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The Central Administrative Tribunal directed the Western Command to give an interest of seven per cent per annum on the delayed payment of gratuity to a resident of Panchkula, who retired as Upper Divisional Clerk (UDC). Handing out the orders on Thursday, the Chandigarh Bench of the tribunal said, “The applicant is entitled to interest on delayed payment of gratuity which was withheld at the time of retirement on the plea that the criminal case was pending against him, in which the applicant has now been acquitted.” The tribunal said once the applicant has been acquitted, the gratuity becomes due from actual on his retirement.
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Applicant Ram Parkash stated that he retired as Upper Divisional Clerk (UDC) from the Garrison Engineer, Military Engineers Services (MES) on March 31, 1997. Ram joined the department as Low Divisional Clerk (LDC) on January 12, 1963, and retired on attaining the age of superannuation on March 31, 1997. When in service, a criminal case was registered against Ram on May 16, 1996. He was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating and criminal conspiracy. On the date of retirement, Ram was given the provisional pension only and other benefits which become available to him on the date of retirement were withheld by the respondents.
Subsequently, Ram was acquitted from the criminal case by the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Jalandhar on January 5, 2013. Soon after the acquittal, Ram submitted a representation along with the judgment in which he was acquitted. He gave the representation on February 7, 2013. He gave another representation on May 8, 2015.
The respondents soon released the gratuity worth Rs 99, 792 on February 27, 2015. Other benefits given to a retired personnel were also given to Ram.
In its reply, the respondents resisted the claim of the applicant in which it said that a criminal case was pending against Ram at the time of his retirement, therefore, under the rule formulation, they had withheld the amount of gratuity and other retiral benefits and have allowed the provisional pension only.
Advocate K K Thakur argued that the applicant is not entitled for award of interest on delayed payment as at the time of retirement, one criminal case was pending against the applicant and immediately, on his acquittal, the respondents released the retiral benefits.