Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Adv N Pradeepkumar

Para 45:”Let Us Clear One Misconception. The Pension Scheme Including The Liberalised Scheme Available To The Government Employees, Is Non-Contributory In Character. It Was Not Pointed Out That There Is Something Like A Pension Fund. It Is Recognised As An Expenditure, And It Is Voted And Budgeted Every Year. At Any Given Point Of Time There Is No Fixed Or Pre-Determined Pension Fund, Which Is Divided Amongst Eligible Pensioners. There Is No Artificially Created Fund Or Reservoir From Which Pensioners Draw Pension Within The Limits Of The Fund, And The Share Of Each Being Co-Extensive With The Available Fund. The Payment Of Pension Is A Statutory Liability Undertaken By The Government And Whatever Becomes Due And Payable Is Budgeted For. One Could Have Appreciated This Line Of Reasoning Where There Is A Contributory Scheme And A Pension Fund From Which Alone Pension Is Disbursed. That Being Not The Case, There Is No Question Of Pensioners Dividing The Pension Fund, Which, If More Persons Are Admitted To The Scheme, Would Pro-Rata Affect The Share. Therefore, There Is No Question Of Dividing The Pension Fund. Pension Is Liability Incurred And Has To Be Provided For In The Budget. Therefore, The Argument Of Division Of A Cake, Larger The Number Of Sharers, Smaller The Share, And Absence Of Residue, And Therefore By, Augmentation Of Beneficiaries, Pro rata Share Is Likely To Be Affected And Their Absence Making Relief Impermissible, “Is An Argument Born Of Desperation”, “And Is Without Merits”, “And Must Be Rejected As Untenable”.

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         Para 45:”Let  Us Clear  One  Misconception. The Pension  Scheme  Including  The  Liberalised   Scheme Available   To  The Government  Employees, Is Non-Contributory  In Character. It Was  Not  Pointed  Out   That  There Is Something  Like  A  Pension Fund. It Is Recognised  As An Expenditure, And  It Is  Voted  And  Budgeted  Every  Year. At  Any Given  Point Of Time There Is  No  Fixed  Or Pre-Determined  Pension  Fund, Which Is Divided  Amongst  Eligible  Pensioners. There   Is No Artificially  Created  Fund Or  Reservoir  From  Which  Pensioners  Draw Pension  Within  The  Limits  Of  The  Fund,  And  The Share  Of  Each   Being  Co-Extensive  With  The Available  Fund. The Payment  Of Pension Is A Statutory  Liability  Undertaken   By  The  Government   And Whatever  Becomes  Due  And  Payable  Is  Budgeted  For. One  Could  Have  Appreciated  This  Line  Of  Reasoning  Where  There   Is A Contributory  Scheme And  A  Pension  Fund  From  Which Alone   Pension  Is   Disbursed. That Being  Not  The  Case, There  Is   No  Question  Of  Pensioners  Dividing  The  Pension  Fund,  Which, If  More   Persons  Are  Admitted  To The  Scheme, Would  Pro-Rata   Affect  The  Share. Therefore, There  Is  No Question  Of  Dividing  The  Pension  Fund. Pension  Is Liability  Incurred  And  Has  To  Be  Provided  For  In  The  Budget. Therefore, The  Argument Of  Division  Of A Cake, Larger The  Number   Of Sharers, Smaller  The  Share, And  Absence Of  Residue, And  Therefore  By, Augmentation  Of  Beneficiaries, Pro rata   Share  Is Likely  To  Be  Affected  And Their  Absence   Making  Relief  Impermissible, “Is An  Argument  Born  Of  Desperation”,  “And Is Without  Merits”,  “And Must  Be  Rejected    As  Untenable”.
Para 46:”By  Our Approach  Are  We  Making  The  Scheme  Retroactive? The Answer Is  Emphatically In The  Negative.Take  A Government Servant, Who  Retired  On  April 1, 1979.He Would Be Governed   By  The Liberalised  Pension  Scheme. By That Time  He  Had Put  In  Qualifying  Service Of 35  Years. His Length Of Service Is A Relevant  Factor  For Computation Of Pension. Has The Government  Made It Retroactive,  35  Years  Backwards, Compared To The  Case Of  Government  Servant Who  Retired  On March, 30, 1979? Concept  Of  Qualifying   Service  Takes  Note  Of  Length Of  Service. Is It  Retroactive  For  35  Years, For One And Not Retroactive  For A Person  Who  Retired  Two  Days  Earlier. It  Must  Be Remembered   That  Pension Is  Relatable To Qualifying  Service. It Has    Correlation  To  Average  Emoluments  And The  Length   Of Service.
     Any  Liberalisation  Pro Tanto  Retroactive  In  The  Narrow  Sense  Of  The  Term .Otherwise, It Is Always  Prospective. A Statute  Is Not Properly  Called  A  Retroactive  Statute, Because A Part Of  The  Requisites  For  Its  Action  Is  Drawn  From A Time, Antecedent  From  Its  Passing.(See Craies On Statute  Law).Assuming  The  Government  Had  Not  Prescribed  The  Specified  Date And Thereby  Provided  That  Those  Retiring  Pre And Post The Specified  Date, Would All  Be Governed  By The Liberalised  Pension  Scheme, Undoubtedly  It Would  Be  Both  Prospective  And  Retroactive. Only  The  Pension Will Have To  Be Recomputed  In  The Light  Of  The Formula Enacted  In The Liberalised  Pension Scheme  And Effective   From  The Date, The  Revised  Scheme   Comes  Into  Force. And Beware  That It Is Not A New  Scheme , It Is Revision  Of  Existing  Scheme. It Is Not A New  Retiral  Benefit. It Is Upward  Revision Of  An  Existing  Benefit. If It  Was A New  Concept, A New  Retiral  Benefit, One  Could  Have  Appreciated  An  Argument, That Those  Who  Have  Already  Retired  Could Not  Expect  It .It Could  Have  Been  Urged  That It Is An Incentive  To  Attract  The Fresh  Recruits. Pension Is A Reward  For  Past  Service. It Is Undoubtedly  A  Condition  Of  Service . But, Not An  Incentive To  Attract  New  Entrants,  Because, If  It Was  To  Be  Available  To  New  Entrants  Only, It Would Be  Prospective   At  Such  Distance Of  Thirty  Five  Years, Since  Its  Introduction. But, It  Covers  All  Those  In  Service  Who  Entered  Thirty  Five  Years  Back. Pension  Is  Not An Incentive  But  A  Reward  For  Past  Service. And The  Revision  Of  An Existing  Benefit  Stands  On  A  Different  Footing, Than  A New  Retiral  Benefit. And Even In  Case  Of  New  Retiral  Benefit, Of Gratuity  Under  The  Payment Of  Gratuity  Act, 1972, Past  Service  Was  Taken  Into  Consideration. Recall  At  This  Stage  The  Method Adopted  When  Pay  Scales  Are  Revised. Revised  Pay  Scales  Are  Introduced  From  A Certain Date. All  Existing  Employees  Are  Brought On To The  Revised  Scales, By  Adopting  A Theory  Of  Fitments  And  Increments  For Past  Service. In Other  Words, Benefit  Of  Revised  Scales Is Not Limited  To  Those, Who  Enter  Service, Subsequent  To  The  Date  Fixed  For Introducing  Revised  Scales, But  The  Benefit  Is Extended  To All  Those  In  Service  Prior  To  That  Date. This Is Just  And  Fair. Now, If  Pension  As  We  View It Is—
“Some  Kind  Of  Retirement  Wages  For  Past Service”, Can  It Be  Denied  To  Those  Who  Retired Earlier, Revised  Retirement  Benefits  Being  Available  To  Future  Retirees  Only. Therefore,  There  Is  No  Substance, In The Contention  That  The Court  By  Its  Approach, Would  Be  Making  The  Scheme  Retroactive, Because  It  Is  Implicit  In  Theory  Of  Wages”.
Para  47: “That  Takes  Us  To  The  Last Important  Contention  Of  The  Learned  Attorney  General. It Was  Urged  That  The  Date  From  Which  The Scheme  Becomes  Operative  Is An Integral  Part  Of  The Scheme  And  The  Doctrine Of  Severability  Can  Not  Be  Invoked. In  Other  Words, It  Was  Urged  That  The Date  Can  Not  Be  Severed  From  The  Main  Object  Of  The  Scheme. The  Government  Would  Have  Never  Offered The  Scheme  Unless  The  Date  Was  An  Integral  Part  Of  It. Undoubtedly  When  An  Upward  Revision  Is  Introduced, A Date  From  Which  It Becomes  Effective  Has  To  Be  Provided. It Is The  Event  Of  Retirement  Subsequent  To  The  Specified  Date, Which  Introduces  Discrimination, In  One  Otherwise, Homogeneous Class  Of  Pensioners. This  Arbitrary  Selection  Of  The  Happening  Of    Event, Subsequent  To  Specified  Date  Denies  Equality  Of  Treatment To  Persons  Belonging  To  The  Same  Class, “Some  Preferred”  “And  Some  Omitted”. Is This Eligibility  Qualification  Severable?”
Para  48:”It  Was  Very  Seriously  Contended, Remove  The  Event  Correlated  To  Date  And Examine  Whether  The  Scheme Is  Workable. We  Find  No  Difficulty  In  Implementing  The  Scheme Omitting  The  Event, Happening  After  The  Specified  Date  Retaining  The  More  Humane  Formula  For  Computation  Of  Pension. It  Would  Apply  To  All  The  Existing  Pensioners And  Future  Pensioners. In  The  Case  Of  The Existing Pensioners, The  Pension  Would  Have  To  Be  Recomputed  By  Applying  The  Rule  Of  Average  Emoluments  Set  Out In  Rule  34  And  Introducing  The Slab  System  And  The Amount  Worked  Out  Within  The  Floor  And  Ceiling”.
Para 49:”But,  We  Make  It  Abundantly  Clear  That  Arrears  Are  Not  Required  To  Be  Paid, Because,   To  That  Extent, The  Scheme  Is  Prospective. All Pensioners  Whenever  They  Retired  Would  Be  Covered  By  The  Liberalised  Pension  Scheme,  Because,  The Scheme Is A Scheme  For Payment  Of  Pension  To  A  Pensioner  Governed  By  The  1972  Rules. The Date Of Retirement Is  Irrelevant. But, The Revised  Scheme  Would  Be  Operative, From The  Date  Mentioned  In The  Scheme  And  Bring  Under Its Umbrella   All  Existing  Pensioners  And  Those  Who Retired  Subsequent  To  That  Date. In  Case Of Pensioners, Who  Retired  Prior  To  The  Specified   Date, Their  Pension  Would  Be  Computed  Afresh  And  Would  Be  Payable In Future, Commencing  From  The  Specified  Date. No  Arrears  Would  Be  Payable. And That Would  Take  Care  Of  The  Grievance  Of  The  Retrospectivity. In Our  Opinion, It Would  Make A Marginal  Difference In The Case  Of  Past  Pensioners, because , The  Emoluments  Are  Not  Revised.The   Last  Revision  Of  Emoluments, Was As  Per  The  Recommendation  Of  The  Third  Pay  Commission(Raghubar  Dayal Commission).If The Emoluments  Remain  The  Same, The Computation  Of  Average   Emoluments  Under The Amended  Rule  34  May  Raise  The  Average  Emoluments, The  Period  For  Averaging   Being  Reduced  From    Last  36 Months  To  Last  10 Months. The  Slab  Will   Provide  Slightly  Higher Pension, And  If  some  One  Reaches  The Maximum,  The Old  Lower  Ceiling  Will  Not  Deny  Him  What  Is  Otherwise  Justly  Due  On  Computation. The Words, “Who  Were  In  Service  On March  31, 1979  And Retiring  From  Service  On Or After  That  Date”, Excluding  The  Date  for Commencement Of  Revision  Are  Words  Of Limitation  Introducing The  Mischief  And Are  Vulnerable As Denying Equality  And  Introducing  An  Arbitrary   Fortuitous  Circumstance  Can  Be  Severed   Without  Impairing  The  Formula. Therefore,  There  Is  Absolutely  No  Difficulty  In  Removing   The  Arbitrary  And  Discriminatory  Portion  Of The  Scheme  And It Can  Be  Easily  Severed”.
Para:50: “There  Is Nothing  Immutable  About  The Choosing of An  Event  As  An  Eligibility  Criteria  Subsequent  to  A Specified  Date. If The Event  Is  Certain, But  Its  Occurrence  At A Point  Of Time is Considered  Wholly  Irrelevant  And Arbitrarily  Selected  Having No  Rationale  For  Selecting  It  And  Having  An  Undesirable  Effect  Of  Dividing  A  Homogeneous  Class  And Of  Introducing  Discrimination, The  Same  Can  Be  Easily  Severed And Set  Aside. While  Examining  A  Case, Under  Article  14, The  Approach  Is  Not:
“Either  Take  It  Or Leave  It”;
“The  Approach  Is  Removal  Of  Arbitrariness   And If That Can  Be  Brought  About, “By  Severing  The  Mischievous  Portion”, The  Court  ought  To Remove  The  Discriminatory  Part, Retaining  The  Beneficial  Portion. The  Pensioners  Do Not  Challenge  The  Liberalised  Pension  Scheme. They Seek  The  Benefit  Of It. Their  Grievance  Is Of The  Denial  To  Them  Of  The  Same, By  Arbitrary  Introduction  Of  Words  Of  Limitation  And  We  Find  No  Difficulty  In  Severing  And  Quashing  The  Same. This Approach  Can  Be  Legitimised  On  The  Ground  That  Every  Government  Servant  Retires. State  Grants  Upward  Revision  Of  Pension  From  A  Date. Event  Has  Occurred  And  Revision  Has  Been  Earned. Date  Is  Merely  To   Avoid  Payment  Of Arrears  Which  May  Impose  A  Heavy  Burden. If The  Date Is  Wholly Removed, Revised  Pension  Will  Have  To Be  Paid  From  The  Date  Of  Retirement  Of  Each  Pensioner. That  Is  Impermissible. The  State  Can  Not  Be  Burdened  With Arrears Commencing  From  The  Date  Of  Retirement  Of  Each  Pensioner. But, Effective  From  The  Specified  Date, Future  Pension  Of  Earlier  Retired  Government  Servants  Can  Be Computed  And  Paid  On  The  Analogy Of  Fitments  In Revised  Pay  Scales   Becoming  Prospectively  Operative. That Removes The Nefarious   Unconstitutional  Part  And  Retains  The  Beneficial  Portion. It Does  Not  Adversely  Affect  Future  Pensioners  And  Their  Presence  In  These  Petitions  Becomes  Irrelevant. But, Before  We  Do  So, We  Must  Look  Into  The  Reasons, Assigned  For  Eligibility  Criteria, Namely, “In  Service  On  The  Specified  Date And Retiring  After  That  Date”. The  Only  Reason  We  Could   Find  In  The Affidavit Of  Shri  Mathur  Is The   Following  Statement In Paragraph 5:
     “The  Date  Of  Effect  Of  The  Impugned  Orders  Has  Been Selected  On  The  Basis  Of  Relevant  And  Valid  Considerations”.
Para51: “We   Repeatedly  Posed  A  Question”, As  To :
  “What  Are   Those  Relevant  And  Valid  Considerations  And  Waited   For The  Answer   In Vain”.                                    
     We  Say So, Because, In  The  Written  Submissions  Filed  On  Behalf  Of  Union Of India, We  Find  Not  A  Single  Valid Or  Relevant  Considerations, Much  Less  Any  Consideration       Relevant  To  Selection  Of  Eligibility   Criteria. The  Tenor  Is:
“We  Select   The  Date” And  “It  Is  Unquestionable”
“Either   Take  It  Or  Leave  It  As  A Whole”.
     The  Only  Submission  Was  That –
    “The Date Is Not  Servable”  And  Some  Submissions  In  Support  Of  It”.