The Supreme Court has imposed an exemplary cost of Rs one lakh on School Education Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu for challenging the pensionary benefits of a retired Sweeper-cum-Sanitary worker.
The Bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy directed the State Education Department to deposit the amount in the welfare fund of the Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association within four weeks.
The Apex Court dismissed the petitions with exemplary costs, noting that this had led to pensionary rights of the sweeper-cum-sanitary worker being dragged in further litigation.
The government of Tamil Nadu had contended that the delay was caused due to the time taken to obtain the legal opinion and in translation of certain documents.
The top court of the country further noted that the petition seeking special leave to appeal against that order was also delayed by a period of 154 days.
The State of Tamil Nadu had moved the Supreme Court by way of a review petition, challenging the Madras High Court order, which permitted pensionary rights to the Respondent.
The Apex Court noted that the Respondent was engaged as Sweeper-cum-Sanitary Worker in 1992 on a consolidated pay of Rs 105 per month.
His services were regularised from December 2, 2002 after the High Court passed directions to that effect. He attained the age of superannuation on June 30, 2012. Since then, he has filed several writ petitions.
The present case relating to pensionary benefits of respondent No 1 have gone through several stages of litigation, including the writ petitions, intra-court appeal and even a review petition.
The Apex Court further granted liberty to the petitioners to recover the amount of costs from the persons/officers responsible for pursuing and sanctioning such ‘frivolous’ petitions.
(Case title: The Principal Secretary & Ors vs K Lakshmanan & Anr)