Financial Condition Not “Conducive” to Honour Pension Schemes, Kerala Govt Tells HC

The state government on Friday told the Kerala High Court that its financial condition was presently not “conducive” to honour the large financial commitment including various pension schemes.

The court was hearing a plea filed by a 78-year-old woman, Mariyakutty, who had approached the court claiming non-receipt of the pension she was entitled to from the government for the past few months.

The state government said that there are two other Social Security Pensions which are implemented in the State, namely, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension; and that portions of the amounts eligible to the beneficiaries are to come from the Central Government, though in a smaller proportion.

The state government also submitted before the court that the Government of India has not made available their share under these Schemes from July, 2023.

Justice Devan Ramachandran said the sum total was “rather unfortunate” because the court cannot issue any interim order to the Government to pay her the arrears or the current pension, under the Scheme in question.

“This court can only leave this case at this moment, recording empathy for the petitioner and for various others like her; but without being in a position to issue an interim order affirmatively against the Government of Kerala,” the court said in its order.

The court also noted the submission of the state government that “as and when thefinancial position of the State improves” (sic), the payout of the Schemes, including that involved in this case, will be made; but without committing to any definite time frame.

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The court said it would have certainly considered grant of relief to the petitioner alone because, the amount involved including the arrears – would only be less than Rs 5,000.

“But, as Sri T B Hood (Special government pleader) rightly said, this would be uncharitable to the thousands of others who have not been able to come to this Court and who may perhaps never be able to do so because of their precarious fiscal scenario, since no citizen would be persuaded to initiate legal action, when they are struggling for food, medicines and such other basic amenities,” the order said.

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on January 10.

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