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The heirs of a deceased employee must be paid the death-cum-retirement benefits along with the interest by the employer: High Court of Jharkhand

When an employee has passed away, the death and retirement benefits owed to him must be paid by the employer to the deceased’s family along the suitable interest. This was held in the judgement passed by a single member bench of the High Court of Jharkhand consisting of Justice Dr. S.N. Pathak in the case of Niraj Kumar v The State of Jharkhand [W.P. (S) No. 7353 of 2019] pronounced on 10th August 2021.

The petitioner, Niraj Kumar first approached the court with the prayer that the respondents give him employment on compassionate grounds due to his father’s death as well as pay his father’s death-cum-retirement benefits along with suitable a interest rate to his family. The petitioner’s father, the late Ram Dahin Singh was working as a peon for the Irrigation Department in Jamtara when he died on 30th January 2007. The petitioner had submitted the Succession Certificate along with the other relevant documents to the respondents hoping to be appointed to a post by them. However seeing that they refused to consider his application, he moved to the court hoping for relief through the present writ petition.

The petitioner’s counsel later contended before the honourable Court that the petitioner was willing to forgo the appointment on compassionate grounds if he could just be granted the retirement-cum-death benefits with 12% interest that was owed to his family on account of his father’s death which took place more than 14 years ago. The petitioner brought to the notice of the court that he also had a sister who was a legal heir of their father and hence wished for the benefits to be given 50% to him and 50% to his sister. The case of The State of Andhra Pradesh & Another v Smt. Dinavahi Lakshmi Kameswari [Civil Appeal No. 399 of 2021] was cited, where it was held by the Supreme Court of India that retirement benefits owed to an employee cannot be denied to his family if he passes away.

Justice Dr. S.N. Pathak declared that “this Court is of the considered view that since petitioner has rescinded the claim for compassionate appointment and now pressing claim for payment of retiral benefits, the same may be extended to him taking into account the Succession Certificate and P.F. Certificate” It was also added that “Since the decease employee died on 30.01.2007 and till date retiral benefits have not been paid to the legal heirs and as such taking into consideration the law laid down in the Judgment rendered by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of The State of Andhra Pradesh and Another vs. Smt. Dinavahi Lakshmi kameswari the respondents are directed to consider for payment of statutory interest also along with retiral benefits”. The writ petition was accordingly allowed.

Click here for the judgement

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