Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Feb 4:
The widow of a retired Odisha school teacher won a 41-year long legal battle after the Orissa High Court directed the School and Mass Education department to grant her family pension.
Banambar Das started his career as a school teacher at Alaka High School in Balia in Jagatsinghpur district in 1950. After serving for over two decades, Das attained superannuation on 6 April, 1974.
Post his retirement, his pension papers could not be processed as his service records from June 1 to September 3, 1964 were missing.
After running from pillar to post to get his monthly pension, Das passed away in 1975 without getting any relief from the department. The family of the retired school teacher approached Orissa High Court seeking relief. Adjudicating over the case, the court granted relief to Rani Das, the widow of the retired school teacher, after more than four decades of legal hassles.
The petitioner’s counsel told the court that the endorsement letter from the school teachers and school SI declaring that Das was working during that period was sufficient as evidence.
In 2015, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) had directed payment of pension and clearance of arrears within three months to Rani Das. The Tribunal had also instructed that any delay in the payment shall be compensated with 18 per cent interest by the department of School and Mass Education and the amount shall be deducted from the respective officer-in-charge’s salary.
But, the department challenged the Tribunal order in the High Court instead of releasing funds to Das’ family.
Rejecting the writ petition, a division bench comprising of Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice S C Parija maintained the SAT order for payment of outstanding dues and granting family pension to Rani Das.