Report No. 53
15. Whether pension is "property".-
In fact, decisions on the question whether the pension granted to a public servant is "property" thereby attracting Article 31(1) of the Constitution, afford ample evidence of the judicial attitude in this matter. The question came up for consideration before the Punjab High Court in Bhagwat Singh v. Union of India., AIR 1962 Punj 503. It was held that a right to pension constitutes "property", and any interference with it will be a breach of Article 31(1) of the Constitution. It was further held that the State cannot, by an executive order, curtail or abolish altogether the right of the public servant to receive pension.
On a Letters Patent Appeal,1 the Bench approved the decision that the pension granted to a public servant on his retirement is "property" within the meaning of Article 31(1) of the Constitution and he could be deprived of the same only by an authority of law and that pension does not cease to be property on the mere denial or cancellation of it. It was further held that the character of pension as "property" cannot possibly undergo such mutation at the whim of a particular person or authority. The matter again came up before a Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court2 and the majority took the same view.
1 Union of India v. Bhagwat Singh, ILR (1965) 2 Punj 1.
2 K.R. Erry v. State of Punjab, ILR (1967) 1 P&H 278 (FB).