Employee Died in Harness,Family cannot be denied Gratuity

The Allahabad High Court in its Judgment dated 31 August 2020 has propounded that the family cannot be denied Gratuity, where Employee has Died-in-Harness and could not submit the option and nomination for gratuity.

A Writ Petition bearing A No. 6333 of 2020 was filed before the Allahabad High Court by Saroj Kumari seeking a direction upon the respondents to pay gratuity to the petitioner, which remained unpaid.

The submission of the Petitioner before the Court was that her husband was appointed as Assistant Teacher and he died in harness before reaching the age of superannuation and in terms of the Government Order dated 23.8.2017 Clause 7(i), the Petitioner is entitled to Gratuity. However the request of the Petitioner was denied by the Respondent Department on the ground that prior to the death of the husband of the Petitioner, he did not submitted option for gratuity and probably the date of option was also not mentioned.

The Petitioner relied upon the Judgment of Allahabad High Court in the case of Writ-A No. 17399 of 2019 (Usha Rani Vs. State of U.P. and Others), wherein the entire scope of the Government Order was considered. The ground of relief in Usha Rani case was that the an employee is only expected to submit an option prior to his retirement and not decades prior to his retirement. However, this aspect of the matter was not considered by the respondents.

The court considering the Judgment of Court in the case of Usha Rani(supra) held that the gratuity would be payable to the employees, who died while in service and following the same, the petitioner would be entitled for release of the gratuity payable in terms of the Government Order dated 23rd August, 2017.

Accordingly the Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed that the petitioner shall be paid the gratuity to which the husband of the petitioner was entitled as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of three months.

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