GRATIAEN J.—Qunawardcnc v. The Attorney.General
1948Present: Gratiaen J.
GUNAWARDENE, Appellant, and THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL,,
S. C. 36—C. R. Negombo, 45,612.
Pension—Retired Government Servant—Action by administrator of estate—Notrecoverable at law.
The right of a retired Government servant to a pension is not one that canbe enforced in a Court of law.
.A.PPEAI., from a judgment of the Commissioner of RequestsNegombo.
H. W. Jayevxirdene, for the plaintiff, appellant.
V. Tennekoon, Croum Counsel, for the defendant, respondent.
Cur. adv. milt.
May 27, 1948. Gratiaen J.—
A person named Victor Benjamin Fernando Gunewardene was aretired Government clerk drawing a pension of Rs. 72.09 from theGovernment of Ceylon. He died on April 29, 1945, and it is commonground that he had not drawn his pension in respect of the monthof April, 1945, at the date of his death, and the plaintiff, who is theadministrator of Gunewardene’s estate now sues the Attorney-Generalas representing the Crown for the recovery of this amount. •—
The plaintiff’s claim was successfully resisted by the Attorney-General .in the lower Court on the ground that Gunewardene had no legally enforce-able right to recover any pension from the Crown. In other words, it
GRATIAEN J.—dunaioardene v. The Attorney-General.
was contended, a Court of law has no jurisdiction in any matter relating tothe payment .of pensions to retired Government servants, such matters de-pending entirely upon the grace and bounty of the Crown. In my opinionthe learned Commissioner’s judgment upholding this objection was correct.The payment of pensions to retired Government servants at the relevantdate was regulated by certain rules sanctioned by the Secretary of Statefor the Colonies and incorporated in the Minutes of Pensions datedFebruary 5, 1934. Buie 1 expressly provides that “ public servantshave no absolute right to any pension or allowance under these rules.”These words which I have quoted follow the language of section 30 ofthe Superannuation Act (4 & 5 William 4, Chapter 24) of England,which have been construed in the English Courts as “ destroying thepossibility of a claim of legal right ”(Cooper v. The Queen1). The
authorities were exhaustively reviewed by the Court of Appeal inNixon v. Attorney-Generala, which judgment was affirmed by theHouse of Lords in appeal (1931, A. C. 184). In view of the similarityof language between the local pension rules and the English Acts I wouldhold that the Minutes of Pensions merely regulates the administrationof pensions by those in whose hands that duty is placed, and does notconfer upon retired Government servants any legal rights in respectthereof. I would accordingly dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal with costs.
(1880) 14 Ch. D. 311.
Appeal dismissed.(1930) 99 L. J. Ch. 259.