I find the recent write-ups of Sarvasri CHM, SN, ASR and MSM very interesting. As victims of the Indian Judicial Process we need patience
Our Pension rules are framed U/S 48 so have the force of law. Some amendments were made to these rules over the period. One of the important one is Rule 55A (Power To Relax) where by the G.O.I is bound to remove the hardships faced by the pensioners because of these rules.
The G.O.I by their G.O Dated 22-6-2000 empowered the L.I.C to amend the rules of pension relating to Minimum Pension(Rule 36), D/R , and Family Pension.The E.D(personnel) pointed out certain hardships in the implementation of Rules of D/R , suggested 100% D/R nutralisation to Pre Aug.97 Retirees and also Updation of Pension. The LIC Board considered the note of the E.D and passed the resolution on 20-12-2001 to provide the benefit of 100% nutralisation of D/R and Updation of pension.
L.I.C was empowered by June 2000 notification to amend Rules on Updation of pension under Rule 36 (minimum pension) and the D/R. Thus L.I.C could have proceeded with the implementation of the Board Resolution especially in view of the Rule 56 (Residuary Provision).Yet , may be, as a measure of abundant caution the L.I.C sought the clearance from the G.O.I .The G.O.I as per Rule 55A should have acted to give clearance to the Resolution. But the G.O.I put the matter in cold storage.
So this is a clear case of flouting the Rules which have the force of law by the creator of the Rules( G.O.I) and the persons responsible to implement the Rules that is the L.I.C Management. The L.I.C which was empowered by G.O.I to amend the rules is afraid to amend the Rules. The G.O.I did not act on Rule 55A.So both G.O.I and L.I.C paid scant respect to the Statutory Rules which is an offence, dereliction of duty by public servants which put the pensioners to untold misery , hardship and mental tension.
Justice Bhandari of the High Court of Rajasthan understood the matter , found the Rules are discriminatory and violative of the constitutional provisions. So directed L .I.C to implement the Board Resolution in a routine manner as per Sec.21 of the L.I.C Act. The basic function of any Management is to implement the Rules specially when they are aimed at the welfare of the retirees.So the Sec. 48 has no relevance here. This was confirmed by the rajasthan Bench and the Hon.Judges of the High Courts of P&H and Delhi.One of them Justice Sikri was elevated to the Supreme Court.
On the face of it the L.I.C and Govt. are playing great mischief with the Rules.This aspect should be high lighted to gain sympathy of the Apex Court.Can Sec.48 be taken advantage by the Govt. to frame Rules in violation of the Constitution.Can Management which found the Rules very bad and wanted to improve upon them keep quite to the detriment of the pensioners despite the Orders of the various High Courts.Nay , but the matter is dragged to the Supreme Court by the L.I.C.
Further if we compare the provisions of the Rule 56 of L.I.C pension rules and the similar Rule of the SBI pension Rules the permission of G.O.I is not necessary for L.I.C where as the permission of G.O.I is necessary for the Bank.So L.I.C should have invoked Rule 56 to provide updation to the L.I.C retirees just on the lines of central govt Employees.So we have to expose the mischief played by the L.I.C /G.O.I combine though the rules are very clear to help the pensioners.
Another important aspect which the Management is taking advantage of is the dissensions and differences between pensioners organizations. we indulge in blame game even at the cost of depriving the benefits to the pensioners in general. The Jaipur Court did not disqualify the post Aug. ’97 retirees as petitioners. It did not declare that the Board Resolution is not to benefit them. L.I.C also did not take a stand that these petitioners are unfit to raise the dispute.But now wisdom donned on the L.I.C to take a stand that the Post Aug.97 retirees are not entitled to the benefits of the Resolution. Does it mean the Resolution is for only preAug.97 retirees. The organization which has no faith in the courts and which enjoys maximum membership of the retirees published two notes which the management took advantage off to deprive the post Aug. 97 pensioners. Similarly the organization that fought the case in Delhi H.C is more sympathetic to L.I.C than to their own members reired after Aug97. Similarly the organizations of the inservice employees are mere spectators to the foul game being played by the L.IC/G.O.I combine in the implementation of the Pension Rules. Will they keep quite if L.I.C violates the Rules to the disadvantage of inservice employees. Afterall the retirees were their past members who participated actively in the struggles launched by them. It is really very unfortunate situation for the retirees, especially those of the post Aug.97. In this back ground are we on firm ground to fight the L.I.C /G.O.I combine at the Apex Court .
I am at loss to understand why the Post Aug.97 petitioners at Rajasthan H.C remained silent without raising the matter before S.C complaining on the unreasonable stand taken by the L.I.C which deprived them the interim relief.Shall we have to accept the interpretation given by some pensioners’ Organisations that was taken advantage by the Management.
If Sec.48 is accepted as supreme there are many instances when benefits were given to the employees without invoking this Section. The regularisation of the Temporary Employees in L.I.C is an apt example in this regard.So why L.I.C is very particular on this Section and strangely the militant employees organisations are extending their tacit support in the matter. It is strange that the in service employees agitate for better wages and other benefits compared with their counter parts in the central and state Govt. and the other financial institutions ,ports ,Railways etc.It is public knowledge that the pensioners in these sectors enjoy Updation in their pension with each wage revision. But the organisations of the inservice employees of L.I.C do not want updation of pension for L.I.C retirees though the Pension Rules provide for updation. Further they try to explain the inadequacy of the pension fund to meet the burden of updation. So they want that L.I.C pensioners should get lesser pension than the pensioners of the central and state Govt. and others who enjoy the updation with each wage revision and also the junior retirees in L.I.C itself.T he recent experience of the pensioners of OROP clearly show the approach and attitude of the Govt. in providing updation . The Govt. is dragging its feet on the implementation of the orders of the Apex Court. So what is in store for L.I.C pensioners even if the case is decided favourable to the pensioners. Will the Govt allow L.I.C to respect the judiciary and the statutory Rules. What is the fate of the pensioner of the R.B.I and the Banks. It is time for L.I.C pensioners to think and take a decision to fight the POWERS THAT BE WHO ARE HELLBENT ON DEPRIVING THE PENSIONERS OF THE BENEFIT OF UPDATION. CAN WE GAIN THE ACTIVE SUPPORT OF THE HIGHLY MILITANT ORGANISATIONS OF OUR INSERVICE EMPLOYEES. CAN WE WORK OUT A UNITED PLATFORM OF THE PENSIONERS OF BANKS. GIC. LIC AND WORK OUT A STRATEGY TO ENSURE UPDATION OF PENSION FOR THE PENSIONERS OF THE PREMIER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT PROVIDE VERY GOOD FUNDS TO THE GOVT.