated 24.12.2019, 02.03.2020, and 24.08.2020 to the respondent authorities seeking the release of the family pension and payment of all retiral benefits like provident fund, gratuity, leave encashment, medical reimbursement, overtime, etc. It is contended by the petitioner that respondent No.3 orally intimated to her that as her husband was appointed on a post reserved for the Scheduled Tribe category and since he did not submit his validity certificate, steps to grant family pension cannot be taken until such validity certificate is produced.

Then on 08.07.2020 and 27.07.2020, the petitioner requested the committee, seeking a decision on her late husband’s pending claim. On 05.08.2020, Committee closed the file of the petitioner’s husband since he had passed away.

Also, the daughter of the petitioner also made an application on 08.07.2020 to respondent No.3, praying for a compassionate appointment. By the communication dated 10.08.2020, respondent No.3 informed her that as her father had not tendered the validity certificate of belonging to the Thakar tribe, her application for compassionate appointment needs to be kept pending in view of the Government Resolution dated 15.06.2020.

The Respondent submits that this petition is not adversarial litigation to the Government. As the husband of the petitioner did not tender the validity certificate, the respondent authorities are helpless.

The court held that there is no dispute that the deceased Pradip Thakar had joined duties on 01.03.1982 and he had passed away on 06.11.2019 after putting in 37 years in employment. His widow would, therefore, be entitled for family pension. Also the court directed that –

(a) The Employer would process the pension papers for grant of family pension to the petitioner and the arrears of family pension shall be paid and payment of regular monthly pension shall commence, on or before 30.10.2021.

(b) Insofar as the provident fund payments are concerned, the petitioner will have to approach the Provident Fund authorities for release of such funds and in the event of there being no other legal impediment, the Provident Fund authorities would also do the needful, on or before 30.10.2021.

(c) Insofar as the gratuity, leave encashment, medical reimbursement and overtime bills are concerned, respondent No.3 shall do the needful and clear such dues as per rules. In the event of there being any dispute with regard to either of these payments, the petitioner would be at liberty to approach the statutory authorities or avail of a remedy as may be prescribed in law.

(d) Considering our conclusion and the decision of this Court in the matter of Prakash Barwal , the application of the daughter of the deceased, namely, Shweta seeking compensation appointment, shall be considered by the respondent authorities as per the procedure laid down in law

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