In this post we’ll read about Punjab and Haryana High Court makes it clear that GROUP D employees in GREF not part of army while considering the plea filed by widow of person worked as PNR COY in GREF.
- The petitioner is the widow of late Tuhi Lal, who worked as PNR COY in GREF. Tuhi Lal met with an accident on July 18, 1991, and died on July 27, 1991.
- The petitioner was given ordinary family pension. She, however, claimed that she is entitled to extraordinary pension in terms of the Central Civil Services (Extraordinary Pension), Rules, 1939.
- The petitioner claimed that since GREF is a part of the Army and her husband died while he was on duty, therefore, she is entitled to extraordinary pension under the 1939 Rules as amended with effect from January 1, 1996.
- She also claimed ex-gratia lump-sum compensation and other statutory benefits as per the government rules. Rejecting her claims for extraordinary pension, the Union government submitted that an investigation was held to find out the reasons that led to the death of Tuhi Lal and it was found that he was deployed for night sentry duty.
- He went inside the barbed wire fencing of the electric transformer and tried to hold the main supply line of electricity and consequently died due to shock and burn injuries. It was asserted that Lal was a Group-D employee and in terms of Rule-2 of the 1939 Rules as amended vide notification dated February 14, 2011, the employees who are governed by the Workman’s Compensation Act, 1923 (now Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923), are not entitled to the extraordinary pension.
- The counsel for the petitioner contended that no negligence on the part of Lal is proved and therefore, he cannot be said to be negligent and contended that since the husband of the petitioner was regularly appointed in GREF on a permanent post as an Army personnel, therefore, he was not a civilian and hence, Workman’s Compensation Act, 1923 is not applicable.
After hearing both the parties, the HC held that as there is no dispute that the deceased husband of the petitioner was employed in GREF and not in the Army. The court observed that regarding the claim of the petitioner to the extraordinary pension, it may be noted here that such an extraordinary family pension is payable in accordance with the rules applicable. Under Category-C, no doubt, in case of death or disability due to accidents in performance of duties including the death by electrification is included. However, these rules are not applicable to Group-D employees. Rule 2 of the 1939 Rules, clearly provides that these rules shall apply to all persons who are paid from the Civil Estimates, other than those to whom the Workman’s Compensation Act, 1923, applies and same was said while declining the petitioner’s plea for extraordinary pension.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has further made it clear that the Group-D employees of General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) working on Army duty cannot be treated as part of the Army and are not entitled to extraordinary pension in case of any mishap with them during the service.