Observing that Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) had left a retired employee “fall on the thorns of life and bleed” by not paying terminal benefits even 21 years after retirement, the High Court of Karnataka set a two-week deadline to pay all that is due to him.
The KPTCL will have to pay 9% interest on the entire amount due to 77-year-old K.T. Thimmaiah since his retirement in 1999, the court said while directing the corporation to pay him ₹50,000 as costs.
“To quote Shakespeare from the Fall of Wolsey, with a slight variation to suit the context ‘Had I served my God with half the zeal that I served my King, I would not have fallen in these days of impecuniosities’, is the cry of the petitioner in this petition,” observed Justice M. Nagaprasanna while allowing the petition.
The court also observed that “the KPTCL has procrastinated beyond imagination to release terminal benefits of the petitioner without any justifiable reason”.
“Terminal benefits will enable a retired employee to live a life free from want, with decency, independence, and self-respect. Depriving such right to livelihood, will leave a pensioner fall on the thorns of life and bleed,” the court observed.
Mr. Thimmaiah’s legal fight began after he was terminated from service on May 24, 1999 for misconduct and theft without holding any inquiry when he was working as a storekeeper in Bengaluru in the erstwhile Karnataka Electricity Board.
The court delivered the verdict in his favour in January 2000, directing the authorities to take action after inquiry and by then he had retired from service on June 30, 1999.
Thereafter, he approached the High Court three more times as the authorities without holding any inquiry went on denying retirement benefits and pension by stating that the amount was adjusted towards loss caused owing to his alleged misdeeds.
Finally, the authorities in 2015 dropped disciplinary proceedings and held that he was entitled for pension. But terminal benefits remained unpaid despite repeated representations, prompting him to knock the doors of the court in 2018 with this petition, which was the fifth one.