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Saturday, August 01, 2015

VENUGOPALAN'S RESPONSE TO ASTHANAJI'S LETTER

Dear Shri.Asthana,
    Thanks for your letter of the 28th instant and  congratulate you for speaking your mind.  Let me begin by assuring you that the entire community of pensioners is aware of  the good work done by you all these years  and the positive results  it has produced so far. There is no way  anyone can take it away from you, however much they try. Therefore, kindly shed misgivings,  if any,  you have in this regard. You are the architect of three valuable Jaipur HC verdicts which formed the very basis for all the consequent scene of actions, leading upto the Supreme Court. History is a record of facts and it can’t be re-written!
 Coming to the issues and points raised by you, I entirely agree that you may not be in a position to put out for the consumption of all the pensioners the micro-details of the strategy you are planning  in dealing with each and every  case- related situation. It is certainly not warranted  keeping in view the fact that both the GOI and LIC are always on the watch. However, I don’t think any harm will be done if you indicate the direction in which you want to move as and when a hearing is fixed, either before the HC or the SC.
  
   It is true that  our people dealing with the Punjab and Haryana H.C  did’nt act  according to how you strategised.  I also felt, that  as long as the authenticity and veracity of the figures worked out  by Shri.Mahadevan is not established, to the mutual satisfaction of LIC and the case handlers, how it would be possible for Mr.Murthy to argue that the amount deposited by LIC fell far short of the required amount. Moreover, in so far as they have not sought clarification of the 7th May Order from the Supreme Court ,how did they come to the conclusion that the 20% referred to in the SC Order related to both DR and Upgradation.?.It was purely hypothetical. The issue is not really that. The issue is that  you two don’t see eye to eye and  it seems to be the avowed policy of both to attach the least importance to each others views or wait for the earliest opportunity to prove the other person wrong. Unless this acrimony is buried deep down and each learns to respect  the others  views,opinions and suggestions, I don’t see any way out. That their expectations didn’t fructify and they were left high and dry after the Order of P&H ,H.C  on 28th July, is another matter. Strange and meandering are the ways of the judiciary!
  Now that Mr.Sreenivasa Moorthy has addressed you an open letter requesting you to oppose LICs  application for  withdrawal of 20% of the amount deposited by them. On the premises  that the amount is grossly inadequate (only 9% of the amount actually due) in terms of Mr.Mahadevans calculations, he  has cautioned you not to fall in the trap laid by LIC in settling down for an amount worked out by them and that too covering only the DR arrears.Without going into the merits of his reasoning, please let me know whether  you will at all give any credence to his suggestion. You are not to be blamed at all for the simple reason, anyone having semblance of self-respect cannot  give the suggestion a second thought under the present dispensation. Mr.Mehta has,in his latest post in the Chronicle, described  you as ‘arrogant’ and adds that you will be the happiest person to learn about the outcome of the 28th hearing . While Mr.Sreenivasa Murthy  is making a passionate plea to Mr.Asthana to fall in line with his thinking, one of them in his camp calls Mr.Asthana  “arrogant”. Unless  the blow-hot, blow –cold  approach  and   mutual reproachment ends, the  amity and   unity of purpose between the two camps will remain a pipe-dream. May I request  both Mr.Asthana and Mr.Murthy to appreciate the ground reality and take the first step forward in bringing  about a beautiful working relationship for the common good of the pensioners!
   And, as regards the advisability of initiating contempt proceedings,notwithstanding what Shri.Katju has observed, we  should weigh whether it will prove to be beneficial to us or not.  ‘Contempt’ proceedings   is a legal remedy to the aggrieved party when we have respondents like LIC, who are bent upon  twisting the  pronouncements of Hon.judges to their advantage and treat the implementation portion with utter callousness and impunity. .So, Contempt ,per-se is not a bird word , but  having reached the final stages of our legal battle, its use should be the rarest of rare instances. Thanks for clearing the mystery surrounding the Contempt proceedings initiated by you in Jaipur H.C. In a nutshell, taking recourse to the Contempt route, at this stage is not at all advisable. The pensioners have run out of patience and ,therefore, any act which will prolong the denouement should be abandoned.
   As a fellow-pensioner and belonging to the same age group, I  think I can take the liberty of  giving you a piece of advise. May be  the ‘PENSIONERS CHRONICLE’ had its origin more recent than you started your efforts in securing ultimate justice for  the hapless lot of pensioners .But , the fact remains that  it has ,today, turned out to be a very  vital and reliable  mouthpiece of the Pensioners . The right thing for us to do is to keep on encouraging the splendid efforts  put in by its Editor, Mr.PG Gangadharan , in making it absolutely interesting and palatable to all of us.  At this advanced age, whatever little done by any of our pensioner friends calls for unqualified appreciation and support.  I hope , you will agree with me. All of us are aware that you are carrying the burden of the legal battles on your shoulders despite being plagued by indifferent health.
     Messrs.Sreedharan, Asthana and Sreenivasamurthy  are all well-meaning  leaders. Personal problems notwithstanding, all the three of them have put their heart and soul in just one objective;one aim ,that of  ensuring a decent living for their fellow-pensioners  by  fighting legal battles in various courts. The roads taken by THEM to reach the destination may be different but the destination is the same. Then, why not there be real UNITY IN DIVERSITY. 23rd of September is not far off. Please pull yourself together and present a common ,agreed strategy on that day. Hon.Judge Deepak Misra ,of late,has delivered some path-breaking judgments, the often quoted July 1st  decision is one amongst them. We have everything  going our way, except the infighting.We also have to keep in mind that LIC has access and reach to eminent and politically influential senior Advocates like, Abhishek Manu Singhvi,Harish salve,Pinku Anand etc.who can carry any given day with aplomb, leaving us in the lurch. We have to field equally efficient lawers on 23rd ,September.   Mr,Asthana, can we hope to see more and more letters being  addressed to the Editor of the Chronicle  in the days to come. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.
   With warm regards,
    M.V.VENUGOPALAN