Delay in disbursement of retirement benefits: Himachal High Court orders Health Secretary to conduct Inquiry  

Himachal Pradesh High Court ordered the State Secretary of Health to conduct an Inquiry into a matter of delay in the disbursement of retirement benefits to a health officer.

Single Judge Bench of Justice Satyan Vaidya passed an order on August 28, 2023 copy of which was supplied to us today held that authorities must be held accountable for delays in fulfilling their duties, particularly regarding the prompt disbursement of retirement benefits to government employees.

In the matter of Dr. Vinay Patyal vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and others, a 13-page order said that state authorities who hold public funds in trust should not be allowed to waste public money through unjustified delays as it could significantly impact public welfare programs.

The court made the above remarks while hearing a plea of a Medical Officer, who after rendering 29 years of Service in the health department and retiring on August 24, 2021, did not receive pensions and GPF after passing almost a year.

According to the order, the petitioner had to wait for two years after retirement to receive his full retirement benefits.

The petitioner’s retirement dues remained unpaid, and the government could not provide a clear timeline for their disbursement, it added.

“The picture that emerges is quite dismal and painful. Two years have elapsed since the retirement of the petitioner; he has not been disbursed his entire dues to date.

 The petitioner contended before the court that a substantial amount of dues still remains to be paid to him. 

The bench also observed that the state has not yet been sure about the timeline within which it would be able to discharge the liability.

The court holding the public authority, responsible for the discharge of duties said that they had failed to commute the dues and should be made accountable for its lapses. 

The court held that the interest payable to the petitioner on pension arrears be recovered from responsible public officers, to be identified by the State Principal Secretary (Health) by conducting an inquiry.

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