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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

MV VENUGOPALAN


Dear Editor,

Congrats to Mr.Murty for sending a clear message to LIC that the pensioners can no longer be taken for granted and messed with, a definite rap over their knuckles!. His innovative thinking and decisive action brought the welcome SC decision , which pensioners all over the country are relishing. Any ruling by the SC, even if it is an interim one should bring equal benefits to all the pensioners, whether it be the DR arrears or the arrears owing to up-gradation. Let us now examine, whether from this angle and context the Sc Order fulfills the aspirations and expectations of the pensioners.

The hearing had to be brief and to the point. Our counsel had told the Hon’ble judge that LIC didn’t comply with the SC Order dt 7th May 2015. The judge responded by saying that LIC should implement the provisions of the Interim Order by paying 20% of the arrears within two weeks from now, which expires on 22nd of September. The reason given by LICs counsel was that “ there is wrong calculations on the part of the ‘employees’”. Did Mr.Panigrahi mean the petitioners or pensioners by using the word ‘employees’. It is not clear. The Order was immediately dictated, where the judge,inter-alia has added by way of reply to LICs counselor “we are not concerned with the computation facet”, meaning that whatever the method you use for arriving at the amounts payable to the petitioners it is of no concern ; we want you (LIC) to comply with our order and in case of failure to comply with will tantamount to contempt and the CEO will have to personally appear to explain.

In one of his recent blogs Mr.Murty’s counsel had mentioned this IA is only between the LIC and the Punjab & Haryana HC petitioners and hence the other two parties (Mr.Asthana and Mr.Sridharan). can only be just onlookers. How come then that Mr.Singh interjected and tried for an adjournment.That the judge was irked and Mr.Asthana's counsel did’nt succeed is another thing.

Coming to the crux of the issue at the end of the day, how is the Order going to be played out. The ‘impugned order’ has its origin in the Board Resolution. If one may care to read my Post dt.2nd September “A Bane or A Boon” , where I have threadbare analysed the implications of Hon’ble Bhandari's judgment , it would have been clear to anyone that the Order while being emphatic about removal of disparity in DR , not that unequivocal and unambiguous about up-gradation. In yesterdays Order also, while mentioning ‘dues’ owing to the stakeholders, Hon’ble Dipak Misra has not spelt out that the the arrears should include both the difference in DR and the one arising owing to up-gradation. What prevents LIC from waiting till the close of the date of expiry and credit an arbitrarily arrived at amount in the accounts of the petitioners as they did in respect of Jaipur petitioners.In doing so, they would have, incidentally fulfilled the spirit of SC order viz; payment of 20% of the arrears (according to them). For the time being, for our limited purpose, let us forget about all the 40000 pensioners getting the 20% arrears. Will this Order help us in principle to drive home the point to LIC , that arrears mean not only 20% of DR arrears as calculated by them, ignoring ‘up-gradation with 11.25% weightage in chain’ but an amount as worked out by us. If so, we can further strengthen the base of our final hearing on 23rd September.Also don’t forget that both Mr.Asthana and Sridharan have knowingly or unknowingly played into the hands of LIC, believing ,perhaps, they are doing the best to those pensioners under their gaze.

Let us, therefore, fortify our case for the final onslaught on us by the GOI on 23rd September, with the active co-operation and involvement of our counselors. In the meantime, though coming to a common platform by the three case Managers is not possible, it is high time the mudslinging is abandoned. It is not right to kick off the ladder once we have risen to a certain level from where we can build on further and snatch victory.

With warm regards,
M V VENUGOPALAN