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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

M SREENIVASA MURTY



If I may supplement what was elaborately explained by Sri Mahadevan, with a view to allay the apprehensions of Mr JMA and others, I share my thoughts which are as follows:

I foresee one of two possible developments on 18th Nov. As we are ‘ordered’ to be on top of the list, our cases are sure to reach for hearing by about 11.00 or 11.30 AM. The best scenario we should hope and pray for is that the Solicitor General of India, ceremonially retained by LIC, would show up and commence his arguments in support of LIC’s CAs. Alternatively (and more likely) LIC may suggest that the Union of India’s SLPs are taken up first and argued by the Government’s Sr standing Counsel. That is more likely because it was exactly the point raised by LIC on 7 May 2015 to ask for long adjournment and the Counsel had even said that its own CAs have a direct bearing on the submissions of UoI’ in its SLPs.


So, if either UoI or LIC, were to commence the arguments earnestly, there will be no need and no scope for any of the Respondents to intervene and raise the issue of LIC’s non-compliance of the interim directions to pay 20%. On the contrary, if the arguments do not commence in support of the CAs or the SLPs, for any reason whatsoever and even if a short adjournment is asked for by the Appellants and granted by the Court, is it correct for all of us to pretend as if there was no defiance by LIC of the interim directions for payment of 20%? The moment it is known (God forbid) that the arguments by LIC and/or UoI are not taking place, the Court itself my enquire ‘what happened to the interim directions’? Readers may recall that although no fresh instructions were issued on 30 Sept on the IR payment, the Bench had also clearly declared that the Interim Directions remain unchanged.


My emphasis on the continuing relevance of the interim directions to pay 20%, draws its strength from a completely different angle. I hope nobody disputes if I say that LIC honoured the interim directions of the Apex Court more in deliberate breach than by way of compliance. It had the gumption to brazenly first ignore the directions for long after the six weeks’ time had ended and later make a mockery of the Directions by asking the Delhi Petitioners for a list of its members etc., Why did it happen and how was that possible? Because barring the Chandigarh’s poor cousins (who could not afford the services of a Senior Counsel) the other two Respondents chose to acquiesce and remain silent (for their separate strategic reasons and with apparently questionable intent).

I am aware of my limitations in convincing the other stakeholders that the interim directions to pay 20% covered payment to ALL the Pensioners and that it included the up-gradation component also. But our cause suffered a body blow, no thanks to our own friends who have different agenda dearer to them.

So if an occasion arises and an opportunity opens up on 18 Nov, should or should not the Jaipur & Delhi groups take to the Court’s notice how LIC had virtually disobeyed the interim directions to pay 20%? In my view they should, as such an exercise has no adverse bearing on nor is it going to delay the final proceedings only on that account.

Not exposing LIC’s deliberate mischief before the Court will be a serious blunder and it may prove a wrong strategy also. No Court would take it kindly if it is convinced that its orders are flouted so nonchalantly by a Party that too a corporate body like LIC. And in our case, the task (to establish that LIC did not pay 20% even to those admittedly eligible to be paid) is so easy that we can ill afford to let it defy and still go scot free. .


In my view therefore 20% & 100% are NOT 
mutually exclusive
One can (should) pursue the former without 
risking the latter.