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Report No. 53

14. Rule an anachronism.-

But the rule is an anachronism so far as India is concerned. A suit to recover arrears of pay of a civil servant is maintainable in India,1 and it is hardly logical to continue the bar in respect of suits for pensions. Considerations of State policy may justify the rule that (subject to certain reservations) a public servant holds office at the pleasure of the head of the State. But such considerations do not justify a general bar against suits for pensions.

In the discussion on the Pensions Bill, Mr. Cockerell2 observed-"the fundamental principle of the Bill", (which in this respect was, as regards its application to the whole of British India, with the exception of a portion of the Bombay Presidency, a mere recapitulation of the existing law), was that "as the bestowal of pensions, money-grants or assignments of land-revenue was a pure act of grace on the part of the ruling power, so the latter justly and necessarily reserved to itself absolute freedom, of action in regard to the disposal of all claims respecting such allowances; hence no power could be left to the Civil Courts to act adversely to the interests or policy of the Government in such matters".

Today this principle cannot be accepted as sound.

1 See also (a) section 9, Superannuation Act, 1887, and (b) section 4, Superannuation Act, 1909.

2. Mr. Cockerell in Proceedings of the Governor-General-in-Council, 8th August, 1871.

Effect of The Pensions Act, 1871 On the Right to Sue for Pensions of Retired Members of the Public Services Back

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