HC Reprimanded Punjab for taking away Bed-Ridden Widow's Right to Life

Rozana Spokesman

News, Punjab

State violated her constitutional, statutory & human rights by denying her family pension: Justice


CHANDIGARH: Slamming Punjab for trying to take away the bed-ridden widow's right to life, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has clarified that she was entitled to exemplary costs of Rs 2 lakh. Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri also ruled that the state violated her constitutional, statutory and human rights by denying her family pension, her husband's pension and other benefits.

What is shocking is that four years after the death of the petitioner's husband, an order has been passed commenting that she is guilty of grave misconduct, which is totally unknown to service jurisprudence. Justice Puri also clarified that pension and other benefits cannot be denied in the case of a deceased employee after relying of the Punjab Civil Services Rules. The codes covers the Government's right to withhold pension on the basis of future good conduct, within its domain, which is said to be an integral condition for grant of pension, whereas in the present case, the petitioner-husband has already died and the question of future good conduct does not arise.

Accepting the petition filed by Kaushalya Devi, Justice Puri said that she was confined to bed, yet she was wandering from house to house seeking justice. In her second leg of the suit, she was seeking family pension, which was not only a constitutional but also a constitutional right under Article 300-A of the Constitution, which provided that no one could be deprived of property. 

Legal Aid Advocate Arnav Sood, appearing for the petitioner, said that she had been suffering for about eight years after the passing away of her husband in 2015. The state counsel said that the employee had not disclosed his conviction at the time of retirement. The bench was also told that the pension and other pensionary benefits are withheld as the benefit cannot be granted to the employee in view of gross misconduct and negligence.