Retired primary school teacher had first moved court in 1999, after failing to get his grievance redressed by the State government
The Orissa High Court has directed the State government to pay post-retirement benefits to the widow of a teacher 11 years after his death.
Prafulla Chandra Mohanty, who retired as a primary school teacher in Odisha’s Cuttack district in 1986, had moved court against the non-consideration of higher scale to which he was entitled, before his superannuation.
Before moving the Orissa High Court in 1999, he had sent a number of letters to the School and Mass Education Department for redressal of his grievance.
Though he won the case in the High Court in 2004, the Odisha government went in appeal in the Supreme Court in 2008. As the court battle drew on, Mohanty died in 2010.
The Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition, declining to condone the delay in filing appeal by the State government in 2018.
However, the retirement benefits still eluded his family members. His widow, Minalata Mohanty, became the petitioner and carried on the legal fight for availing the benefits due to her late husband. She moved the Orissa High Court again, seeking immediate government action on the court order.
While delivering the order, Orissa High Court judge Justice Biswanath Rath observed, “Looking to the cause title, this court finds the petitioner’s wife is also 83 years. She has lost her husband and there should not be any further delay in release of entitlements as per the 2004 judgment of Orissa HC, at least to see the 83-year-old lady spends her last part of life with peace.”
Justice Rath also expressed strong displeasure over State government’s inaction: “This court here also observes retention of admissible entitlements even after three years of disposal of Special Leave Petition becomes a crime. There is also requirement for bringing all persons responsible for such delay to book to check no repetition of this conduct in future.”
The Orissa High Court directed the State government to calculate the whole benefits, along with re-fixation of pension of the husband and family pension in favour his widow within a period of three weeks, considering that there was inordinate delay in the implementation of the High Court’s judgment for nearly two decades.
The High Court also directed to release of arrears within one month from the date of communication of the order. Taking the widow’s age into consideration, the court directed that she should be informed of administrative decisions by special speed messenger.
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