Employee who resigns on eve of retirement after rendering qualifying service does not forfeit his right to pension- Calcutta HC

Noting that the employee had resigned on account of mental depression, the Court observed that “This illness is serious and normally interferes with one’s ability to perform in the workplace.”

The Calcutta High Court recently directed a bank to constitute an authority to determine whether its employee, who had resigned four years before superannuation, could be treated as having voluntarily retired from service.

If found to have voluntarily retired, then an application made by him for availing the pension scheme should be processed by November 20, 2020, the Court further directed. (United Bank of India v Sri Swapan Kumar Mullick & Ors)

The Bench comprising of Justices IP Mukerji and Md. Nizamuddin relied on the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Shashikala Devi vs. Central Bank of India & Ors. wherein it was held that when an employee after rendering qualifying service resigned at a point when only a short time of service was left, a presumption had to be drawn that the employee did not intend to surrender the valuable right of receiving pension.

“Such resignation had to be treated as voluntary retirement. In the circumstances, the employee would be entitled to the pensionary benefits under the scheme. In that case, the employee had only a short period of service left as in our case.” Calcutta High Court

Noting that the employee had cited mental illness to design, and given that there was no aspersion cast against him with regard to his performance or his integrity, the Court opined that there was nothing on record to show that he expressly or impliedly relinquished or waived his right.

Furthermore, a circular of the Indian Banks Association dated June 30, 2015 was brought to the Court’s notice, which suggested that banks were to consider amendments to Regulation 22 of the Bank Employees (Pension Regulation), 1995 so that those employees who had rendered qualifying service, would not be divested of their pension by citing the said regulation.

The Board of Directors of the United Bank of India were, therefore, directed to consider amendment of Regulation 22 of the United Bank of India (Employees’) Pension Regulations, 1995 with or without retrospective effect within 3 months.

In the instant case, it was decided that if an employee resigns on the eve of his retirement after rendering qualifying service, citing mental depression as the cause, he does not forfeit his right to pension on the ground that he has resigned. Such a case would be treated as voluntary retirement, the Court said. (Courtesy: Vimala Vidya)