Retired principal of Karkala-based Venkataramana Pre-University College A. Raghupathi Bhat who got pension after 177 months of his retirement in October 2017 following a legal battle that went all the way till the Supreme Court, is now fighting a legal battle to get interest on pension arrears.
Should the octogenarian fight the legal battle till the end of his life for the lapses of the government and the college management, questioned Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Foundation president Ravindranath Shanbhog. The foundation would extend all support to Mr. Bhat in his fight, he said.
Dr. Shanbhog told reporters in Udupi on February 13 that Mr. Bhat retired in 2003 as the principal of the government-aided Venkataramana Pre-University College. Three months before his retirement, he had asked the management to forward his pension papers to the Pre-University Board for settlement.
For 15 years, the pension was not sanctioned due to lapses on the part of the management and the government. The retired principal had to fight a prolonged legal battle, from the district court to the Supreme Court.
On October 17, 2017, the apex court directed payment of pension in one lump sum. However, the government did not pay interest on the arrears while implementing the Supreme Court order.
Mr. Bhat approached the Karnataka High Court again. On January 8, 2021, the High Court ruled that the government should pay interest on arrears of pension at the rate of 8% from January 1, 2003 to September 25, 2017 within four weeks and recover the same from SVT Educational Institutions, Karkala.
When the government did not obey the order, Mr. Bhat filed a contempt of court petition. To evade punishment for contempt, the government made some payment to Mr. Bhat and submitted a memo to the court on October 4, 2022.
The amount paid, Dr. Shanbhog said, was just half of what was actually due. Hence, the foundation would follow-up the case and help Mr. Bhat get his rightful dues, he said.