What is a pension?

What is a pension? What are the goals of pension? What public interest or purpose, if any, it seeks to serve? If it does seek to serve some public purpose, is it thwarted by such artificial division of retirement pre and post a certain date?

 The antiquated notion of pension being a bounty a gratuitous payment depending upon the sweet will or grace of the employer not claimable as a right and, therefore, no right to pension can be enforced through Court has been swept under the carpet by the decision of the Constitution Bench in Deoki Nandan Prasad v. State of Bihar and Ors. MANU/SC/0658/1971 : (1971) 2 SCC 330, wherein Apex Court authoritatively ruled that pension is a right and the payment of it does not depend upon the discretion of the Government but is governed by the Rules and a Government servant coming within those Rules is entitled to claim pension.

It was further held that the grant of pension does not depend upon anyone’s discretion. It is only for the purpose of quantifying the amount having regard to service and other allied maters that it may be necessary for the authority to pass an order to that effect but the right to receive pension flows to the officer not because of any such order but by virtue of the rules. This view was reaffirmed in State of Punjab and Anr. v. Iqbal Singh (1976) 2 SCC 1

It is thus hard earned benefit which accrues to an employee and is in the nature of “property”. This right to property cannot be taken away without the due process of law as per the provisions of Article 300A of the Constitution of India.

 The right to receive pension was recognized as a right to property by the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in Deokinandan Prasad v. State of Bihar (1971) 2 SCC 330, as is apparent from the following discussion: (SCC pp. 342-43, paras 27-33)

Right to receive pension is property may be considered to affect the pensioner right regarding property so as to attract Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(1) of the Constitution.

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