The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the central government to provide its 91-year-old former employee some of the post-retirement benefits that he had been unable to avail due to lack of information.
Justice S Muralidhar ordered the government to provide former Indian Railways employee KSR Chari the benefits of railway pension and family pension scheme that he had been unable to avail due to a communication gap.
The court was hearing Mr Chari's petition in which he alleged that he had been unable to avail the benefits of the scheme due to lack of proper communication by his first employer State Railway Coal department, which he joined in 1942, to his second employer the National Coal Development Corp (NCDC).
"In conclusion, this court would like to take judicial notice of the fact that with rising inflation and spiralling prices of basic commodities, the life of the elderly in our country is becoming increasingly difficult," the court said.
With every passing day they feel the pinch of rising prices whether it is food, provisions, transport or health care, it said.
The court said the provident fund amount that some of the retired employees got after many years of dedicated service, was meagre by today's rates of income. Moreover, the rates of return on the lump sum amounts had drastically reduced over the years.
"The elderly cannot risk investing their precious savings in the volatile and uncertain share market. Had some of them opted for pension, they would have a better level of sustenance. It is not surprising then that those who gave the best of their productive lives for the progress of the country and the betterment of our lives justifiably feel that they are being treated unfairly and that the Government owes them more," said the court in its 12-page order.
"The lives of the elderly in our country are becoming increasingly difficult. For a majority of retired government servants, the social security cover, if it can be called that, is palpably inadequate to ensure them a decent living," said the court, ordering the government to provide Chari the two post-retirement benefits for railway employees.
The court imposed a fine of Rs. 5,000 each on the coal and mines ministry and NCDC for objecting to Chari's plea that he had come to the court after a gap of several decades after retirement.