Friday, September 11, 2015

M.Sreenivasa Murty


The dust raised by those in the Rally as well as a few freelance spectators chasing from behind, will settle down sooner than later. What next? 

As we go closer to 23 Sept, Pensioners across the country would anxiously look forward to some good news from the Supreme Court with Great Expectations.

I wish to share my thoughts on how things may move, on and after 23 Sept 2015.

In terms of the proceedings in the Court on 7 May, Petitioners of Jaipur (Respondents in SLP/CAs) have to file their Counter to Union of India's SLPs in six weeks. I understand it has been done by Mr Asthana. It should be followed by Union of India's Rejoinder if any, being filed in four weeks. This I learn has NOT yet happened. One has to wait and see whether the Govt would file it before 23rd or ask for time for that purpose.

Filing of a Rejoinder being optional, whether filed or not, arguments on SLPs can commence on that day if the Counsel concerned and the Bench agree. In all probability, the Bench may prefer to hear arguments on SLPs, and CAs together, followed by arguments from the Respondents. One doesn’t know whether arguments of both sides on UoI’s SLPs would be heard separately. Court takes the final call.

If on the request of UoI or at the choice of the Bench, the final hearing does not re-commence on 23rd (or even otherwise) LIC’s compliance (?) to the Interim Order passed on 7 Sept is certain to come up for review by the Bench on that day. In fact the proceedings may take off with that only. I am also expecting some fireworks because I do not expect LIC to comply with the Interim Directions fully in letter and spirit and in that event we would take to the Notice of the Bench how and in what manner LIC had violated the Order first after 7 May and later in spite of the Order on 7 Sept 2015. Rest of the proceedings would depend entirely on how the Bench reacts to the compliance report by LIC and what is conveyed by each of the three Respondents.

As far as Chandigarh Petitioners are concerned, the exact amount demanded (being 20% of the amount payable under the impugned Judgement) is already before the Supreme Court in our IA No 6 of 2015, on which the stern Order was passed against LIC on 7 Sept 2015. Again in respect of Chandigarh Petitioners, LIC is in a fix because its application for withdrawal of 20% from the money deposited in the HC, was dismissed on 28 July. I do not expect LIC to make a fresh application because it has no supporting Order from the Supreme Court. Whether LIC would pay without withdrawing, has to be seen because, 7 Sept Order mandates payment. I think LIC would make some payment on some basis of its own and make a mess of a compliance Report. AND INVITE TROUBLE from the Bench.

Here comes yet again, a golden opportunity for ALL the three Pensioner groups to come together and appraise the Bench on how the Corporation has taken the Pensioners for a ride in utter disregard for the SC Interim Orders of 7 May & 7 Sept 2015. After all, there is no dispute that LIC has not paid the amount due under the impugned judgements in any one case.

I may conclude my submission that if we succeed in securing a direction from the Bench for payment of 20% including up-gradation component, we can plan celebrations for final victory because

Our Pension up-gradation is a WRITING ON THE WALL