Observing that Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) had let a retired employee “fall on the thorns of life and bleed” by failing to pay termination benefits even 21 years after retirement, the Karnataka High Court set a two-week payment deadline all that is due to him.
The KPTCL will have to pay 9% interest on the full amount owed to KT Thimmaiah, 77, since his retirement in 1999, the court ruled while ordering the company to pay him ₹ 50,000 in costs.
“To quote Shakespeare from The Fall of Wolsey, with slight variation depending on context ‘If I had served my God with half the zeal that I served my king, I would not have fallen in these days of impecuniosity ‘, is the cry of the petitioner in this petition, ”observed Judge M. Nagaprasanna while accepting the petition.
The court also observed that “the KPTCL procrastinated beyond imagination to release the terminal benefits of the petitioner without any justifiable reason”.
“The terminal benefits will allow a retired employee to live a life without need, with decency, independence and self-respect. Depriving such a right to a livelihood will leave a retiree to fall on the thorns of life and bleed, ”the court observed.
Mr. Thimmaiah’s legal fight began after he was fired on May 24, 1999 for misconduct and theft without conducting an investigation while working as a storekeeper in Bengaluru in the former Karnataka Electricity Board.
The court returned the verdict in his favor in January 2000, directing the authorities to take action after an investigation, and by that time he had retired on June 30, 1999.
He subsequently applied to the High Court three times, with the authorities, without holding any investigation, continuing to deny retirement and pension benefits, stating that the amount had been adjusted according to the loss caused by its alleged misdeeds.
Finally, in 2015, the authorities dropped the disciplinary proceedings and ruled that he was entitled to a pension. But terminal benefits remained unpaid despite repeated representations, prompting him to knock on court doors in 2018 with this petition, which was the fifth.