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Report No. 53

10. Justifiability of the rule considered.-

Thus, the Pensions Bill, apart from implementing the objective of simplification and consolidation of pre-existing Acts, was based on the leading principle1-

(i) that the bestowal of such pensions was an act of grace or State policy on the part of the ruling power; and

(ii) that the Government reserved to itself the determination of all questions affecting the grant or continuance. Pensions of Retired Members of the Public servants.

Now, whatever be the merits of such a principle as regards pensions granted on political grounds or in view of loyalty to the Government and similar considerations, the principle fails to impress one as a just one when applied to pensions of retired public servants.

To call the provision for such pensions "an act of grace or State policy", is hardly in conformity with the accepted understanding on the subject. A public servant, while in employment, looks forward to his pension as a legitimate and well-earned remuneration for his service, and, indeed, he regards it as part of his emoluments, though payable in future. He does not view it as an act of grace. In fact, even though by way of precaution the rules regulating his service may empower the Government to withhold pension, such withdrawal is rarely, if ever, ordered.

In any case, it is one thing to give a power of withholding pension in extra-ordinary circumstances and for reasons which are relevant in a particular case, and quite a different matter to bar a suit by a general and drastic provision of the nature referred to in section 4 of the Act.1 Broadly stated, the true constitutional position appears to be that a person becomes entitled to receive the pension prescribed by the rules provided he has performed service for the requisite period.

1. Para. 6, supra.

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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