Central Government Employee Pension: The benefit of Old Pension Scheme cannot be denied to a Central Government Employee if the delay in joining service before 01-01-2004 is not attributable to him, according to a recent judgement of Central Administrative Tribunal in Kumar Vaibhav Gaur vs Government of India & Others. The Old Pension Scheme (OPS) was in vogue till 13-12-2003 under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. However, New Pension Scheme (NPS) came into force from 01-01-2004 for Central Government Employees.
After securing Rank 58 in the Combined Engineering Services Examination 2001, Kumar Vaibhav Gaur was appointed with the Indian Ordnance Factory Services. In the department seniority list published in 2015, he was ranked 637. Gaur’s immediate juniors in the department were allowed to join before 1-1-2004 and extended the benefit of Old Pension Scheme. However, his appointment order dated 10-10-2003 had asked him to join from 01-01-2004 because which he was denied the benefit of OPS.
Gaur had raised his grievance before the Ordnance Factory Board in 2006, 2009 and 2011 but his plea was rejected. Then in 2016, he submitted a comprehensive representation to the Government of India. Gaur submitted that "though he has joined at later date than his juniors, he was rightly placed higher in the seniority list on the basis of his position in the merit list as such he should not be
deprived the benefits of Old Pension Scheme on account of delay attributable to the department and not in any manner to him…"
The department countered Gaur before the tribunal by saying that they could receive the Police Verification Report of the applicant only on 02-07-2003. Since the July Session of Induction Training Programme had already started from 01.07.2003, they had no option but to direct Gaur through a letter dated 10.10.2003 to join the training from 01.01.2004.
What CAT said
The tribunal said: "Though, the offer of appointment was issued on 10.10.2003, however, the applicant was required to report on 01.01.2004. This precise fact clearly indicates that delay in joining of the applicant is not at all attributable to the applicant and therefore he is not liable to suffer in the matter of any benefit including benefit arising out of old pension scheme."