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Poor financial position, no ground to delay disbursal of terminal benefits: High Court

Mohamed Imranullah S.

MADURAI: The poor financial position of an organisation could not be cited as a reason for not settling on time the terminal benefits due to its employees who had either attained superannuation or preferred to take voluntary retirement, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Justice M. Venugopal made the observation while disposing a writ petition filed in 2008 by a former accountant of the defunct Pudukottai District Cooperative Agro Service Society. The petitioner claimed to be struggling to make ends meet due to non settlement of monetary benefits due to him since 2005.

“When an employee retires from an organisation, then it is the duty of the concerned employer to settle his dues,” the judge said and directed the Registrar of Agro Engineering Service and the Assistant Director of Agriculture to pay all benefits due to the petitioner within eight weeks.

In his affidavit, the petitioner Singaravelu of Pudukottai said that the Society owed him Rs. 3.35 lakh of which Rs. 2.45 lakh was due towards his salary arrears due for the period from March 2005 until his voluntary retirement in May 2007 and Rs. 89,440 was towards arrears of gratuity.

A sum of Rs.17,216 towards Employees Provident Fund was also due.

On the other hand, the Government Advocate claimed that the Society was liable to pay only Rs.1.45 lakh towards salary arrears and Rs.88,944 towards arrears of gratuity to the petitioner. He said that the Deputy Registrar, Agro Engineering Service, Chennai, was awaiting allocation of funds to disburse the arrears due to the petitioner.

Stating that there was no source of income for the defunct Society, he pointed out that a request had been made to the State government to bring it under liquidation. The petitioner's claims could be settled once the liquidator took charge of the assets and liabilities of the society, he added.

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