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Saturday, November 14, 2015

ADV N PRADEEPKUMAR


Para 37: “If Such Be  The Goals Of  Pension, If Such  Be The “Welfare State”, Which  We  Propose  To Set Up, If Such Be The  Goals Of Socialism  And Conceding That Any “Welfare Measure”, May, Consistent  Economic Capacity Of The State, Be Progressively  Augmented With  Wider Width, And A Larger Canvas, Yet When The  Economic  Means  Permit  The  Augmentation, Should Some  Be  Left  Out, For The  Sole Reason, That While  In The Formative  Years  Of The  Nascent  State, They Contributed  Their Mite, But When The Fruits Of Their Labour  Led To The Flowering Of   The  Economic  Development And Higher Gross  National  Produce, Bringing  In Larger Revenue And  Therefore, Larger Cake  Is  Available, They Would Be Denied  Any Share Of It? Indisputably, Viewed  From Any  Angle, Pensioners  For  Payment  Of  Pension  Form A Class.
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 Unquestionably, Pension  Is  Linked  To Length  Of  Service,  And  The  Last  Pay Drawn, But  The  Last  Pay  Does  Not  Imply, Pay On  The Last Day  Of  Retirement, But, Average  Emoluments  As Defined In The  Scheme. Earlier, Average  Emoluments  Of  36 Months’  Service  Provided  The Measure  Of Pension, Because, The Pension Was Related To  The Average  Emoluments, During 36 Months Just  Preceding  Retirement. By  The  Liberalised  Scheme, It Is Reduced  To  Average Emoluments  Of 10 Months  Preceding  The  Date. Any One In Government Service, Would  Appreciate  At A Glance, That With  An  Average  Of  10  Months, It Would Be On The  Higher Side, On Account  Of  The  Two  Fortuitous  Circumstances, That The Pay  Scales, If One  Has  Not  Reached  The  Maximum,  Permit  Annual  Increments, And There  Are  Promotions  In  The  Last  One Or Two Years. With  A View  To  Giving  A  Higher  Average, The Scheme   Was Liberalized  To Provide  For  Average  Emoluments, With  Reference  To, Last 10 Months’ Service. Coupled With  It, A Slab System  For  Computation  Is Introduced  And The Ceiling  Raised. This Is Liberalisation. Now, If The  Pensioners, Who  Retired  Prior  To The  Specified   Date, And Had To Earn Pension On The Average   Emoluments Of  36 Months’ Salary, Just  Preceding  The Date Of  Retirement, Naturally   The Average Would Be Lower And They  Will  Be  Doubly  Hit, Because  The Slab  System  As  Now  Introduced Was Not  Available And The  Ceiling  Was  At A Lower  Level. Thus, They  Suffer  Triple Jeopardy, Viz., Lower  Average  Emoluments, Absence Of Slab System  And  Lower  Ceiling.

Para 38:   “What Then Is The  Purpose  In  Prescribing The Specified  Date, Vertically  Dividing  The  Pensioners, Between  Those Who Retired  Prior  To The  Specified  Date And Those Who  Retire Subsequent  Date? That Poses The Further Question, Why Was  The  Pension  Scheme  Liberalized? What Necessitated  Liberalisation Of  The Pension   Scheme?

  Para 39: “Both  The  Impugned  Memoranda, Do Not  Spell  Out  The  Raison D’etre For  Liberalising  The Pension  Formula. In The Affidavit  In  Opposition, By Shri  S.N.Mathur, It Has Been Stated That  The  Liberalisation  Of  Pension  Of  Retiring  Government  Servants  Was  Taken, By  The  Government  In View   Of  The   Persistent  Demand  Of  The  Central  Government   Employees, Represented In  The Scheme  Of  Joint  Consultative  Machinery. This Would  Clearly  Imply  That The  Pre-Liberalised  Pension  Scheme,  Did  Not  Provide  For  Adequate  Protection  In  Old Age, And A Further   Liberalisation  Was  Necessary  As  A Measure  Of Economic    Security. When Government  Favourably   Responded  To  The Demand  It Thereby   Ipso  Facto  Conceded  That, There Was  Larger  Available  National  Cake, Part Of Which   Could  Be  Utilised  For  Providing  Higher  Security  To Erstwhile  Government  Servants, Who Would  Retire. The Government   Also  Took  Note  Of  The  Fact, That Continuous  Upward    Movement  Of  Cost  Of  Living  Index, As  A Sequel  TO  Inflationary  Inputs   And Diminishing Purchasing  Power  Of  Rupee  Necessitated  Upward  Revision  Of  Pension.If This  Be  The  Underlying  Intendment  Of  Liberlisation  Of  Pension  Scheme, Can  Any  One   Be Bold Enough  To  Assert  It  Was  Good  Enough  Only  For Those, Who  Retire, Subsequent  To  The Specified  Date, But, Those  Who Had  Already  Retired  Did Not  Suffer  The  Pangs Of Rising  Prices, And  Falling  Purchasing  Power  Of The  Rupee. What Is The   Sum Total  Of  The Picture? Earlier  The Scheme  Was Not  That Liberal, Keeping  In   View  The Definition   Of  Average   Emoluments, And The Absence  Of  The  Slab System, And  A  Lower  Ceiling. Those, Who Rendered  The Same  Service, Earned Less  Pension, And Are   Exposed  To  The  Vagaries  Of  Rising  Prices, Consequent  Upon  Inflationary  Inputs. If, Therefore, Those   Who  Are  To  Retire Subsequent  To  The Specified  Date, Would  Feel  The  Pangs, In Their Old Age, Of Lack Of Adequate  Security, By What Stretch  Of  Imagination, The Same  Can  Be  Denied  To  Those, Who  Retired  Earlier, With  Lower  Emoluments, And yet  Are  Exposed  To  The Vagaries  Of  The Rising  Prices, And The  Falling  Purchasing  Power  Of  The  Rupee. And The Greater  Misfortune  Is  That, They  Are  Becoming  Older  And Older  Compared  To  Those, Who  Would  Be  Retiring  Subsequent  To  The Specified Date. The Government  Was  Perfectly  Justified  In  Liberalising  The  Pension  Scheme. In Fact, It Was  Over-Due. But, We Find  No  Justification, For Arbitrarily  Selecting  The  Criteria For  Eligibility  For  The Benefits  Of  The  Scheme, Dividing  The  Pensioners, All  Of  Whom  Would  Be  Retirees, But  Falling On  One  Or The Other Side  Of  The  Specified  Date”.

Para 40:”Therefore, Let  Us  Proceed  To Examine, Whether  There Was Any  Rationale  Behind  The  Eligibility  Qualification. The  Learned  Attorney- General  Contended  That  The  Scheme Is One  Whole   And The  Date Is  An  Integral  Part  Of The  Scheme  And The  Government Would Not Have Enforced The Scheme, Devoid  Of  The Date, And The Date Is Not  Severable  From  The Scheme As A Whole. Contended  The Learned Attorney-General  That The Court  Does  Not  Take  Upon Itself  The  Function  Of  Legislation, For Persons, Things  Or  Situations  Omitted  By  The  Legislature. It Was  Said  That When The  Legislature, Has  Expressly  Defined  The Class  With  Clarity And Precision, To Which  The  Legislation   Applies, It Would  Be  Outside  The  Judicial  Function  To  Enlarge  The  Class  And To Do So Is  Not  To  Interpret, But To  Legislate, Which  Is  The  Forbidden Field. Alternatively, It Was Also  Contended  That  Where  A  Larger Class, Comprising  Two  Smaller  Classes  Is Covered  By  A  Legislation, Of Which  One Part  Is  Constitutional, The Court Examines  Whether, The Legislation  Must  Be  Invalidated, As  A Whole  Or  Only, In  Respect  Of  The  Unconstitutional  Part. It Was Also  Said That,  Severance  Always  Cuts  Down  The  Scope Of  Legislation, But  Can  Never  Enlarge  It  And In The  Present  Case, The  Scheme  As  It  Stands  Would   Not  Cover  Pensioners, Such  As  The Petitioners, And If By  Severance, An  Attempt Is  Made  To  Include, Them In The  Scheme, It Is Not Cutting  Down  The  Class Or The  Scope, But, Would  Enlarge The  Ambit  Of The Scheme, Which  Is  Impermissible, Even  Under  The  Doctrine Of  Severability. In  This  Context, It Was  Lastly  Submitted,  That There  Is  Not  A  Single  Case,  In  India  Or Elsewhere, Where  The Court  Has  Included  Some  Category  Within  The  Scope  Of The   Provisions  Of  A  Law, To Maintain  The  Constitutionality.
Para 41:”The  Last  Submission, The  Absence  Of  Precedent,  Need  Not  Deter  Us  For  A  Moment. Every  New  Norm Of Socio-Economic  Justice, Every  New  Measure  Of  Social  Justice, Commenced For The  First  Time, At  Some  Point  Of  History. If At That  Time, It Is  Rejected  As  Being  Without  A  Precedent, The Law, As An  Instrument  Of  Social  Engineering  Would  Have Long  Since  Been  Dead  And  No  Tears  Would Have  Been  Shed. To   Be  Pragmatic  Is  Not  To  Be  Unconstitutional. In  Its  Onward  March,  Law, As  An  Institution  Ushers In  Socio-Economic  Justice. In Fact, Social  Security  In  Old  Age, Commended  Itself, In  Earlier  Stages, As A Moral  Concept, But, In  Course  Of  Time, It Acquired  Legal  Connotation. The  Rules Of  Natural  Justice, Owed  Their  Origin  To   Ethical  And   Moral  Code. Is There  Any  Doubt, That  They  Have  Become, The Integral  And  Inseparable  Part  Of  Rule Of Law, Which  Any  Civilised   Society   Proud? Can  Anyone  Be  Bold  Enough  To  Assert,  That Ethics And  Morality  Are Outside  The  Field  Of  Legal  Formulations? Socio-Economic  Justice, Stems  From  The  Concept Of  Social  Morality  Coupled  With  Abhorrence  For  Economic  Exploitation. And  The  Advancing  Society  Converts  In  Course   Of  Time, Moral  Or  Ethical  Code Into  Enforceable   Legal  Formulations. Over-Emphasis On  Precedent,  Furnishes  An Insurmountable  Road-Block  To  The  Onward   March  Towards  To  The  Promised Millennium. An  Over-Dose  Of  Precedent  Is  The  Bane  Of  Our  System, Which  Is  Slowly  Getting  Stagnant, Stratified  And  Atrophied. Therefore, Absence  Of  A  Precedent  On  This  Point  Need  Not  Deter  Us  At  All. We  Are  All  The  More  Happy,  For The Chance  Of  Scribbling  On  A  Clean  Slate”.

Para 42:  “If It  Appears  To  Be  Indisputable”, As  It  Does  To  Us, That The Pensioners   For The Purpose  Of  Pension  Benefits  Form   A  Class, Would Its  Upward  Revision  Permit, A  Homogeneous  Class  To  Be Divided  By  Arbitrarily  Fixing  An  Eligibility   Criteria,  Unrelated   To  The  Purpose    Of  Revision, And Would  Such  Classification  Be  Founded  On  Some  Rational  Principle? The Classification  Has   To  Be  Based, As  Is Well  Settled,  On Some  Rational  Principle, Must  Have  Nexus   To  The  Objects Sought  To  Be  Achieved. We  Have  Set Out  The  Objects, Underlying  The   Payment Of Pension. If  The State  Considered  It Necessary  To  Liberalise  The Pension  Scheme, We  Find  No  Rational  Principle  Behind  It, For Granting  The  Benefits  Only   To  Those, Who  Retired  Subsequent  To  That  Date, Simultaneously   Denying  The  Same  To  Those, Who  Retired  Prior  To  That Date. If The  Liberalisation  Was  Considered  Necessary  For  Augmenting  Social  Security In  Old   Age   To   Government  Servants, Then Those, Who Retired  Earlier  Can Not  Be  Worst  Of Than  Those, Who  Retire  Later. Therefore,  This  Division, Which  Classified  Pensioners, Into  Two  Classes  Is  Not  Based  On  Any  Rational  Principle, And  If  The  Rational  Principle Is, The One Of Dividing The   Pensioners, With  A  View  To  Giving  Something  More, To  Persons, Otherwise  Equally  Paced, It Would  Be  Discriminatory. To Illustrate, Take  Two  Persons, One  Retired Just  A  Day  Prior, Another  A  Day,  Just  Succeeding  The  Specified  Date. Both  Were  In  The  Same  Pay Bracket, The Average  Emolument  Was  The  Same, And Both  Had  Put  In  Equal  Number  Of  Years  Of  Service. How  Does A Fortuitous  Circumstance  Of  Retiring  A  Day  Earlier, Or A  Day  Later Will  Permit, Totally  Unequal  Treatment  In The  Matter Of   Pension. One  Retiring  A  Day  Earlier  Will  Have  To  Be  Subject  To  A Ceiling  Of  Rs.8100/- P.A. And Average  Emoluments  To  Be  Worked  Out, On  36 Months’  Salary, While The Other  Will   Have  A  Ceiling  Of  Rs.12,000/- P.A.   And   Average  Emoluments  Will  Be    Computed  On  The  Basis  Of  Last  10 Months’  Average. The Artificial  Division  Stares  Into  Face, And Is Unrelated  To  Any  Principle,  And Whatever  Principle, If There  Be  Any, Has  Absolutely  No  Nexus  Sought  To  Achieved  By  Liberalising The  Pension  Scheme. In Fact,  This  Arbitrary  Division  Has Not  Only  No  Nexus  To The  Liberalised  Pension  Scheme, But, It  Is  Counter-Productive  And Runs  Counter  To The  Whole  Gamut  Of  The  Pension  Scheme. The  Equal  Treatment  Guaranteed,  In  Article  14  Is Wholly  Violated, In As  Much  As, The  Pension  Rules,  Being  Statutory  In  Character, Since  The  Specified  Date, The  Rules  Accord, Differential  And  Discriminatory  Treatment To  Equals  In  The  Matter  Of  Computation  Of  Pension. A  48 Hours’ Difference  In  Retirement  Would  Have  A  Traumatic  Effect. Division  Is  Thus,  “Both   Arbitrary”  And  “Unprincipled”. Therefore,  The  Classification  Does  Not  Stand  The  Test  Of  Article  14.”

Para 43:”Further    The  Classification  Is, Wholly  Arbitrary”, Because, We  Do Not  Find  A  Single  Acceptable  Or  Persuasive  Reason, For  This  Division. This Arbitrary Action  Violated  The  Guarantee  Of  Article  14.The  Next  Question  Is—
“What  Is  The  Way  Out?”

Para 44: “The  Learned  Attorney  General  Contended   That The  Scheme  Is To  Be  Taken  As   A  Whole   Or Rejected  As   Whole And The  Date From Which  It Came  Into  Force  Is  An  Integral  And  Inseparable  Part  Of  The  Scheme”. The  Two  Sub-Limbs  Of The  Submissions  Were That—
1.”The Court Can  Not  Make  A  Scheme,  Having  Financial  Implications, Retro-Active”, And--------- 

2.”This  Court  Can  Not  Grant  Any  Relief  To  The Pensioners, Who  Retired  Prior  To  A  Specified  Date”, “Because, If More  Persons  Divide  The  Available  Cake”,  “The  Residue  Falling  To  The  Share Of  Each, Especially, To  Those  Who  Are   Likely  To  Benefitted  By  The  Scheme Will  Be   Comparatively   Smaller,  And  As  They  Are  Not  Before  The  Court, No  Relief  Can  Be  Given  To  The  Pensioners.”                                        
TO  BE  CONTINUED.