The Bombay High Court has declined to stay an order of recovery of Rs. 3.09 lakhs from the pension of a retired government employee, who had drawn house rent allowance in his salary for 30 years despite having an official accommodation during the same period.
Dattatraya Yadav, a Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) in Pay and Accounts Department of the state government, had drawn from 1975 to 2005, a period of 30 years, house rent allowance, despite full knowledge that he was not entitled to receive the same because he had been allotted a government accommodation since 1975.
An order was passed for recovery of the amount through a monthly deduction of Rs. 10,000 from his pension, when it became known to authorities after he retired from service. The aggrieved officer then moved Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, seeking to restrain the recovery of HRA amount.
The MAT, on November 14, 2014, confirmed the order about recovery of the amount following which Yadav knocked the doors of the high court.
It was also the petitioner’s case that an amount of Rs. 43,065 has already been recovered from him and, therefore, he is entitled to refund of the amount from the government.
The petitioner joined government service as a clerk in 1968 and retired in 2005 from the post of administrative officer. He was Drawing and Disbursing Officer in the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bandra, from 1997 to 2000, in wireless section from 2000 to 2003 and in the office of DCP, MT Section, Nagpada from 2003 to 2005.
“Thus, it is quite clear that the petitioner has handled responsible posts and can be said to have sufficient knowledge in the matter of pay allowances in government service,” a bench of Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice M S Sonak noted in their order recently.
“The petitioner was himself the DDO and it is not even his case that he was unaware that he was not entitled to draw HRA.
The petitioner’s contention that his superiors should have detected the error, does not commend to us,” the bench said.
“We really see no reason to interfere with the impugned order,” the judges observed.