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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

While justice delayed might be justice denied, in true sense, justice always prevails irrespective of time and place. In a glaring instance of such a saying, the Orissa High Court has ordered the State Government to pay retirement dues and pension benefits to a teacher named Prafulla Chandra Mohanty from Salipur area, almost 11 years after his death.

According to reports, Mohanty had filed a case in High Court in 1999 seeking the benefit of deprived time bound advanced scale of payment. The writ petition was disposed of by a division bench of the court in 2004. The bench had ordered the State Government to grant advanced scale of pay in favour of the petitioner as he has completed 15 years of service. It was also observed that since the petitioner had already retired from service, his pay shall be fixed and his pension shall be circulated on the basis of the last pay drawn with all consequential benefits to be worked out within a period of six months.

However, the State Government challenged the order in Supreme Court being registered as SLP (C) No. 31382. The Apex Court dismissed the SLP in 2018 and Prafulla passed away in 2010, 10 years before the order of the Supreme Court.

Alleging inaction by Odisha Government, Prafulla’s 83-year-old wife Minalata Mohanty moved the Orissa High Court again. Hearing the case, the HC expressed its concern over the inordinate delay and ordered the State Government to grant advancement scale of pay in favour of the petitioner.

“Since he had retired in the meantime and he was also entitled to refixation of pension and the differential on account of subsequent benefits as per the judgement of the court,” the court order read.

The Court also ordered the government to calculate the whole benefits along with refixation of pension of the husband so long as he was serving and the arrear pensionary benefit thereon till the date of death of the husband of petitioner and after the death of the husband of the petitioner to calculate the family pension in favour of the wife. 

“This Court observes the petitioner is entitled to interest on the entire arrear at least of 5% from the date of entitlement of husband till the judgment of High Court, then interest of 6% from the date of judgment of Supreme Court, then interest of 6% from the date of judgment of High Court till the disposal of the cases and interest of 10% from 22.8.2018 till the date of release of the arrear amount at least within a period of one month from the date of communication of the order. For unnecessary harassment to the petitioner to rush to this Court in the matter of release of admitted entitlements of the petitioner be also paid a sum of Rs.10,000 as litigation expenses,” the HC order further read.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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