11 years after death, Odisha teacher gets retirement benefits

Bhubaneswar: A retired Odisha teacher will finally get his retirement benefits – over 20 years after he filed a case for his dues and 11 years after his death, with the state high court questioning the delay in releasing the money and seeking action against those responsible. His wife will now get his entitlement at the age of 83.

The teacher was Prafulla Chandra Mohanty from Salipur area of Cuttack district, who died in 2010. In its order issued on July 23, the Orissa High Court has directed the Odisha government to pay retirement dues and pension benefits to his wife and legal heir Minalata Mohanty at the soonest.

As per the court, Mohanty had filed a case in the high court in 1999, seeking the benefit of his deprived time bound advanced scale of payment.

A division bench had ruled in his favour on November 11, 2004, directing the state School and Mass Education Department to grant advancement scale of pay in favour of the teacher as he has completed 15 years of service.

However, the department challenged the judgment before the Supreme Court in a SLP, after a gap of four years, in 2008. The apex court, in August 2018, dismissed the petition, the high court mentioned in its order.

As the benefits had not been released to the teacher’s legal heir, his wife again knocked the doors of the high court.

“She (Minalata) has lost her husband and there should not be any further delay in release of entitlements through the judgment in OJC No 1345 of 1999 at least to see the 83-year-old lady spend her last part of life with peace,” the court said.

It also observed that retention of admissible entitlements even after three years of disposal of an SLP becomes a crime, and there is also a requirement for bringing all persons responsible for such delay to be brought to book to check no repetition of this conduct in future, it said.

Further, the court has said the petitioner is entitled to get interest on the entire arrear at least 5 per cent from the date of entitlement of husband till the judgment of high court, then 6 per cent interest from the date of its judgment till the disposal of SLP by the apex court and 10 per cent interest from August 22, 2018 till the date of release of the arrears.

For unnecessary harassment to the petitioner who had to rush to this court in the matter, the court ordered the state to pay Rs 10,000 as litigation expenses. The Department was directed to pay the amount within one month.


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