'Pension cannot be stopped over the pretext of corruption': Karnataka High Court
The Karnataka High Court rules that government employees facing corruption allegations can't be denied pensions due to pending legal proceedings. The decision comes after KPTCL sought to withhold half of Mallikarjun's pension, contested by him and upheld by the court, stating benefits shouldn't be withheld during investigations.
The Karnataka High Court has issued a directive, stating that government employees accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act cannot be denied pension and other benefits upon retirement merely due to pending legal proceedings.
A division bench, led by Justice Sunil Dutta Yadav, passed this ruling in response to an appeal filed by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation (KPTCL). The appeal sought to overturn a single-member bench's decision to grant a full pension to Mallikarjun, a retired KPTCL employee, despite an ongoing corruption complaint against him.
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Mallikarjun, while serving at KPTCL in 2018, faced a complaint lodged by a third party with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Upon his retirement in 2022, when he applied for a pension, KPTCL declared their intent to provide only 50% of the pension amount due to the pending criminal case. Mallikarjun contested this decision in the High Court.
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The single-member bench ruled in favour of Mallikarjun, nullifying KPTCL's stance and directing the corporation to grant him a full pension. Subsequently, KPTCL challenged this decision in the division bench.
The division bench dismissed KPTCL's appeal, emphasizing that pension cannot be withheld from a retired employee during the pendency of criminal proceedings initiated by a third party under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Notably, Mallikarjun's actions did not disrupt his employer's operations, and the charges against him emerged post-retirement. With the commencement of a criminal investigation, the court highlighted that no benefits, including pension, should be withheld. As a result, KPTCL has been directed to promptly reinstate all necessary facilities for Mallikarjun.