Employees who have resigned cannot claim pension under voluntary retirement scheme

Bombay High Court:  A writ petition by former employees of the respondent bank who asserted that differentiating between ‘resignation’ and ‘voluntary retirement’ was bad in law and unjustified, was dismissed by a Division Bench comprising of M.S. Karnik and A.A. Sayed, JJ. The petitioners’ contention was that since they had been employees of the bank for more than 20 years and had resigned because they had no provision pertaining to voluntary retirement upon completion of 20 years of service, they were entitled to be covered under the Bank of India (Employees) Pension Regulations, 1995.

The Regulations of 1995 provided for entitlement to avail pension after 20 years of service on grounds of voluntary retirement for persons retiring between 1986 and 1993. The petitioners resigned between the aforementioned period and sought that the court declare ‘retirement’ to include ‘resignation’.

The Court rejected their contentions, accepted the cases put forward by the respondent, relied on the definition of ‘retirement’ under the Regulations and held that under service jurisprudence, the concept of resignation is not covered under retirement. Since the petitioners’ employment terms were governed by the Officers Service Regulation, 1979, the Court came to the conclusion that they were not entitled to receive pension under the new scheme. Therefore, the petitioners had voluntarily relinquished their services. [Hutoxi Noshir Shroff v. Bank of India,  2017 SCC OnLine Bom 6600, decided on 21.07.2017]

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