LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has set aside a show-cause notice issued by the communication & works department secretary to an officer four years after his retirement for stoppage of pension.

Khalid Imran Khan Barki, who retired as chief engineer in BS-20 in 2012, filed a petition challenging the show-cause notice issued to him on Sept 22, 2016 for being illegal.

The petitioner counsel argued that their client superannuated without any stigma but the respondent issued him notice after the lapse of four years and nine months without mentioning the relevant provision of law and sub-rule of Punjab Civil Services Pension Rules, 1963 (the “Pension Rules”). Rule 1.8(b) of Pension Rules clearly reflected that the limitation of initiation of departmental proceedings against the retired civil servant was one year.

Assistant Advocate General Hassan Khalid Ranjha on behalf of the government objected to the maintainability of the petition saying that the petitioner had been proceeded against under rule 1.8(a) of the Pension Rules which empowered the government to withhold or withdraw a pension or any part thereof.

Justice Jawad Hassan in his verdict released a day ago observes that the rule 1.8(b) empowers the government to order recovery from the pension of the whole or any part of any pecuniary loss caused to the government, if the pensioner is found in departmental or judicial proceedings to have been guilty of grave misconduct or negligence during his service.

However, he notes that the record reveals that the petitioner superannuated in 2012 and he received the show-cause notice in 2016 from the respondent.

The judge further observes that during his service the petitioner was neither convicted nor proven guilty of misconduct either by the government itself or by any other forum.

He remarks that it is a settled principle of law that under Punjab Employees, Efficiency, Discipline, and Accountability Act, 2006 proceedings against the retired employee can be initiated during his service or within one year of his retirement.

“Therefore, the petitioner cannot be proceeded against after one year of his retirement,” Justice Hassan ruled in the verdict allowing the petition and set aside the impugned proceedings.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

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