High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab & Ors - CWP-7907-2004  RD-P&H 3079 (11 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
CWP NO.7907 of 2004.
Date of Decision : 16.05.2006.
State of Punjab and others ....Respondents.
Coram:- Hon'ble Mr.Justice J.S. Khehar.
Hon'ble Mr. Justice P.S. Patwalia
Present: Mr. M.L. Sachdeva, Advocate
for the petitioner.
Mr.Ashok Aggarwal, Addl. A.G. Punjab,
for the respondents.
J.S. Khehar, J. (Oral).
The petitioner's wife died in harness. After the death of his wife, the petitioner was granted family pension. Besides granting family pension to the petitioner, his daughter was granted employment on compassionate grounds.
Despite the fact, that the petitioner's daughter was accommodated in government employment, the petitioner continued to draw family pension alongwith dearness allowance. The authorities, on realising, that the petitioner could not have been paid dearness allowance in addition to the family pension after his daughter had been given employment on compassionate grounds, have sought to recover the same.
Learned counsel for the petitioner does not challenge the action CWP NO.7907 of 2004 Page numbers
of the authorities in arriving at the conclusion that the petitioner was not entitled to dearness allowance on family pension after the employment of his daughter on compassionate grounds. The petitioner, however, wishes to limit his claim so as to challenge the recovery of dearness allowance wrongfully paid to him. The limited relief sought by the petitioner in this case is based on the determination rendered by a Division Bench of this Court in Mukhtiar Singh and others V. State of Punjab and others (CWP No.891 of 2003 decided on 20.1.2004). The decision rendered by this Court in Mukhtiar Singh's case (supra) was based on the decision of the Supreme Court in Sahib Ram V. State of Haryana and others, 1995(1) Services Cases Today 668.
Learned counsel for the respondents, in order to controvert the claim of the petitioner so as to assert, that recovery should be made from the petitioner, placed reliance on a decision rendered by the Apex Court in Union of India and others Vs. Smt. Sujatha Vedachalam and another, 2000 (3) Recent Services Judgments, 47, wherein, the Apex Court had allegedly arrived at the conclusion, that recovery could be made from an employee whose pay had been wrongly refixed.
We have considered the aforesaid contention of the learned counsel for the respondents. We are, however, of the view, that the determination rendered by the Apex Court in Sahib Ram's case (supra) must be deemed to be applicable to the facts of this case. In so far as, Smt.
Sujatha Vedachalam's case (supra) is concerned, on which reliance has been placed by the learned counsel for the respondents, the respondent - Smt.
Sujatha Vedachalam had been transferred on request, with the condition, that she would join the transferee office against a lower post and on the CWP NO.7907 of 2004 Page numbers
lower pay scale. Be that as it may, her pay was fixed at a higher stage. The payment to Smt.Sujatha Vedachalam was wrongfully made by the authorities, the factum of its being wrongful was also to the knowledge of the concerned employee. It is, therefore apparent, from the factual position in Smt. Sujatha Vedachalam's case (supra), that the drawal of pay by the employee in the higher pay scale was deliberate and intentional and to the knowledge of the employee. It could not be described as innocent receipt of higher emoluments as in Sahib Ram's case (supra), wherein, the petitioner was not guilty of having misled or misrepresented to the authorities to seek higher emoluments, and the payment must be deemed to have been made to the employee on account of a wrong understanding of the law.
In view of the above, we are satisfied, that the aforesaid decision, relied upon by the learned counsel for the respondents, would be inapplicable on the issue of recovery, already adjudicated upon by this Court in Mukhtiar Singh & others V. State of Punjab & others (Civil Writ Petition No.891 of 2003, decided on 20.1.2004).
In view of the above, the instant writ petition is allowed in the same terms as in Mukhtiar Singh's case (supra).
( J.S. Khehar )
( P.S. Patwalia )
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