Rejecting the submission that no amount should be recovered from the excess salary paid to employees, the apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Dipak Misra said, "...if any amount had been paid due to mistake, the mistake must be rectified and the amount so paid in pursuance of the mistake must be recovered".
"It might also happen that the employer might have to pay some amount to the respondent as a result of some mistake and in such an event, even the appellant (employer) might have to pay to the respondent (employee)," said Justice Dave in the judgment pronounced Friday.
"Be that as it may, upon settlement of the account, whatever amount has to be paid to the respondent employee or to the appellant employer shall be paid and the account shall be adjusted accordingly", the court said setting aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order.
The apex court said this while allowing an appeal by Chandigarh administration challenging the March 20, 2008 decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court by which it had allowed the plea of Gurcharan Singh against the recovery of excess of money that was paid to him due to erroneous fixation of his salary by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking where he had worked as a clerk.
Gurcharan Singh had moved the High Court after his plea against the recovery of excess money was junked by the Central Administrative Tribunal Jan 4,2002.
Singh, who had served as Combatant Clerk, was discharged from the army Jan 31,1990. He got employed with Chandigarh Transport Undertaking April 15, 1990 against ex-servicemen quota.
Two years later, he got his pay that was fixed by an order of Sep 2,1992. Upon his retirement, it emerged during an audit that his pay was wrongly fixed by the communication of Sep 2.
On retrospective re-fixation of his salary, it emerged that he was paid excess payment and same were sought to be recovered.