FPJ Legal: Clear gratuity dues of all retired employees, Bombay HC orders HAL

The petition by 152 retired employees has contended that they have not been paid their dues since 2009.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, January 22, 2022, 10:54 PM IST
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More than 470 retired employees of the Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) will finally get their gratuity dues following orders from the Bombay High Court after a division bench of justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar, on January 17, directed HAL to clear gratuity dues of all the retired employees while hearing a petition filed by Hindustan Antibiotics Retired Employees Association.

The petition by 152 retired employees has contended that they have not been paid their dues since 2009.

Kishor Lonkar, who retired as Deputy General Secretary from the company five years back, said that the gratuity has to be paid to employees within 30 days after retirement, otherwise, the company is bound to pay interest on it.

The oldest employee awaiting gratuity dues is JP Lazarus, who retired in 2004 as General manager of Marketing, said Lonkar.

Advocate Helekar appearing for the Union of India pointed out to the court that the Union government has released Rs 100 crore on March 17, 2017, to HAL to meet all these demands. Through an RTI reply, the retired employees learnt that the Union Government has further disbursed Rs 118 crore, of which Rs 40 crore was for “payment of gratuity, leave encashment, LTC claim, medical claim etc. “for retirees”.

While directing HAL to clear principal gratuity dues to all retired employees, and not just the ones who have filed the petition, HC has said: “We clarify once again that the distribution is to be amongst all retired employees, whether these retired employees are members of the association or members of the Sangh, we make no distinction between these. We also include all other retired employees who may be members of neither the association nor the Sangh.”

DG Dhanure, the advocate for HAL, informed the HC that the company will pay the gratuity dues, which was Rs 25 crore.

The order reads: “We also note Mr Dhanure’s statement that from the sanctioned amount of Rs. 40 crores for all retired employees, the principal amount of the gratuity claim will be paid. We direct that this be done by 21st February 2022.”

Another petition has been filed by Hindustan Antibiotics Mazdoor Sangh which includes current employees through advocate Uday Warunjikar seeking payment of their outstanding salary, medical reimbursement, leave travel and so on.

Warunjikar argued that medical reimbursement, though permissible under the terms of employment, has not been paid out as long as 33 months.

The court has also directed HAL to file an affidavit by February 10 listing all pending dues under all heads of all retired employees, including all statutorily payable interest, whether these dues be payable under orders of the Regional Labour Commissioner or any other authority.

The HC has kept the petitions for further hearing on February 15.

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