28 Sep 2008, 0553 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal,TNN
PATNA: In a significant verdict, the Patna High Court on Friday directed the state government to pay penal interest of 18 per cent per annum on retiral dues of its employees. The retiral dues have not been not paid for the last several years in a number of cases.
A single bench presided over by Justice Jaya Nandan Singh delivered the judgment on a bunch of 260 writ petitions of Ram Ekbal Singh and other employees of the state government.
It also directed the state government to fix individual responsibility of officials and employees whose lapse led to non-payment of retiral benefits.
Justice Singh added that the 18 per cent penal interest would be over and above the statutory interest on retiral dues which the employees are entitled to. This should be calculated from the date of their filing the writ petitions till the payment of the principal amount.
Maintaining that it would not be proper to saddle the public exchequer with the extra burden of the interest payment for the fault of the state government, it said individual government functionaries at different levels would have to be held responsible and the interest amount recovered from their salary.
"This is because they did not comply with the requirement of law and the instructions issued by the government from time to time as regards payment of retiral dues," the bench said.
For this purpose, the commissioner and secretary of the respective departments should hold an inquiry and fix responsibility.
The head of the department - commissioner - should take disciplinary action against those responsible for the lapse, as per a cabinet decision taken by the state government on May 10, 1974, and a circular issued by the state government on October 5, 1993.