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Supreme Court dismisses Uttar Pradesh appeal against Allahabad HC order on pension scheme

It was contended by learned Standing Counsel before the Court that the old pension scheme was applicable till 31.3.2005. The new pension scheme was applicable to the employees, who had joined service on 1.4.2005 and subsequently, thus no benefit could have been accorded to the respondents as they had joined after the cut-off date.

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed its appeal against the Junior Engineer (Civil), irrigation department, alleging they cannot get the benefit of Old Pension Scheme as they have joined after the cut-off date for applicability of scheme. 

The High Court had held that an appointment letter was already issued to them (junior engineers), a day before the cut-off date, therefore the date of joining is immaterial as they rightly accrued the benefit of the Old Pension Scheme. The intra court appeal filed by the State of UP was dismissed by the High Court in view of the catena of judgments laid down by the high court itself. 

Today, after hearing V.K. Shukla, the counsel representing Uttar Pradesh, the Division Bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Ajay Rastogi said they were not inclined to interfere with the order passed by the High Court and dismissed the petition.

The facts, in brief, are that Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (in short “Commission”) issued an advertisement on 31.12.2002 for recruitment against 361 posts of Junior Engineer (Civil), Irrigation Department. The last date for submission of the application form was 27.01.2003. The selection process took place and the accordingly select list was forwarded to the State Government on 08.12.2004. Pursuant to the recommendation of the Commission, the State Authorities issued appointment letters to various selected candidates on different dates ranging from 02.3.2005 till 10.6.2005. As far as the respondents are concerned, they were granted an appointment letter on 30.3.2005, while they joined service on 07.4.2005 and 04.4.2005 respectively.

It was contended by learned Standing Counsel before the Court that the old pension scheme was applicable till 31.3.2005. The new pension scheme was applicable to the employees, who had joined service on 1.4.2005 and subsequently, thus no benefit could have been accorded to the respondents as they had joined after the cut-off date.

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The high court had noted that the issue for consideration was as to the applicability of the new pension scheme which came into force since 1.04.2005 or to give effect to the old pension scheme to the petitioner/nonappellants as they were given appointment prior to 01.04.2005. Further, it noted that “the case of the petitioners/ non—appellants is that they were given appointment letter on 30.03.2005, thus would be entitled to the benefit of old pension scheme as the date of joining is immaterial.”

The high court had dismissed the appeal and held that “We do not find any error in the judgment. It is not only the date of appointment is relevant but candidates lower in merit out of the same selection are governed by the old pension scheme because appointments and joining were given from time to time before even 01.4.2005, thus appellant cannot be derived of the same benefits.”

Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the petitioners approached the Apex Court.

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