The Supreme Court highlighted the importance of broadly interpreting State Government pension schemes as part of beneficial legislation.

The Supreme Court highlighted the importance of broadly interpreting State Government pension schemes as part of beneficial legislation.

Case Title: Vinod Kanjibhai Bhagora v. State of Gujarat & Anr.

Court: Supreme Court of India

Citation: Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No(s). 16030 of 2018

Judges: Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma

Date of Judgment: February 2nd, 2024


The said case involves a postal assistant (appellant) working with the Central Government in Gandhinagar from 12.08.1983 to 16.07.1973. To participate in the recruitment of a ‘Senior Assistant’ in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the appellant obtained NOC from the Superintendent of Post Office, Gandhinagar during the interregnum period. Post giving his resignation in Gandhinagar postal division on 16.07.1993, the appellant joined as Senior Assistant in the State Government. He served the State Government for 23 years till his superannuation. After his retirement, the State Government only provided him with terminal benefits/pensionary benefits to the extent of the Subject Period.

The appellant made a representation before the Chief Postmaster General, Gujarat Circle stating that the terminal benefits must include the period for which he served the Central Government as well. This demand was rejected stating that since he had given an unconditional resignation, the said period was not to be included in his benefits. The appellant then approached the High Court seeking relief but the court also rejected his plea. The said appeal has thereby been filed in the apex court by the appellant, seeking relief.


The main issue underlying this case was to quantify the period of employment of the appellant for which he shall receive terminal/ pensionary benefits:

  • Whether the period for which the appellant served in the Central Government before joining the State Government shall be included in ascertaining his terminal/ pensionary benefits?

Laws Involved

The provision involved Rule 25 of the Gujarat Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 2022. This is deliberated upon in detail by both parties and then elaborately explained by the apex court for its application in the present case.

Rule 25. Qualifying Service: Subject to the provisions of these rules, qualifying service of Government employee, means and includes - (ix) services rendered under Central Government/Central Government Autonomous bodies having pension scheme, by a Government employee who is absorbed in Government


Appellant: The counsel for the appellant emphasized Rule 25(ix) of the Pension Rules to state that the 10 years for which the appellant served as a Postal Assistant in the Central Government must be counted for his pensionary benefits. He said that since he was a Central Government employee and the State Government had absorbed him, Rule 25(ix) applied to him.

Respondent: The counsel for the respondent, i.e. the State of Gujarat argued that the appellant did not become eligible for application of Rule 25(ix) as his appointment in the State Government emanated from a fresh recruitment drive which was done by an advertisement rolled out for the purpose by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.


The apex court after interpreting the Pension Rules stated that it is imperative to give a holistic meaning to Rule 25. The court stated that the interpretation as stated by the respondents is very restrictive and makes the said provision applicable only to such persons who have been ‘expressly’ absorbed by the State Government from the Central Government. The court enunciated that the appellant had obtained an NOC from the government before participating in the recruitment drive following which he had tendered a formal resignation upon his selection.

The court stated that the High Court had unfairly deprived the appellant of obtaining the benefit of Rule 25(ix). The High Court erred in its judgement whereby it barred the appellant from including the period of service rendered to the Central Government as a part of ‘qualifying service’ under the Pension Rules.

Post setting aside the impugned order of the High Court the apex court ordered the following:

i. re-calculate the terminal benefits / pensionary benefits accruing in favour of the Appellant;

ii. transmit the arrears (if any) of such terminal benefits / pensionary benefits to the Appellant within 6 (six) weeks from today i.e., 02.02.2024.

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Snehil Sharma

Snehil Sharma

Snehil Sharma is an advocate with an LL.M specializing in Business Law. He is a legal research aficionado and is actively indulged in legal content creation. His forte is researching on contemporary legal issues.

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