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Supreme Court of India
Oriental Bank Of Commerce And Ors vs Janak Raj Sharma on 1 October, 2019Author: A.S. Bopanna

Bench: R. Banumathi, A.S. Bopanna, Hrishikesh Roy

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NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

Civil Appeal No(s). 7757 OF 2003
(Arising out of SLP(C)No.18705 of 2016)

ORIENTAL BANK OF COMMERCE AND ORS. Appellant(s)

VERSUS

JANAK RAJ SHARMA Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T

A.S. BOPANNA, J.:

Leave granted.

(2) The respondent was working as a Senior Manager in

appellants-Bank. He took voluntary retirement on 15.01.2001.

On 23.08.2010, the appellants-Bank issued circular granting

opportunity to the employees who were in service of the Bank

prior to 29.09.1995 and had retired after the date but prior

to 27.04.2010 to opt for the pension scheme. The circular had

a last date of application which was 25.10.2010 but the

respondents got to know about the said circular only on

18.11.2010. He applied for the same. His application was

rejected by the appellants-Bank on the account of late

submission of the application. Being aggrieved by such

rejection,
Signature Not Verified
respondent filed writ petition before the High
Digitally signed by
MAHABIR SINGH
Date: 2019.10.04
Court.
17:17:31 IST
Reason:
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(3) The learned Single Judge vide order dated 04.09.2015

allowed C.W.P. NO.9855 of 2012 filed by the respondent relying

on the judgment passed by the Bombay High Court in the case of

Kayoji Sorabji Mirza v. UBI & Ors. and held that the

respondent was being abroad at that time had no knowledge of

the circular dated 23.08.2010. Therefore, the rejection of

the application of the respondent filed after the cut-off date

is held not justified keeping in mind the facts of the case.

Being aggrieved, the appellants-Bank filed LPA before the

Division Bench.

(4) The Division Bench vide order dated 30.09.2015 dismissed

the LPA filed by the appellants-Bank on the ground that the

respondent exercised his option under the pension scheme after

he returned from abroad as he was not aware of the circular

until he was abroad.

(5) In that background, the appellants-Bank is before this

Court assailing the order dated 06.04.2016 passed by the

Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at

Chandigarh in LPA NO.1465 of 2015. Through the said order the

Division Bench of the High Court has upheld the order passed by

the learned Single Judge whereby a direction had been issued to

the appellants-Bank to accept the option exercised by the

respondent herein under the Pension Scheme and pay him the

pension as per the Scheme governing the same.

(6) We have heard Mr. Jagat Arora, learned counsel appearing

for the appellants-Bank and Mr. Snehasish Mukherjee, learned
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counsel appearing for the respondent and also perused the

impugned judgment and the materials on record.

(7) Though the contentions have been urged on merits by Mr.

Jagat Arora, learned counsel appearing for the appellants-Bank,

to justify the action we do not find it necessary to advert to

the details of the said aspect since the fact that the cut-off

date had been fixed by the appellants-Bank to exercise the

option is undisputed. The same is in consonance with the

scheme which has been floated by all public sector banks

whereby the date for opting for the pension scheme is provided

thereunder. The option had been given to the officers who had

retired prior to the said date to exercise the said option

subject to conditions imposed.

(8) In the present circumstance, the option was to be

exercised by the respondent herein prior to 25.10.2010. The

respondent had contended that he could not exercise such option

as he was abroad during the relevant point of time from

24.11.2009 and did not know the extension of the scheme and

time granted by the appellants-Bank as he returned only on

18.11.2010, after the cut-off date.

(9) In the normal circumstance when a publication of the cut-

off date was made while introducing the scheme, it would be

appropriate to hold that the option should have been exercised

within the last date as prescribed as otherwise there would not

be finality. We uphold the Pension Scheme 2010 and with cut-ff

date for exercising option as on 25.10.2010.
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(10) However, considering the fact that the respondent had

rendered long period of service to the appellants-Bank and

keeping in view that in exceptional circumstance the learned

Single Judge as well as the Division Bench of the High Court

had directed the appellants-Bank to accept the option exercised

by the respondent herein, we are not inclined to interfere with

the impugned order. However, we reiterate and make it clear

that such direction issued is in the exceptional circumstance

keeping in view the facts involved in the instant case and the

same shall not be treated as a precedent in any other case. It

is also made clear that in respect of the said Pension Scheme

if any other matter is pending before any other Court in

respect of the appellant-Bank herein or other public sector

banks, the direction as approved in the instant appeal shall

not be treated as a precedent in such cases and the said cases

shall be dealt with independently on its own merits.

(11) In the said circumstance, we approve the order passed by

the High Court limited to the facts of the present case subject

to the respondent herein returning the provident fund

contribution already paid to him in the year 2001 along with

interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of voluntary

retirement scheme i.e. 16.01.2001 till the cut-off date i.e.

25.10.2010 as per the second pension option scheme in terms of

the scheme within fifteen days from today. The appellants-Bank

shall process the request of the respondent herein for payment

of pension and pay the pension any benefit dues within a period

of sixty days from the date of receipt of request as well as
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the refund of provident fund contribution, as stated above.

The payment of pension to the respondent shall be with effect

from the date of the order passed by the learned Single Judge

i.e. 04.09.2015. It is made clear that in respect of payment

of the pension which is ordered from 04.09.2015 till the date

of receipt, the respondent would not be entitled to claim any

interest on the said amount.

(12) The appeal is accordingly disposed of.

……………………..J.
(R. BANUMATHI)

……………………..J.
(A.S. BOPANNA)

……………………..J.
(HRISHIKESH ROY)
NEW DELHI,
OCTOBER 01, 2019.

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