Gratuity

(2018)1 SCeJ 656 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, Section 2(e) read with Section 2A -  Gratuity - Once the State regularized the services of the appellant while he was in State services, the appellant became entitled to count his total period of service for claiming the gratuity amount subject to his proving continuous service of 5 years as specified under Section 2A of the Act  - In the circumstances appearing in the case, it would be the travesty of justice, if the appellant is denied his legitimate claim of gratuity despite rendering “continuous service” for a period of 25 years which even, according to the State, were regularized - The question as to from which date such services were regularized was of no significance for calculating the total length of service for claiming gratuity amount once the services were regularized by the State.    [Para 14, 17]

Held,

 

Appellant has in all rendered 25 years and 3 months of service (22 years and 1 month as daily wager and 3 years and 2 months as regular work charge employee)- Contention that the appellant could not be said to have worked continuously for a period of 5 years as provided so as to make him eligible to claim gratuity, as he only worked for 3 years as regular employee   –  Appellant satisfied the rigor of the expression "continuous service" as defined under Section 2-A of the Act -  Employee  has actually rendered the service for a period of 25 years - State actually regularized his services  - Having regularized the services, the appellant became entitled to claim its benefit for counting the period of 22 years regardless of the post and the capacity on which he worked for 22 years - No provision under the Act was brought to our notice which disentitled the appellant from claiming the gratuity and nor any provision was brought to  our notice which prohibits the appellant from taking benefit of his long and continuous period of 22 years of service, which he rendered prior to his regularization for calculating his continuous service of five years.

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Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, Section 2(e) read with Section 2A -  Gratuity - State took 22 years to regularize the service of the appellant and went on taking work from the appellant on payment of a meager salary of Rs.2776/- per month for 22 long years uninterruptedly and only in the last three years, the State started paying a salary of Rs.11,107/- per month to the appellant - Having regularized the services of the appellant, the State had no justifiable reason to deny the benefit of gratuity to the appellant which was his statutory right under the Act - It being a welfare legislation meant for the benefit of the employees, who serve their employer for a long time, it is the duty of the State to voluntarily pay the gratuity amount to the appellant rather than to force the employee to approach the Court to get his genuine claim.


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