The Punjab and Haryana High Court High Court Tuesday said that no recovery shall be made from the bank account of Justice Sushil Kumar Jain (retired) till further orders.
The State Bank of India in May had started proceedings to recover Rs 3,26,020 from the retired judge’s account, which it said, was paid “erroneously” as excess fixed medical allowance with the monthly pension between January 2006 and February 2020.
“There shall be no recovery proceedings until next date of hearing,” a division bench of Justices SN Satyanarayana and Archana Puri said in the order, while issuing a notice to Haryana government and the SBI Central Pension Processing Centre for September 9.
The former judge, through his counsel Sumeet Goel, submitted that the recovery is illegal and is in violation of a Supreme Court judgement passed in his case, which made it clear that whatever amount has already been paid to him shall not be recovered or adjusted by the authorities and they shall continue to pay him the due amount.
Submitting that the recovery has been initiated unilaterally, it was also argued that the recovery of payment made mistakenly to a retired employee are impermissible as per the law laid down by the apex court.
Some part of the amount has already been deducted by the bank from Jain’s account.
Jain, 87, retired as a judge of the Allahabad High Court in 1995. Prior to that, he had retired from Haryana Superior Judicial Services (HSJS) in October 1991 and was elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in March 1992. He served in the HC at Chandigarh between March and July 1992.
The controversy, as per his petition, seems to have originated from his earlier litigation in which he in 1995 sought benefit of 10 years, for computing his pension, towards the service rendered by him in the HSJS. He had been appointed to the HSJS or the superior judicial services from the Bar.
Punjab earlier had made a rule that a direct recruit to the superior judicial service will get benefit of the actual period of practice at the Bar not exceeding 10 years, in service towards superannuation pension and other retiral benefits.
A Full Court of the High Court in 1990 passed a resolution and asked Haryana to make a similar amendment but the matter remained pending till 2003.
When a similar notification was issued finally by Haryana in 2003, it was made prospective and not retrospective.
The High Court in 2013 dismissed Jain’s petition for retrospective application of Haryana’s notification. However, he got relief from the Supreme Court in 2015.
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