You are on page 1of 21

Punjab-Haryana High Court

Rattan Singh And Ors. vs State Of Punjab on 16 August, 2013


IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH Date of Decision : 16.8.2013 1. CWP No. 11373 of 2012 Rattan Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 2. CWP No. 23062 of 2012 (O/M) Dr. Sarwan Singh ....... Petitioner Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 3. CWP No. 20555 of 2012 Sadhu Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 4. CWP No. 12491 of 2012 Satwinder Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 5. CWP No. 12744 of 2012 Dhanbant Kaur and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents

-26. CWP No. 13361 of 2012 Madhur Swapna and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 7. CWP No. 13462 of 2012 Bakhshish Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 8. CWP No. 13703 of 2012 Roshan Lal and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 9. CWP No. 14480 of 2012 Jai Singh Heera and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 10. CWP No. 14776 of 2012 Nirmala Kumari and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 11. CWP No. 15440 of 2012 Sarbjit Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents -3-

12. CWP No. 16373 of 2012 Kulwant Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 13. CWP No. 16753 of 2012 Hardial Saini and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 14. CWP No. 16796 of 2012 Harcharan Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 15. CWP No. 17466 of 2012 Darshana Garg and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 16. CWP No. 18082 of 2012 B.S. Sekhon ....... Petitioner Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 17. CWP No. 19004 of 2012 Sawinder Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents -418. CWP No. 19115 of 2012

Malkiat Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 19. CWP No. 18251 of 2012 Hazara Singh Cheema and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 20. CWP No. 18564 of 2012 Baldev Raj Sharma ...... Petitioner Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 21. CWP No. 18628 of 2012 Balwant Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 22. CWP No. 19398 of 2012 Daljit Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 23. CWP No. 19472 of 2012 Kewal Krishan and another ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents -524. CWP No. 19504 of 2012 Darshan Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus

State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 25. CWP No. 20143 of 2012 Dr. Ramesh Chand Gupta and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 26. CWP No. 20203 of 2012 Piara Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 27. CWP No. 20209 of 2012 Bimla Devi and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 28. CWP No. 21006 of 2012 Raj Rani and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 29. CWP No. 22774 of 2012 Brij Lal and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent -630. CWP No. 23054 of 2012 Avtar Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent

31. CWP No. 23324 of 2012 Dr. Chandra Parkash and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 32. CWP No. 23346 of 2012 Dr. Santosh Kumari and another ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 33. CWP No. 23703 of 2012 Mohd. Sadiq and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 34. CWP No. 24423 of 2012 Kulbir Kaur and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 35. CWP No. 25220 of 2012 Jagir Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent -736. CWP No. 1352 of 2013 Subjinder Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 37. CWP No. 1686 of 2013

Harmohinder Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 38. CWP No. 4193 of 2013 Shadi Lal and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 39. CWP No. 440 of 2013 Dr. Jagdish Rai and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 40. CWP No. 5257 of 2013 Gurdial Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 41. CWP No. 7534 of 2013 Balram Chodhary and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent -842. CWP No. 7763 of 2013 Trilok Singh Virdi and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 43. CWP No. 2112 of 2013 Jai Krishan Dev and others ....... Petitioners Versus

State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 44. CWP No. 4566 of 2013 Dr. Jaidev Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 45. CWP No. 737 of 2013 Ranjit Kaur and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 46. CWP No. 755 of 2013 Gurdev Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 47. CWP No. 801 of 2013 Hakam Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent -948. CWP No. 8442 of 2013 Kuldip Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and others ...... Respondents 49. CWP No. 8675 of 2013 Nirmal Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent

50. CWP No. 9559 of 2013 Avtar Singh ....... Petitioner Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 51. CWP No. 10349 of 2013 Pal Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab and another ...... Respondents 52. CWP No. 10543 of 2013 Hav. Darshan Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ...... Respondent 53. CWP No. 12177 of 2013 Amarjeet Singh and others ....... Petitioners Versus State of Punjab ....... Respondent -10CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH Present:- Mr. R.K. Chopra, Senior Advocate, with, Mr. Pawan Kumar, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 11373 of 2012 and 10543 of 2013. Mr. Vikas Chatrath, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 20555, 14776, 17466, 18628, 22774, 23054, 23703 of 2012 and 1686, 5257 of 2013. Mr. H.S. Dhindsa, Advocate, for the petitioner in CWP No. 23062 of 2012. Mr. Sunny Singla, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 12491, 12744, 15440, 20209, 24423 of 2012 and 755, 8442, 10349 of 2013.

Mr. R.K. Arora, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 13361, 13462 and 16373 of 2012. Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Arora, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 13703 and 19115 of 2012. Mr. Shiv S. Chohan, Advocate, for, Mr. R.S. Manhas, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWP No. 16753 of 2012. Mr. Rakesh Sobti, Advocate, for, Ms. Alka Chatrath, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 16796, 25220 of 2012 and 801, 12177 of 2013. Mr. C.L. Sharma, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWP No. 18251 of 2012. Mr. Raj Paul Kansal, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 19004 of 2012 and 737 of 2013. Mr. V.K. Shukla, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWP No. 19504 of 2012. Mr. Mukand Gupta, Advocate, for the petitioners in CWPs No. 20143 of 2012 and 4566 of 2013. Mr. Sarju Puri, Advocate, for the petitioner in CWP No. 9559 of 2013. Mr. Harsimran S. Sethi, Additional Advocate General, Punjab. -11AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH, J. This is a bunch of 53 writ petitions, out of which 47 petitions are listed after notice and 6 petitions, i.e. CWPs No. 8442, 8675, 9559, 10349, 10543 and 12177 of 2013 are in the urgent list, which have been preferred by retired Punjab Government employees who superannuated between 1.1.2006 to 30.11.2011 alleging discrimination vis--vis employees who have retired on or after 1.12.2011. This discrimination, according to them, was created due to issuance of a letter dated 15.12.2011 by the Punjab Government fixing 1.12.2011 as the effective date to implement the decision of the Government dispensing

with the linkage of full pension with qualifying service of 33 years and reducing it to 25 years with further benefit that the pension shall be admissible equal to 50% of emoluments or average emoluments received during the last 10 months whichever is beneficial to the employee. At the request of the counsel for the parties, the writ petitions were clubbed and heard together and are being decided by a common order as similar questions of facts and law are involved in these cases. Briefly the facts are that all the petitioners in these writ petitions have retired as Punjab Government employees on attaining the age of superannuation on or after 1.1.2006, but on or before 30.11.2011. The services of the petitioners are governed by the Punjab Civil Services Rules. Pension is dealt with under Volume-II of these Rules. As per Rule 3.8 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, Volume-II, service of every Government employee begins to qualify for pension when he takes charge of the post to which he was first appointed. Rule 6.1 lays down that the amount of pension to be granted is dependent upon the length of service as set-forth. In Rule -126.16, it is provided that the amount of superannuation, retiring, invalid and compensation, gratuity and pension would be as set-forth in the table provided therein. In short, pension of the employee was determined proportionate to the length of service rendered by him. The Rules provided and prescribed that a Government employee is entitled to maximum pension after rendering 33 years of qualifying service. State of Punjab constituted the Fifth Pay Commission for revision of pay scales and pension as also the other pensionary benefits of the Punjab Government employees. Commission submitted its report, which was accepted by the State Government. In pursuance thereto and to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission qua the pay scales, the Punjab Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2009 (in short '2009 Rules') were notified on 27.5.2009 to be effective from 1.1.2006. The Fifth Pay Commission in its report in para-7.26, which deals with the effective date of pensionary benefits, recommended that all proposed

increases in allowances and other benefits shall take effect from the date of notification by the Government, whereas the revised pensionary benefits (such as basic pension, commutation of pension, gratuity) should be from 1.1.2006 as in the case with the revised salary scales. Under the heading 'Major recommendations of the Commission relating to basic pension' in para-7.6, it was recommended that the pension should continue to be 50% of the basic pay (plus NPA) and should be calculated on the basis of last pay drawn or 10 months' average emoluments, whichever is beneficial to the employee. In para 7.7, which relates to qualifying service, Commission suggested that linking of full pension with 33 years of qualifying service should be dispensed with -13full pension should be allowed once the Government employee has rendered minimum qualifying service of 20 years apart from other aspects which dealt with employees seeking voluntary retirement and the voluntary retirement scheme as recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission. Notification dated 17.8.2009 was issued by the Government of Punjab, Department of Finance (Finance Pension Policy and Coordination Branch) which dealt with the implementation of recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission regarding pension and other retirement benefits. Para-12 of this notification provided that all proposed increases in allowances and other benefits (such as old age allowance, medical allowance, constant attendant allowance, ex-gratia payment) shall take effect from the date of issue of these orders by the Government, whereas the revised pensionary benefits (such as basic pension, commutation of pension, gratuity) shall be from 1.1.2006. Decision about payment of arrears of pension from 1.1.2006 to 31.7.2009 shall be taken in due course of time and with effect from 1.8.2009 enhanced pension in cash shall become payable. On revision of the pay scales, petitioners who retired from service after 1.1.2006, were granted the pension and other pensionary benefits in proportion to the length of service rendered by them and the pensionary

benefits were revised as accepted with effect from 1.1.2006. As no decision with regard to delinking of full pension with 33 years of qualifying service and granting full pension to the Government employees who have rendered minimum qualifying service of 20 years as recommended by the Pay Commission was taken resulting in delay in implementation, representations were submitted by the pensioners. -14Government ultimately issued a notification dated 15.12.2011 relating to implementation of the recommendation by stating therein while referring to letter dated 17.8.2009 that a decision has been taken that the linkage of full pension with qualifying service of 33 years shall be dispensed with. Once a Government employee has rendered minimum qualifying service of 25 years, pension shall be admissible equal to 50% of the emoluments or average emoluments received during the last 10 months, whichever is beneficial to him. However, in para-3 of the said letter, it was stated that these orders shall come into force with effect from 1.12.2011, which led to the filing of the present writ petitions by the petitioners challenging the date fixed by the Government of Punjab enforcing the said orders from a specified date, thus, denying the benefit of the said letter to those employees who have retired from Punjab Government service between 1.1.2006 to 30.11.2011 on the ground that the same was illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. It has been pleaded that once the report of the Pay Commission has been accepted by the State of Punjab substantively and has been made applicable with effect from 1.1.2006, as is evident from the 2009 Rules and partly qua the pensionary benefits also, vide notification dated 17.8.2009, there is no reason or justification in implementing the recommendations relating to grant of other pension related benefits to its employees with effect from 1.12.2011, instead of 1.1.2006. There is no rational in choosing the date with the object to be achieved and, therefore, the same is absolutely arbitrary and discriminatory. Similarly placed persons merely because of the date of retirement have been discriminated although they belong to one homogeneous

-15class i.e. retirees. Some of the employees, who have retired on or after 1.12.2011, have started drawing much higher pension than the petitioners even though they were having much less pay/emoluments than the petitioners at the time of retirement, discriminating between pre 1.12.2011 retirees and those who have retired on or after 1.12.2011. In support of these submissions, reliance has been placed upon the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in case of D.S. Nakara Versus Union of India (1993) 1 SCC 305 and a judgment of this Court in CWP No. 2208 of 1989 titled as Lekh Raj Khera and others Versus State of Punjab and others, decided on 24.3.2009. Reliance has also been placed upon the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Purushottam Lal and others Versus Union of India and another, (1973) 1 SCC 651, A.R. Lamba Versus Khadi and Village Industries Commission, 2004 (3) SCT 362, a Division Bench judgment of this Court in CWP No. 1283 of 1986 titled as Swaran Singh and others Versus State of Punjab and others, decided on 7.2.1999 and a recent judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Kallakkurichi Taluk Retired Official Association, Tamilnadu etc. Versus State of Tamilnadu, 2013 (2) JT 42. Reply to the writ petition has been filed by the State wherein the basic objection urged in defence to the claim made in the writ petitions is that it is the prerogative of the State Government to fix a cut-off date keeping in view the financial circumstances prevalent at the time of issuance of the instructions. For this, support has been drawn from the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in State of Punjab and others Versus Amar Nath Goyal and others (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases 754, State of Punjab and -16others Versus J.L. Gupta and others, (2000) 3 SCC 736, K.L. Rathee Versus Union of India and others, (1997) 4 SCC (L and S) 384 and State of Punjab and others Versus Boota Singh, 2000 (3) SCC 733. Accordingly, it has been stated that the decision of the Government of

Punjab fixing the cut-off date with effect from 1.12.2011, is in accordance with law and, therefore, deserves to be sustained. Counsel for the parties have addressed their arguments on the basis of the above pleadings and referred to the judgments as noted above. Facts, as have been narrated above, are not in dispute and it is apparent that the challenge is to cut-off date fixed by the Government of Punjab, vide letter dated 15.12.2011, providing for the effective date as 1.12.2011 to the decision of dispensing with linkage of full pension with qualifying service of 33 years and instead specifying therein that a Government employee, who has rendered minimum government service of 25 years, would entitle him to pension equal to 50% of the emoluments or average emoluments received during the last 10 months, whichever is beneficial to him. The judgments relied on by the parties as referred to above, when seen and on analysing the principles set down therein would lead this Court to a conclusion that the cut-off date can be fixed by the State for applicability of the date of the benefit to be granted to a particular category of persons. However, for reaching the cut-off date, there must be a reasonable criteria to satisfy the test of it not being an invalid classification. For classification to be a valid one, it must necessarily be based on a just objective having a reasonable nexus to the object sought to be achieved. Such a classification -17should be based on well-founded intelligible differentia which should have a rational relationship with the object sought to be achieved. Where the benefit is one time benefit on the date of retirement, the cutoff date would be germane to the object which could be held to be justified. It has also been held that when the date is fixed on the basis of the recommendation made by the Pay Commission itself, the same is rational and based on a justifiable differentiable criteria. However, where the benefit is of a nature which is a continuous one and inures for the entire length of the lives of the retired employees then the reasons

have to be based on a just objective sought to be achieved. Cut-off date on the basis of financial constraints/expediency/ compulsions has also been held to be justifiable ground for fixing a cut-off date being a policy matter. While wading through the expanse of the sea of knowledge which is reflected in the judgments cited by the counsel for the parties, one common thread which runs through these beads of wisdom is the requirement of a well considered, reasoned, conscious decision reached and taken by the government on the basis of the financial constraints or circumstances which forced the government to fix a cut-off date based on justifiable differntia which can pass the test of reasonableness so as to bring it within the permissible parameters laid down by the courts so as to catapult it to a plane that does not violate Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Thus, each case has to be individually considered on its own peculiar facts as no hard and fast rule has been laid down rather it has been observed that no straight jacket formula can be framed which would cover each and every situation, requiring -18this court to go into the facts of this case to decide the issue in hand i.e. the validity of the fixed cut-off date. In the present case the only ground, which has been taken by the respondent-State for non-implementation of the benefit as contained in decision dated 15.12.2011 with effect from 1.1.2006, the date as recommended by the Pay Commission, is the 'financial constraints'. But bald statement of the Government would not suffice to pass the tests as laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The requirement thus, is a positive and cautious decision taken by the Government with respect to the same supported by such consideration and reasoning and that too on the basis of records. As no specific details were mentioned in the reply filed by the State nor was there any reference to the records, this Court had called for the original records of the Government where the decision was taken fixing the cut-off date. On perusal of the produced

records of the Government, this Court could not find any specific decision dealing with this aspect of the matter and, therefore, had called upon Mr. Sethi, the learned Additional Advocate General for the State to assist with the help of government officials to locate such a decision, if any, taken by the Government in this regard. Records were made available to the State counsel on 5.8.2013 and on going through the same with the help of the officials assisting him, he has referred to various pages of the record and made an effort to justify the stand taken by the State. He stated that apart from the records produced, there is no other record dealing with the decision of the pensionary benefits. I have gone through the relevant pages and record which had been pointed out by the State counsel. At page-70 of the noting file where the -19recommendations of the Pay Commission with regard to delinking of qualifying service of 33 years and instead taking 20 years as the qualifying service for grant of full pension has been dealt with. At page72 of the file, a comparative chart has been prepared showing burden per annum upon the exchequer in case of full pension of 33 years being given at the age of 58 years with an average qualifying service of 30 years, 23 years and 25 years. It may be pointed out here that this relates only to the fixing of the length of qualifying service of the employee which would entitle him to full pension on retirement. At page-74, it has been noted that the Council of Ministers in its meeting held on 20.10.2011 had decided that the qualifying service for the Punjab Government employees shall be 25 years instead of 33 years. At page75, the decision with regard to issuance of the notification has been ordered to be kept pending to await the decision of the Council of Ministers. At page-76, it has been noted that the Council of Ministers had decided in its meeting held on 19.11.2011 that the decision with regard to grant of full pension on completion of 25 years of qualifying service would be effective from 1.12.2011, instead of 1.4.2012 decided earlier in the meeting held on 20.10.2011. In between, reference has been made to the meeting held by the Cabinet Sub Committee, but nothing is forthcoming on the record which would suggest that a

decision with regard to the cut-off date has been taken on the basis of financial compulsions or exigencies. Proceedings of the Cabinet Sub Committee also do not indicate that the financial constraints was the ground for fixing the cut-off date as 1.12.2011 nor does it indicate or point to the fact that this aspect was put up before the Cabinet for fixing the cut-off date or that the decision of fixing the date as 1.12.2011 with regard to the -20implementation of the minimum qualifying service as 25 years which would make admissible to an employee pension equal to 50% of the emoluments or average emoluments received during the last 10 months whichever is beneficial to him. The only noting relating to financial burden on the exchequer is at page72 which deals with the fixation of the length of qualifying service for grant of benefit of full pension on retirement where a comparative chart has been prepared depicting the average length of service on retirement as 30, 25 and 23 years. But this has no relation to fixing the cut-off date with regard to grant of benefit. There is no consideration with regard to the financial constraints after a decision was taken on fixing the qualifying service as 25 years for grant of full pension on 20.10.2011 by the Council of Ministers. It stands virtually conceded as the officials failed to point out any consideration on the aspect of financial constraints or burden if the benefit is granted w.e.f. 1.1.2006. There this appears to be no basis or reason much less reasonable justification for fixing the effective date as 1.12.2011. The ground, therefore, taken by the respondents that the cut-off date has been fixed keeping in view the financial circumstances prevalent at the time of the issuing the instructions is without any basis and is not supported by the record which has been produced in Court nor have the State counsel with the help of officials been able to point out anything from the record which would show that the said financial circumstances were the reason behind fixing the cut-off date as 1.12.2011. In the absence of material on the record which would justify the fixing of the cut-off date, especially

with regard to the financial constraints/situation/circumstances, the said -21decision cannot be said to be in accordance with law and would amount to discrimination amongst the homogenous class of retirees. Discrimination is not legally acceptable and the present is such which need to and can be redressed by granting the writ as sought for by the petitioners in these petitions. It cannot be said that the decision of the Government fulfills the basic principle with regard to the concept of valid classification which would justify valid discrimination as has been laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of State of Kerala Versus N.M. Thomas (1976) 2 SCC 310, which has been discussed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Kallakkurichi Taluk Retired Official Association's case (supra) in para-27, where it has been stated as follows :- "27. At this juncture it is also necessary to examine the concept of valid classification. A valid classification is truly a valid discrimination. Article 16 of the Constitution of India permits a valid classification (see, State of Kerala V. N.M. Thomas (1976) 2 SCC 310). A valid classification is based on a just objective. The result to be achieved by the just objective presupposes, the choice of some for differential consideration/treatment, over others. A classification to be valid must necessarily satisfy two tests. Firstly, the distinguishing rationale has to be based on a just objective. And secondly, the choice of differentiating one set of persons from another, must have a reasonable nexus to the objective sought to be achieved. Legalistically, the test for a valid classification may be summarized as, a distinction based on a classification founded on an intelligible differentia, which has a rational relationship with the object sought to be achieved. Whenever a cut off date (as in the present controversy) is -22-

fixed to categorise one set of pensioners for favourable consideration over others, the twin test for valid classification (or valid discrimination) must necessarily be satisfied." The present case does not satisfy the two tests, as has been referred to above, and, therefore, the decision of the State Government fixing the cut-off date as 1.12.2011 cannot sustain and, therefore, deserves to be quashed. The question now would be with regard to the date of applicability of the notification dated 15.12.2011, para-3 whereof fixes the date of its enforceability as 1.12.2011 which has to be struck down in view of the above discussion. The obvious conclusion would be that the said decision would be effective from 1.1.2006 the date which was recommended by the Pay Commission with effect from which the pensionary benefits were revised such as basic pension, commutation of pension, gratuity as per notification dated 17.8.2009. The Government letter dated 15.12.2011 refers to para-3.1 of the Government letter dated 17.8.2009 and it is in continuation thereof where the said decision has been made effective from 1.1.2006, therefore, the letter dated 15.12.2011 would relate back to 1.1.2006 and would be implemented with effect thereof. However, the said decision shall not apply to the employees covered by the new pension scheme as specified in this letter dated 15.12.2011. In view of the above, these writ petitions are allowed. Para-3 of the Government letter dated 15.12.2011, which fixes the effective date of the decision of the Government to be 1.12.2011, stands quashed. Direction is issued to the respondents to consider the claims of the petitioners and -23similarly placed employees treating the decision of the Government as conveyed in letter 15.12.2011 to be effective from 1.1.2006 and grant consequential benefits to the employees who have retired between 1.1.2006 to 30.11.2011 within a period of four months from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order.

The original records be handed over to Mr. Harsimran S. Sethi, the learned Additional Advocate General, Punjab, by the Special Secretary of this Court under proper receipt. A photocopy of this order be placed on the connected case files. (AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH) JUDGE 16.8.2013 sjks