The Kerala High Court asserted that a retired employee’s pension payment is a constitutional right, if not a fundamental right, and is not subject to the employer’s whims or fancies.
According to Justice VG Arun, a pension is a “deferred salary,” and as such, it should be recognised as property under Article 300A of the Indian Constitution. According to him, pensions shouldn’t be viewed as a “bounty” that employers can withhold from their workers or pay whenever, whatever, and anyway they like.
The Kerala Books and Publications Society (KBPS), a registered society owned by the State government and whose staff were eligible for the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), Miscellaneous Provisions Act, and Employees’ Pension Scheme, received the petitions from current and retired employees.
Despite the fact that the Kerala government owned KBPS in full, the labour unions called attention to the significant disparity between the pay and pensions of KBPS employees and those of government employees. As instructed by the Labour Court, a special committee of experts was established to investigate the creation of a special fund for KBPS employees.
The committee had recommended that the pension be paid in accordance with Part III of the Kerala Service Rules and that the government provide financial assistance in the form of a budget allowance. The KBPS Employees Contributory Pension and General Provident Fund Regulations, 2014 were later released after receiving state approval. The retired employees argued that, in accordance with the Pension Regulations, they should get a full pension beginning on the day they retired.