January 20th and 29th have come and gone. As is customary, pensioners waited with bated breath to hear something positive and after knowing the outcome went into a stoic silence. The next item on the agenda viz: the “Blame Game” between Mr.Asthana and Mr.Murty reached dizzy heights. Each is blaming the other of colluding with LIC and torpedoing our case before the Supreme Court. The inevitable followed; the case was adjourned to 10th March. The less said about the contents and quality of the accusations levelled against each other by Mrs Asthana and Murty, the better.
Let them at least in this late hour understand that the pensioners are in the least concerned about, between the two, whose knowledge in law is better. We have no intention, whatsoever, to confer any specific honor on them by lauding their erudition and expertise in legal matters. We expect them to be honest, sincere and by using the resources at their command, deliver the goods and communicate in a language intelligible to the pensioners. All the three of the leaders, spearheading our legal battle have made mistakes: This is the perception of one about the other. The reality is that each one of them chose a legal procedure, independent of the other, thinking that it will yield the result they desired. It is also obvious that none of the three had any deleterious and malicious intentions against the pensioners and acted keeping that in their view. Some of their actions resulted in negativism and some emitted rays of positivity. Is it not their right to do that when we, the pensioners have entrusted them with the responsibility of handling our cases. Can we expect anything better when the three of them have decided to go their chosen path and sworn not to see eye to eye. I would request both Mr. Asthana and Mr.Murty to understand this reality and stop showering abuses at each other. Mr.Sridharan is doing the wisest thing by keeping a safe distance and a studied silence in the matter. Having left the majority of the pensioners in the lurch and placating 1200 of them with a paltry amount, this is, perhaps, the best posture for him to adopt! What I heard from their Vice-President was that Mr.GNS had no intention of furnishing the list of pensioners as demanded by LIC but had to finally succumb to their machinations as the incumbent pensioners pressured him to accept whatever was offered by LIC. It leaves us now with the rest of the two players to behave more responsibly and carry on the task cut out for them. I, therefore, fervently appeal to both to keep aside their bitter differences till such time a finality is reached in our case pending before the Apex Court.
Let me come to the Ominous Clouds hovering over our heads, as referred to by Mr. Murty. Before commenting on whether Mr.Murty’s remarks were right or misplaced, one would like to know the circumstances which led Justice.Dipak Mistra in making such an observation. Coupled with what he had said on similar lines on a previous occasion, it certainly gives us the impression that he is convinced that LIC has a point. This certainly makes us believe that in the limited opportunities that LIC got to present their arguments, their counsel has been able to convince the Judge that Govt’s approval of the Board Resolution is all that matters. In other words, our Sr.counsels have not succeeded in laying before the Judge a host of other legal points, favouring us, including the constitutionality. Therefore, THE OMINOUS CLOUDS are not a natural corollary of the stream of legal events we have passed through but our own creation.
I agree with Mr.Ramanathan in that we have a strong case, notwithstanding the brittleness of the often quoted Board Resolution and Justice Bhandari's judgment, the basic tenets involved in the core issue of our demand for equality before law will be sufficient ground for winning our case. Our judges, more often than not, swearing by the Constitution can never throw Articles 14 and 16 to the winds and proclaim a verdict vindicating LIC's stand that Sec.48 of the Insurance Act gains precedence over everything else in this dispute. But, the duty to articulate the essence of our Case and present such forceful arguments to convince the presiding Bench that it is so, lies entirely in the hands of our counsels. And the duty to equip and arm them sufficiently with all the legal ingredients to register a grand victory on 10th of March is in the hands of our leaders, particularly Mr.Murty and Mr.Asthana. Please, therefore, declare a long holiday to trading charges against each other and fully concentrate on ways and means of how to ensure that this happens. It also doesn't look proper criticising LIC all the time, including its Chairman. It is an open secret that generations of our former Chairmen, barring perhaps Mr.J.R.Joshi, have only toed the line of the Govt. and had their eyes fixed on the assignment, following after their normal retirement. When the number of pensioners is few, and LIC has the affordability to pay the enhanced liability arising out of revision of pension, the Govt., logically speaking, should not have any difficulty acceding to our request. That leaves us with only just one category of people, the Bureaucrats who are standing in the way. Let us understand the ground realities and conserve our energy by not unnecessarily blaming others for our own deficiencies and shortcomings.
Let not HISTORY REPEAT on 10th March and take us back to the regressive path we have been taking all these years.