On Thursday, the Bombay High Court annulled a 2016 Government Resolution (GR) which raised the pension payable to judges who retired after January 1, 1996 on the grounds that applying the revision only to judges who retired after January 1996 was discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India since it excluded pensioners who retired before 1996.
The petition was filed by Raghavendra Anantrai Mehta, retired District and Sessions Judge of Satara who had challenged the GR on the ground that it was arbitrary and violative of equality since it created two kinds of pensioners : those who retired pre-1996 and post-1996 was permitted by the court and it was held that-
“We are also unable to understand on what basis petitioner and others like him were left high and dry in as much as the same is neither discernible nor decipherable. No rational principle is outlined and explained by the respondent State to such an absurd classification”.
Mehta approached the High Court seeking direction to the State to uniformly pay the revised pension as per the GR to the petitioner irrespective of the any cut-off date.
Further, the state contended that the petitioner was indirectly requesting a modification of the Supreme Court order and such a prayer would not be maintainable.
The High Court agreed with the petitioner’s argument stating that there was no reason or rationale in subjecting Mehta and similarly placed pensioners to a differential and discriminating treatment.
Moreover, the court directed the state to pay the revised pension to Mehta and other similarly placed retired judicial officers within a period of 4 months from the date of receipt of judgment.