The Madras High Court ruled that the family’s treatment by the authorities over the previous 36 years during which the widow of the dead employee also passed away as being inhumane in addition to being illegal.

Case Title: The Chennai District Collector and Others v T.V.S. Jaya Perumal (Died)

Case No: W.A.No.2445 of 2019

Decided on: 06th October, 2023



The Madras High Court while hearing an appeal by the Chennai District Collector, Kancheepuram District Collector, and the Saidapet Taluk Tahsildar challenging a single judge’s order instructing them to disburse terminal benefits and family pension ruled that the family’s treatment by the authorities over the previous 36 years during which the widow of the dead employee also passed away as being inhumane in addition to being illegal.

 Facts of the Case

 In 1987, the respondent TVS Jaya, Perumal’s wife, first applied for the family pension, the Sub-Collector at the time gave the Tahsildar instructions to look into the request and take the necessary measures and it was noted by the court that nothing has been done in spite of this order. Again, the Tahsildar was told to handle the matter when Jaya went to the District Collector in 1989 because he was not receiving any response. Jaya went to the High Court, where a lone judge ordered the government to comply with the payment requirement because nothing was being done.

The Saidapet Taluk Tahsildar, the District Collector of Chennai, and the District Collector of Kancheepuram filed an appeal with the court contesting an earlier ruling made by a single judge. The directive instructed them to pay the late TS Perumal’s family the terminal benefits and family pension that were due to him. He died in 1987 while working as a village assistant at the Tahsildar’s office in Mambalam-Guindy. The appellant Jaya had died and this is a pending appeal. This led to the addition of Perumal’s 60-year-old son as a party to the appeal, since he struggles with various health concerns.

 Courts analysis and decision

The court denounced the widespread practice of officials discharging their responsibilities, describing it as an ordinary occurrence. The statement recommended that authorities take into account the current case as a template for addressing family pension-related disputes and support the creation of a system that is compliant with current legislation.

As the court described the family’s circumstances as “pathetic,” it was important to emphasise that even though Perumal was at the bottom of the hierarchy, his contribution was fundamental and important. The court stated that internal administrative procedures should not cause the family undue anguish, even if it acknowledged that there might have been uncertainty regarding which office was in charge of processing pension documents. A pattern of authorities dodging their duties was a source of worry for the court.

The authorities’ appeal was dismissed by the court. Though the court was inclined to impose a cost of Rs. 10,000, it declined, fearing that authorities would use it as a ruse to use public funds unjustifiably for appeals and payment delays. The authorities were ordered by the court to pay out the benefits, including any arrears owed to Perumal’s family, within eight weeks of the appeal being dismissed without costs.

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Written by- Rupika Goundla

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