The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected the petition of former Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of Meerut seeking payment of gratuity and regular pension maintaining that departmental and criminal proceedings were still going on against him in connection with the 2006 fire at consumer brands exhibition in Meerut in which 64 people were killed and more than 161 others had sustained serious burn injuries.
Arun Kumar Chaturvedi,was then the CFO of Meerut and had retired from service on September 1,2008. He had sought payment of his gratuity from the date of retirement in his petition contending that the departmental proceedings against him had been dropped through an order,passed on July 9,2010,along with a corrigendum passed on August 10,2010. He had also prayed for regular pension and payment of the arrears since 2008 at 12 per cent interest.
Passing the order,the Division Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Surya Prakash Kesarwani,said: It cannot be said that the departmental proceeding has been finally dropped against the petitioner. Besides,it is undisputed that the case.appears to be pending,in which the petitioner is one of the accused,being CFO,District Meerut,when the incident occurred.
The court said that the order in question had clearly mentioned that the departmental proceedings against him would be dropped,subject to the final outcome of the criminal investigation going on against him. Since,the proceedings in connection with the FIR were still going on,it could not be said that the departmental proceedings against the accused CFO have been finally dropped,the court added.
Chaturvedis counsel had argued that since there was no pecuniary loss caused to the state exchequer due to his conduct,his pension and gratuity could not be stopped. However,the court rejected the contention citing several orders of the Supreme Court.
The court also noted that he was being paid provisional pension and some part of gratuity too has been paid to him.