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Monday, August 03, 2015

The Chandigarh Platform – To benefit all LIC Pensioners


The Chandigarh Platform – To benefit all LIC Pensioners

अज्ञ:सुखमाराध्य: सुखतरमाराध्यते विशेषज्ञ:
ज्ञान लव दुर्विदग्धं ब्रह्म्मापि नरं रंजयति।।

Mr B S Hegde and the likes of him should take off the blinkers on their eyes and start seeing the world beyond Jaipur & Asthana, if they are really interested in LIC Pensioners as a whole.  All of them including the mighty AIRIEF have gambled enough on Asthana all these years and by Hegde’s own admission in his latest Post in the PC full of his random thoughts, he fears that LIC Pensioners are not going to get anything from the on-going litigation before the Supreme Court. He therefore wants someone to start a country-wide campaign to create awareness on OROP. What a brilliant suggestion? Mr Hegde, why don’t you start one yourself after walking out of the KML bandwagon if you fear that ‘in rem’ is not going to work? KML had already left all of you in the lurch and so you now look to AIRIEF to implead itself before the Supreme Court to take care of your interests. And achieve for all its members (and others), what KML is unable (or unwilling?) to achieve? KML is anyway busy collecting from LIC, some eighteen thousand rupees each, to his pre-97 retiree-petitioners including himself, leaving behind his other co-petitioners not to talk of Mr B S Hegde and his forty thousand co-victims as far as interim relief is concerned.    

Like KML had confessed, this BSH also waited a whole week after the Chandigarh HC on 20 July dismissed and threw LIC’s petition out (for withdrawing 20% of the money deposited) to comment on what happened in the Court on 28 July. From what I could notice on Hegde’s calibre to evaluate the implications of the Chandigarh developments on 20th & 28th July 2015, I am convinced it is beyond him to comprehend.

Without wasting time on the uninformed comments by half-baked lawyers, I wish people (who are unable to digest how LIC’s deliberate mischief in twisting the 7 May Order of Supreme Court was stubbornly checkmated in Chandigarh) answer the following questions honestly.

1.   When LIC tried to withdraw Rs.3,92,727.60p at Jaipur and Rs 6,73,567/- at Chandigarh, was it right to allow it or was it right to oppose the move?

2.   If they are not sure or do not want to answer the first question because they have scores to settle with their Panchkula counterparts, can they at least visualize whether the LIC Pensioners as a whole, are better or worse off AFTER LIC withdrew Rs.3,92,727.60p at Jaipur?


3.   Now that LIC’s Application at Jaipur has been allowed unopposed, does anybody (other than KML) expect that LIC will not use the sum of Rs 3.92 Lakhs to pay to the 21 Petitioners and exclude others? Or does anybody expect LIC would add some Rs 2 crores and pay at least to all the Petitioners in Jaipur?

4.   Those who think LIC’s attempts to withdraw 20% of the amounts deposited should not be opposed as a piece of divine strategy - can they explain why the whole amount deposited was not drawn all these years? 100% of what was deposited was bad money then and 20% of it is good money now? And this ‘one of its kind’ somersault is sought to be explained with a very original (I called it bizarre – I stick to it) theory that the ‘withdrawal’ and ‘payment’ have nothing to do with each other.

On the Organizational policy decision by AIRIEF to implead itself before the Apex Court and the renewed clamour for the move by the bystanders like Mr Hegde, let them be prepared fully to answer some awkward questions that they may face before the Supreme Court. Whatever may be the real compulsions and reasons behind this belated move (more difficult to explain than Union of India filing its SLPs five years after the impugned Judgement was delivered), the grounds for impleading to be adopted officially in the Application are not going to be easy. AIRIEF can neither own nor disown KML & Co - the original Petitioners, while trying now to directly enter the fray. That it had ‘invested’ over half a crore of rupees so far on one individual heading a small batch of private litigants, is at best good enough to give it the status off the record, of a surrogate mother. But such a claim will be wholly untenable and irrelevant before the altar of the country’s highest judiciary. I find the path slippery. Before taking the first formal step to enter the fray, the Organization may have to ‘rope in’ and activate its think-tank to mull on the major move and not be swayed by any wrong priorities.

We are passing through not only the final phase but the most critical one too. Let us not play with the interests of forty thousand of our own colleagues – both senior and contemporary. Let debates be issue-based and not for scoring points over others.

I said this before but I need to repeat – what is being attempted in Chandigarh and on behalf of the Petitioners there, is being done with utmost diligence and responsibility. It is intended to win points that should ultimately benefit our Pensioner community as a whole. Our immediate focus is not to let LIC browbeat us and get away without properly implementing the 7 May Order of the Supreme Court.

Before concluding this Post (thank you Mr B S Hedge), I wish to caution all our Pensioner-friends – that no doubt 23 Sept 2015 is not too far – but don’t expect much to happen either on that day or soon thereafter. LIC would give way to Union of India to press for the latter’s SLPs on the ground that its own case is wholly dependent on what UoI had to say. And both of them together, are known experts in seeking and getting long adjournments at the drop of a hat. We should be alert to oppose such moves stoutly. Our co-petitioners are also known for their susceptibilities in contributing by themselves, towards avoidable adjournments. Recent history is evidence enough.

Then the 7 May Order of the SC should come to our rescue in a big way. We need to prepare the ground for it from now on. The Chandigarh HC Order of 28 July is not a set back – far from it. It directly helps focus attention on the SC interim direction of 7 May, for the benefit of ALL – across Organizations.

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Nor is it the subject matter of this Appeal.


M Sreenivasa Murty