Shri M.V.Venugopalan’s write up is a wakening call to decipher some gray arrears which would lead to animated arguments when the Bench sits on March 10. Anticipating any eventualities we should be fully prepared. Shri MVV has said that until such time the Government has disapproved the Board’s resolution we cannot call SEC 48 as draconian and the Government has not done it so far.
Brushing up my memory I have to say that in the course of earlier arguments before the court it was averred by the UOI that the Board resolution is not mandatory but could only be deemed as a recommendation and therefore they are not bound by it. What UOI said has no legal sanctity in the light of what HON Justice Bandari said in his judgment : ‘ In the facts and circumstances of the case I am of the view that the resolution passed by the Board of LIC does not need the approval of the Central Government thus the Corporation give effect to the resolution D/ 24-11-2001.
This is one gray area which would come up for adjudication by SC. While it is crystal clear that in GOI ‘s own submission while framing our pension rules that where a matter is concerned of public interest GOI’s permission is required and in other matters where no public interest is involved it is well within LIC’s domain to act and one such matter is the removal of the anomaly in DR and pension upgradation at every wage revision. The very SEC 48 which has raped the LIC autonomy with the blessings of the Parliament has to be scrutinized by the apex court as to its applicability in our case where no public interest is involved and whether SEC 48 has to be scrapped as it is unconstitutional.
Bouquets to Shri A.S.Rmanathan who has cleverly pointed out that every law enacted by the Parliament shall not be in conflict with the constitutional provision and every rule made by the Government shall be within the parameter of the law relating to which the rules are made. Such rule should also confine to the provisions of the constitution. SEC 48 suffers from this infirmity.
Forgetting for a moment this SEC 48, the IDES of March and what not let us recollect what Justice Krishna Iyer in his inimitable style wrote in his letter D/July 17 2010 to Pranab Mukherjee highlighting the plight of the LIC pensioners : “ Pensioners cannot be classified on the basis of retirement as it does not satisfy the test of Article 14 of the Constitution ………… May I disclose to you the pathetic condition of a class of people arbitrarily alienated from the beneficial stream of pensioners in LIC. What is arbitrary is unconstitutional as the CONSTITUTION BENCH in the SC has held in the Maneka Gandhi’s case
……..Again in a weighty judgment in Nakara V UOI SC has observed that the date of variation cannot be the basis of differential pension. ………The older the age of the pensioner greater the need for liberal pension since age invites infirmity. LIC pensioners are one integrated group and cannot be divided into different classes. “
The Court has to be told that it is a blatant disregard of GOI’s own commitment that in matters relating to PENSION AND OTHER BENEFITS in respect of which no express provision has been made in these rules shall be governed by the corresponding provision contained in the Central Civil Services Pension rules of 1972 or Central civil services commutation of pension rules of 1981. Were it to be so Pension in LIC ought to have been revised when wages were revised.
This note may sound to those regular visitors to LIC Pensioners Chronicle as old wine in new bottle. However Wine guzzlers know older the wine greater its efficacy.