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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

MV VENUGOPALAN

Dear Editor,

As for the comments of my three friends on my last Post, I 

don’t think that I need to give any specific reply except to say 

that in writing that I had no intention,whatsoever,  to kick-

start any  new controversy. I wanted only to impress upon the 

pensioners that if only our three leaders had adopted a totally 

pro-active approach, instead of whiling away the time in 

accusing each other, and accusing LIC and the Govt. for all the 

ills, the pensioners would have been the beneficiaries; they 

would have received what was actually due to them as 20% 

arrears,both DR and up-graded pension provided the 7th May 

SC interim Order really meant so.


I have also indicated as to how much harm it is doing in hurling abuses at each other, forgetting the basic tenets of decency and decorum. However, I need to clarify to Mr. Mahadevan what I meant by describing Mr.Sridharan as  a non-state actor.  I fully agree with him in  that Mr.Sridharan is still left with playing a major role in fulfilling the aspirations of the Post-1997 pensioners, particularly in regard to the up-gradation and other related issues. He has an unfinished Agenda. But, even  though  he is the General Secretary of the ClassI Officer pensioners Federation, by disowning up-gradation all along, he has distanced himself  from the Establishment espousing this cause  and has given the unmistakable impression that  he does’nt belong there. This is the reason why I had to refer to him as a ’non-state actor’, of course , in a very limited sense. Let me also make it clear, that I am not batting for any one in particular, but for the pensioner friends, as a whole.

Well, the task awaiting our leaders is not going to be simple on 18th in the Supreme Court; it is definitely not going to be a cakewalk. While summing up the SC proceedings on 30th of September, Mr. Sreenivasa Murty quotes the Judge having said  “...if the resolution was not statutory and if it required Govt. approval to become effective that is how it is...” and the counsel cannot defend the Jaipur decision to the contrary with his line of approach. The Hon’ble Judge had also added “there are different categories of pensioners who receive different rates of pension. Forget Govt. for a while,how do you defend your position? (addressed to LIC). The same judge during another hearing ,
earlier, had asked our counsel “Is Pension Up-gradation provided for in the  Pension Regulation ?” Again, when Mr.Nidesh Gupta tried to point out Shri.Misra relying on DS Nakaras judgment , the judge seemed to be not relishing it. All this pieced together,  should send a certain strong signal to us: The Board resolution, which also forms the backbone of  Shri.Bhandari’s judgment is not all that reliable. At least, we should guard against it proving to be an ‘Achilles heel’ for us.

We need to understand and realise that no two cases are so similar that  one can be replicated in the place of another.  At the most , whether it is Nakaras case or for that matter the OROP of the Defense Personnel or any other decided case laws running parallel to our case, can be quoted only as supportive arguments and not as something which will clinch the issue for us. The cliché-ridden examples should, as far as possible, be avoided as it might not cut much ice. The wage structure, the nature of the benefits enjoyed by our employees, the history of pay revisions, the manner in which  our pension fund  is constituted  are all different from the way  it is for other institutions, whom we may be tempted to draw an analogy. Our counsels must make exhaustive preparations to  answer any questions posed by the Judge. It should not be like some of the students preparing well to answer some of the questions the previous day and in the Examination Hall they find the questions to be all different.  
  

Lots of our right-thinking and legally mature pensioners have sent in their legal points  which might come in handy while arguing out our cases. There is nothing like one-size-fits-All solutions  which can be applied freely, irrespective of the context and stage of the  argument. It boils down ultimately to between the Case Managers and their counsels. Even if a thousand people surround to watch a lady delivering, it is only  the lady on the table who can deliver the child,  and not the spectators. Therefore,  the Points that should engage the attention of our leaders on 18th Nov are:

    i) Engage a counsel of proven capability and specialised  in cases such as ours.

    ii) Set aside cliché-ridden quotations vulnerable points  and  do some out of the box thinking, suitable and in conformity with our own issues

   iii)  Have a sound idea about how our “Pension Fund” works and whether it is self-sustaining (affordability will be another bogey LIC may raise).

    iv) Have a definite game-plan, strategy and  absolute clarity of the end-purpose

    v) More than anything else, without wasting anytime try for a co-ordinated approach. (Now that there seems to be a melt down in the relations between the people of Panchkula and Jaipur)

         A cursory glance of the proposed pay scales will show how much we have to gain if only the up-gradation is granted, and how glaring will be the discrimination in case we don’t get it. This should, therefore, act as an added incentive to our leaders to put their heart and soul in the hearing coming up on 18th November in the SC.
 

     With best of Regards,

    M.V.VENUGOPALAN