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State can’t recover its dues from poor employees: SC

The Supreme Court has held that the government, which inadvertently pays more to its employees than the due amount, cannot recover the excess money if it causes hardships to certain classes.

A bench of justices JS Khehar and Arun Mishra devised various categories of employees from whom the state cannot recover the excess amount as it would “result in a hardship of a nature, which would far outweigh, the equitable balance of the employer’s right to recover.”

“The right to recover being pursued by the employer, will have to be compared, with the effect of the recovery on the concerned employee. If the effect of the recovery from the concerned employee would be, more unfair, more wrongful, more improper, and more unwarranted, than the corresponding right of the employer to recover the amount, then it would be iniquitous and arbitrary, to effect the recovery,” it said.

Referring to various judgements, it laid down the parameters of “fact situations, wherein employees, who are beneficiaries of wrongful monetary gains at the hands of the employer, may not be compelled to refund the same”.

It also said that the court can interfere the recovery proceedings if it causes hardship to the employees.

“The right to recover being pursued by the employer, will have to be compared, with the effect of the recovery on the concerned employee. If the effect of the recovery from the concerned employee would be, more unfair, more wrongful, more improper, and more unwarranted, than the corresponding right of the employer to recover the amount, then it would be iniquitous and arbitrary, to effect the recovery.


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