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A penalty of cut in pension can be imposed on ground of negligence under Rule 9 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972: High Court of Delhi

Under Rule 9 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, penalty of withholding the pension or retrial benefits, full or in part, can be imposed even on ground of negligence. Negligence has been defined in Cambridge Dictionary Online to mean ‘failure to give enough care or attention to someone or something that you are responsible for’. If there is no finding of grave misconduct during the period of one’s service there could be no question of ordering a cut in pension. If there were no grave misconduct or negligence and neither there was any finding of such nature by the enquiry officer, the penalty needs to be set aside and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Yogesh Khanna in the case of KARAN SINGH ARYA vs. UNION OF INDIA & ANR. [W.P.(C) 4887/2020] on 17.02.2022.

The facts of the case are that petitioner was appointed as a technical assistant in respondent company. The petit1ioner was promoted to the post of Scientist and a vigilance inquiry was initiated, followed by disciplinary proceedings under Rule 14 of the CCS Rules, 1965 against the petitioner on the alleged charge of doubtful integrity and lack of devotion to duty, unbecoming of an employee of the Bureau of Indian Standards. Further, the petitioner was retired prematurely under Rule 56(j)(i). The petitioner challenged the order of premature retirement by preferring a Writ Petition and the same is pending before this Court.

It is the grievance of the petitioner out of four charges three charges were never proved and only one charge was proved partly per the enquiry report but a penalty was imposed upon the petitioner of withholding 10 % of his monthly pension for a period of one year. It is therefore, alleged this order was arbitrary.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that there was no finding given by the enquiry officer that the petitioner was guilty of any grave misconduct or negligence and hence per settled law, the order of cut in the pension ought not to have been made.

According to the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court dismissed the petition on grounds that the penalty was imposed on the petitioner after considering the findings of the inquiry report and being duly considered by a competent authority.

The Court observed that “under Rule 9 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, penalty of withholding the pension or retrial benefits, full or in part, can be imposed even on ground of negligence. Negligence has been defined in Cambridge Dictionary Online to mean ‘failure to give enough care or attention to someone or something that you are responsible for’. If there is no finding of grave misconduct during the period of one’s service there could be no question of ordering a cut in pension. If there were no grave misconduct or negligence and neither there was any finding of such nature by the enquiry officer, the penalty needs to be set aside.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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