A few words about Pension
There was a time when the employee, who remained in
Government Service till superannuation, on superannuation
was literally thrown out of service and was left to fend for
himself and that too without any financial help. The “Word’
Pension was perhaps hardly talked of. With the passage of
time, the so called Welfare British Government of India
started thinking about hardship of the retirees and felt its
social liability towards them. This was the inception of
Pension. But this was insufficient for the retiree to keep his
hearth burning. Also there was no provision for family
After the death of Pensioner, his wife was forced to lead a
life of sufferings.
After independence, no doubt pension was in vogue but
family pension was still a mirage and far from reality.
After a long time, relief in the form of family pension was
introduced in 1964. Still the pension and family pension was
nominal and the retiree was hardly able to make both ends
meet. Gradually, the pensioners, realizing their difficulties
and lethargic attitude of the Government towards them
started striving though in mild form for their better
standard of living.
With the pressure built up by united efforts of employees
as well as pensioners, Governments started thinking of some
measures to compensate the retirees in a better way. The
concept of pay commission was mooted and at last it became a
reality. Pay Commissions were constituted by Government of
India and that of different States upwardly though for the
betterment of Employees/ Pensioners but inwardly it was a
step to enable the employee/retiree merely to sustain his
life. British Government legacy was still carried on by the
The hallmark change in Pension came with the landmark 5
judge Constitutional Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment
on 17-12-1982 in the case D.S. Nakra vs Union of India (UOI).
This date, 17th December has become a sacred day in the life
of pensioners and is celebrated every year as ‘Pensioner’s
Day’ throughout India with great zeal and fervour. On that
day the problems are discussed, resolved to resolve them
with renewed spirit.
Pension is not a bounty the payment of which depends on
sweet will of the Government. Pension is not a compensation
for the loyal service rendered in past, but it has a broader
significance in that it is a measure of social and economic
justice which inherits economic security in the fall of life
when physical and mental process is ebbing. Corresponding in
the ageing process and one is required to fall upon savings.
One such saving in kind is, when you gave your best days, in
the days of life to your employer, in the days of invalidity, economic
security by way of periodical payment is assured.
Pension, now, is a right and its payment does not depend
on the discretion of Government but is governed by rules. In
other words, Pension is a social security, payment for the
aged, disabled, diseased citizens made in accordance with
the rules governing the social service programme of the
country. Pension scheme assured that the pensioner is able
to live in decency. Independence and self-respect and a
standard that he/she had at the pre-retirement stage.
Before concluding, I repeat the soul of judgment in D.S.
“A Pensioner scheme consistent with available sources
must provide that the Pensioner would be able to live
- (i) Free from want, with decency, independence and
- (ii) At a standard equivalent at pre-retirement level."
Now the ball is in Government court. Let the Government
ponder over it and decide as how to make the lives of
pensioners worth living as visualized by Hon’ble Supreme