SC rejects former Madras HC Judge plea on pension

NEW DELHI SEPT. 6. The Supreme Court has held that a retired High Court judge would not be entitled to higher pension by virtue of his holding `office of profit' such as heading commissions of inquiry for several years soon after his retirement.

A three-Judge Bench, comprising the Chief Justice, V.N. Khare, Justices Ashok Bhan and S.B. Sinha, rejected the contention of P. Venugopal, retired Judge of the Madras High Court that his total service as a Judge and the period of his subsequent assignments should be taken into account while fixing the pension.

It noted that for computation of pension, different services of the petitioner could not be clubbed together as pension payable to a High Court Judge would be only for the period rendered in that capacity which would constitute a charge to the Consolidated Fund of India. The services rendered subsequent to his retirement in terms of the orders passed by the State Government would not be charged to the Consolidated Fund.

The petitioner, Mr. Venugopal, served as a Judge of the High Court for two years and 10 months from January 1979 to December 1981.

Even as a sitting Judge, he was appointed as a Commission of Inquiry on July 29, 1981, to inquire into incidents which took place in Coimbatore arising out of attacks on the office premises of two Tamil newspapers, Dinakaran and Malai Murasu. After retirement he continued with the Commission and he was appointed an ad hoc Judge for a year in 1982 and another year from August 1983. Thereafter, he was appointed Commissioner of Payments under the Madras Race Club, which post he held till December 31, 1988.

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