Supreme Court of India
Veena Pandey vs Union Of India on 18 November, 2021Author: Hrishikesh Roy

Bench: R. Subhash Reddy, Hrishikesh Roy



(Arising Out of SLP (C) No.15113 OF 2018)





Hrishikesh Roy, J.

Leave granted.

2. The present appeal arises out of claims for

pensionary benefits under the Coal Mines Pension

Scheme, 1998 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Pension

Scheme, 1998’ for short). The appellant’s husband

Ramashankar Pandey rendered service in the South

Signature Not VerifiedEastern Coal Fields Ltd., Bilaspur, after being
Digitally signed by
Rajni Mukhi
Date: 2021.11.18
17:00:25 IST
Reason: transferred from Bharat Coking Coal Ltd in 1999. The

employee retired on 31.05.2004 as Chief Personnel

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Manager at Bilaspur and later settled in Bhojpur,

Bihar with his family. He opted for receiving 90%

pension during his life time as provided under para

15 1(b) of the Pension Scheme, 1998 effective from

31.03.1998. Since the employee opted to receive 90%

of the total admissible amount of the pension during

his lifetime, on his death on 12.01.2011, the widow

of the pensioner became entitled to receive in lump

sum, an amount equal to 100 times his full monthly

pension, in addition to family pension. The record

shows that Rs.7091/- p.m. was sanctioned to the

employee as Basic Pension under the Pension Scheme,

1998 w.e.f 01.06.2004 and 10% of his Basic Pension

i.e Rs. 788/- p.m. was deposited with the department.

3. Following the employee’s death on 12.01.2011, as

per the Pension Scheme, 1998 the widow of the

pensioner made claim for a sum equivalent to 100

times the full monthly pension of her husband and

vide letter dated 30.09.2012, she applied for payment

of the lump sum amount in pursuance of para 15(1)(b)

read with para 15(2) of the Pension Scheme, 1998.

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4. The appellant’s representation was however

rejected. In the letter dated 22.01.2013 of the

Regional Commissioner of the Coal Mines Provident

Fund Organization (‘CMPFO’ for short) it was stated

that the pensioner had opted for payment of 90%

pension under para 15 (1)(b) of the Pension Scheme,

1998, but the aforesaid provision was abolished w.e.f

21.02.2011. It was also intimated that the 10%

surrendered amount had been refunded to all

pensioners with interest under the order dated

30.01.2012 of the Coal Mines Provident Fund


5. The appellant was refunded the surrendered amount

of 10% with interest (Rs. 36,938/-) along with widow

pension arrears (Rs.12,351/-), in total Rs. 49,289/-,

whereas she claimed a higher sum under the now

abolished provisions of the Pension Scheme.

6. Aggrieved by the above stand of the employer, the

appellant moved the High Court of Patna for disbursal

of the pensionary benefits and also to quash the

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letter dated 22.01.2013 of the Regional Commissioner,

CMPFO whereunder, it had been communicated that, no

other payment is due to the appellant. Her C.W.J.C

No.9837/2014 was however dismissed as not

maintainable by the learned Single Judge on the

ground that no cause of action arose within the

territorial jurisdiction of the High Court of Patna.

This order was affirmed by the Division Bench by

dismissal of the appellant’s LPA No.701/2017 with

similar observation that the services rendered by the

pensioner were outside the territorial jurisdiction

of the Patna High Court and hence the writ petition

filed by the widow of the pensioner was not

maintainable. These orders of the High Court are

impugned in this Appeal.

7. Heard Mr. Santosh Kumar, learned counsel for the

appellant. Also heard Ms. Madhavi Divan, the learned

ASG appearing for the respondents.

8. Ms. Madhavi Divan, learned ASG, points out from

the additional counter affidavit of respondent no. 6

Page 4 of 7
that pursuant to the administrative order dated

04.03.2011 of the Commissioner, CMPFO, the

appellant’s case was settled on 18.04.2011 and 10%

surrendered value of monthly pension along with

applicable interest thereon was refunded.

9. Mr. Santosh Kumar, learned Counsel appearing for

the appellant would however contend that the lumpsum

(100 times of full monthly pension) became payable to

the widow on the death of her husband, who,

subsequent to his retirement, had opted for the same

under the Pension Scheme. The counsel further submits

that the appellant as the widow of the employee is

suffering as she has been non suited by the court on

the ground of want of territorial jurisdiction.

10. It is necessary to note that the Coal Mines

Pension Scheme, 1998 was framed as a measure of

social security for ensuring socio-economic justice

for the employees in the coal sector under the powers

conferred by Section 3-E of the Coal Mines Provident

Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948.

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11. Pension as is well known, is the deferred portion

of the compensation1 for rendering long years of

service. It is a hard-earned benefit accruing to an

employee and has been held to be in the nature of

property by this Court, in State of Jharkhand and

Others Vs. Jitendra Kumar Srivastava and Another2.

12. While considering the appellant’s case, the High

Court did not however consider her entitlement on

merit, but had dismissed both the Writ Petition and

the LPA, citing want of territorial jurisdiction. The

employment of the appellant’s husband with the

respondent employer is however not in dispute.

Nevertheless, for over a decade, the widow of the

employee is forced to litigate to secure the pension


13. In the above peculiar circumstances of this case,

without commenting on the legality of the decision to

discontinue the said provision in the pension scheme

by the employer, as the pensioner was not alive on

1All India Reserve Bank Retired Officers’ Association & ors Vs. Union of
India & ors, (1992) Supp 1 SCC 664
2(2013) 12 SCC 210

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the date of discontinuance, we consider it

appropriate to pass necessary orders in her favor in

this proceeding itself. Resultantly, the sum due and

payable under the Pension scheme be computed and the

same is ordered to be disbursed to the appellant. The

amount earlier refunded to the appellant be adjusted

suitably during the remittance process. The

respondent/ employer should do the needful in terms

of this order, within 8 weeks from today.

14. The appeal is allowed with the above order.

Respective costs to be borne by the parties.


New Delhi
November 18, 2021

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