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“GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, CAN’T CLAIM HRA WHILE SHARING RENT FREE ACCOMMODATION ALLOTTED TO HIS FATHER, A RETIRED GOVERNMENT SERVANT: SUPREME COURT”

“GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, CAN’T CLAIM HRA WHILE SHARING RENT FREE ACCOMMODATION ALLOTTED TO HIS FATHER, A RETIRED GOVERNMENT SERVANT: SUPREME COURT”

Case title: R.K Munshi v/s Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir And Ors
Case no.: SLP (CIVIL) NO. 43 OF 2022
Dated on: 02nd May 2024
Quorum: Justice Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Hon’ble Mr. B.R. Gavai

FACTS OF THE CASE
The appellant was working as an telecom inspector in Jammu and Kashmir, he was issued a recovery notice under Rule 6(h) of the Jammu and Kashmir civil Services (House Rent Allowance and City Compensation Allowance) Rules, 1992 due to a complaint of availing government accommodation while drawing HRA. Appellant failed to prove that the quarter in question was not under his occupation/possession, recovery notice was challenged in writ court and Letters Patent Appeal unsuccessful. Appellant’s counsel argued that the quarter was allotted in the name of his father, a Retd. Deputy superintendent of police, and he occasionally shared the accommodation. Appellant was asked to deposit Rs.3,96,814/- as unauthorized HRA drawn.
The director police, telecom communicated about recovery of outstanding rentals due to unauthorized HRA drawls by the appellant the High court’s dismissal of the writ petition and appeal did not consider all relevant clauses of rule 6(h) of Rules of 1992, the court only focused only one part of the rule while overlooking the part that was in favour of the appellant.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT
Learned counsel for appellant submits that indisputable, the quarter in question had been allotted in the name of appellant’s father who was a Retd. Dy SP. The appellant occasionally shared the official accommodation allotted to his father. Later appellant counsel urged that the High Court glossed over the relevant clauses of Rule 69(h) of Rules of 1992 while dismissing the writ petition as well as the appeal flied by the appellant. The pertinent contention raised by the learned counsel was that had the High Court considered the provisions contained in Rule6(h)(iv), the recovery notice could not have been sustained.
Later he submits that the appellant cannot be charged HRA on account of occasional shared residence in the said quarter. The implored the court to set aside the impugned orders and the recovery notice.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

Submission by the Respondents, has argued that the fervently opposed the submissions advanced by the Learned counsel for appellant. He urged that indisputably, the appellant enjoyed residence in the Government quarter allotted to his father and thus by virtue of Rule 6(h)(i) and (ii) reproduced supra, he was not entitled to claim HRA. He thus, submitted that the impugned recovery notice is justified in the eyes of law. We have given our thoughtful consideration to the submissions advanced at bar and have gone through the material available on record.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 6(h) of Rules of Jammu and Kashmir civil Services (House Rent Allowance and City Compensation Allowance) Rules, 1992.
Rule 6(h) of Rules of 1992: A government employee shall not be entitled to HRA (House Rent Allowance)

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The appellant’s father, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police and a displaced Kashmiri pandit, was allotted quarter No 6-A. Rule 6(h) of Rules of 1992 outlines conditions for House Rent Allowance, including restrictions on entitlement if sharing accommodation or residing in government-allotted quarters. Under Rule 6(h), a government employee is not entitled to House Rent Allowance if residing in accommodation allotted to parents, son, or daughter by the government. The rule also restricts entitlement if the employee’s spouse has been allotted accommodation at the same station, regardless of whether they reside together or separately. In cases where multiple family members who are government employees share accommodation allotted to another government servant, House Rent Allowance is admissible to only one of them as chosen. The appellant’s father retired in 1993 and is not entitled to claim HRA post-retirement. Quarter No.6-A was allotted to the appellant’s father as a displaced Kashmiri pandit and retired government servant. Being retired, the appellant’s father is not entitled to receive HRA. The court has considered the submissions made and reviewed the available record. The appellant, being a Government employee, was not entitled to claim HRA while sharing rent-free accommodation allotted to his father, a retired Government servant. Rule 6(h)(iv) cited by the appellant does not apply to the current situation. Rule 6(h)(i) and 6(h)(ii) cited by the High Court in rejecting the challenge to the recovery notice cover the controversy. Hence the appeal is dismissed ass devoid of force no order as to costs is issued. Pending applications (s) if any, stand disposed of.
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Judgement Reviewed by – HARIRAGHAVA JP

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