The Supreme Court has observed that voluntary retirement schemes have to be strictly adhered to with the objective of such schemes being defeated if parts of other schemes are mixed into such voluntary retirement schemes. A bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul dealt with a bundle of appeals filed by employees of insurance companies, who had availed General Insurance Employees under Special Voluntary Retirement Scheme, 2004. The issue before the bench was whether the beneficiaries under the aforementioned scheme would still be entitled to claim the benefits from an earlier scheme known as the General Insurance (Employees) Pension Scheme, 1995.
After referring to various judgments and scrutinising the schemes in question, the bench observed that the terms of the 2004 scheme are binding on the parties. Approving the contention of the insurance companies that, if one has availed the benefits of one scheme, it would not be possible to seek benefits beyond what is stipulated in the scheme itself. In accordance with this the bench noted that: “We have, thus, no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that statutory or contractual, such voluntary retirement schemes as the SVRS2004 Scheme have to be strictly adhered to, and the very objective of having such Schemes would be defeated, if parts of other Schemes are sought to be imported into such voluntary retirement schemes. What is offered by the employer is a package as contained in the Schemes of voluntary retirement, and that alone would be admissible.” The court, therefore, allowed the appeal of the insurance companies.
Tags : SC