In the Matter of State of Kerala v. Seena M a petition against the ruling and judgement dated 7-11-2017 issued by the Kerala Administrative Tribunal found that no recovery can be made and permitted a challenge against the recovery of excess salary. According to Rule 91 of Part 1 of the Kerala Service Rules, the respondent, who had been hired as a PD teacher on January 2, 2004, requested Leave Without Allowance on June 8, 2004, in order to enrol in the Bachelor of Education programme. The respondent was granted access from 15 June 2004 to 29 March 2005, however, the LWA was only permitted on September 17, 2004. The authorities in the initial application claimed that the respondent should have re-entered duty on March 30, 2005, forfeiting her prior service, after finishing her B.Ed course. This was contested by the respondent, and the State was told to decide on her legal counsel within two months. The respondent was judged to be ineligible for LWA for 288 days by the State because she had not served the required number of years. The Government Order of 28-04-2010 gave an incumbent who had taken Leave Without Pay before 24-05-2005 the right to count their leave time towards a pay increase. However, this computation was the subject of an audit objection in 2013, and the respondent’s argument was disproved. The KAT determined that the authorities’ position on the respondent’s eligibility for benefits was accurate and legally tenable.
Analysis of Court Order
The respondent had no information that the sum being provided to her exceeded what she was entitled to, according to the Divisional Judge bench of Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice C. Jayachandran of the Kerala High Court, which affirmed the aforementioned ruling.
The Court in the present case noted that there was no dispute over the respondent’s eligibility to receive the benefits of the granted increase. The dispute centred in particular on the employer’s and government’s right to recoup the excess money paid, to which the respondent was not entitled. The court also took notice of the fact that the judgement ordering the recovery of funds was issued on March 8, 2016, more than five years after the respondent’s pay was revised for an increase on April 28, 2010.
The Court did not see a need to challenge the KAT’s decision. It also gave the authorities the option to adjust the respondent’s salary prospectively, starting on 8 March 2016, and to recover any excess money paid after that date. The respondent had been given due notice that the salary she received was higher than what was legally her own.
CASE NAME – State of Kerala v. Seena M., OP Kerala Administrative Tribunal No. 95 of 2023