The Orissa High Court has held that employees, whether current or former, are entitled to salary or pension, whichever the case, as a Right to Life under Article 21 and Right to Property under Article 300A of the Constitution.
The petitioner had joined as headmaster in the non-government aided Panchayat High School in Bolangir district. The school was taken over by the Government later, which made the petitioner a government servant, till he retired in 2001. However, despite his age (74), he had to run around to receive dues and payments that he rightfully deserved.
Although he did manage to get his dues after almost two decades of consistent follow-up, it was observed that his grievance would only be completely redressed if he was paid the interest on the amount which was held up for over two decades.
After all, the Court observed that salaries and pensions are a matter of right of employees, whether they are still serving the State or were formerly serving.
In this case, the headmaster had served the Orissa government till he retired, and therefore, he is entitled to the payment of salary, as part of his right to life under Article 21 and his right to property as per Article 300A of the Constitution.
In the Court’s words, pensions and salaries are a “matter of a rightful entitlement recognised by the applicable rules and regulations which govern the service of the employees of the State” and that “there was no material justification to take such time for fixing arrears of the petitioner.”