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Monday, February 15, 2016

WHY RETIRED CLASS I OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION, HYDERABAD WAS CONSTRAINED TO DISAFFILIATE FROM THE FEDERATION?


FOR INFORMATION OF ALL LIC PENSIONERS
                                        15/2/2016

Shri G N Sridharan in his “rejoinder to Sri M S Murthy” dated 5th January 2016 addressed to all its units has tried to distort the reasons for the breakaway of the Hyderabad Association by citing the reasons as differing views on interpretation in the implications of LIC Board Resolution and the Jaipur HC Bench Order. No doubt we had strong differences with Mr GNS then and still continue to have them now. But it will be naïve to believe that such differences alone could have led to the disaffiliation action by the Association. There is no question of propagating our views or creating hype for an issue which ultimately has to be decided by the Apex Court. We were only sharing our conviction of the strength of our case based on the Board Resolution and Jaipur judgment. If our views are to be construed as propaganda or hype , the views expressed by Mr GNS to the contrary are no less than propaganda or attempted hype.Mr Sridharan is an eminent lawyer, but with all due respects to his legal stature, he is not a judge. When two lawyers –especially pitted on the opposite sides -do not agree with each other on the same issue the last word has to come from the Apex Court. Till then both the divergent views have the same amount of respectability.

Now coming to the disaffiliation of our Association, the reasons lie much deeper than what Mr GNS has made them out to be. The reason has got much to do with the style of functioning of Mr Sridharan in the matter of openness and transparency in approach while conducting the affairs of the Federation.

After the General Council Meeting held in Mumbai on 2nd December 2013,I continued as a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation. The General Secretary had issued a circular dt 24th Feb 2014 regarding the proposal for impleadment of the Federation in the CA No 1289/2007 which was received by me only after 15th March 2014.It was a circular asking for concurrence from EC members for filing an IA in the Supreme Court. But before receiving the letter from the General Secretary, I received a copy of the draft of the IA dt 6/2/2014 by email from another external source and I pointed out this serious lack of timely communication to Mr GNS by an e-mail and asked him to confirm the contents of the final IA which had already been filed in the first week of March 2014.Mr GNS did not either confirm the contents of the draft sent by me or share the copy of the final IA as desired by me. The contents of the IA in my view had a number of serious weaknesses and had I received a copy of the draft before the Federation deciding to file the application in the SC, I would have expressed my personal dissent. One of the major weaknesses was the prayer made in the Application that that the amounts due to the members as per the Delhi HC judgment may be directed to be paid in the High Court Registry as was done in the case of Jaipur petitioners. This prayer according to me was unacceptable when the payments made in Jaipur Registry were contested for their nonconformity with the HC judgment. Even though Mr Sridharan claimed that majority of EC Members had given their concurrence for the proposal, I don’ t think any EC member except those very close to him would have seen the draft of the IA if at all, much less known the contents.




So we discussed the whole matter in our Association’s EC meeting held on 18/3/2014 attended by senior retired officers of the pre-August 1997 category as special invitees. Even when the meeting was about to commence Shri GNS sent identical SMS text messages to the Secretary and another office bearer of our Association accusing Mr Sreenivasa Murty and me of resorting to bullying tactics. The EC took exception to this move and objectionable language used by him and passed a resolution with a call to Mr GNS to withdraw his allegations and express unconditional apology to our Association. As expected, there was no positive response from him.

The matter was again discussed in the Annual General Body meeting of our Association held on 20/4/2014 and a unanimous resolution was passed to request the General Secretary of the Federation to either withdraw the IA or suitably modify the same before it comes up for the next hearing so as to pray for the immediate implementation of the Delhi HC judgment in letter and spirit in the best interests of all Pensioners.

The General Secretary did not pay heed to our Association’s request. After waiting for a positive response from the Federation in vain, on 28/7/2014, I sent my letter of resignation as a member of the Executive Committee to the President of the Federation stating the reasons for my decision also mentioning that I did not want to be a party to the decision of the Federation to pursue the IA in the Supreme Court which was detrimental to the interests of all the pensioners.

As there was no constructive response to our resolution in the AGM of20/7/2014, in an Extraordinary General Body Meeting held on 3/8/2014,it was felt necessary to oppose the prayer made in the I .A .No 3 filed by the Federation and it was felt not proper to oppose the same while remaining affiliated to the Federation. So the meeting unanimously resolved with considerable regret and pain to disaffiliate itself, with immediate effect, from the Federation.

After the disaffiliation an I A No 5 of 2014 on behalf of our Association was filed in the Supreme Court on 8/8/2014 opposing the I A No 3 of the Federation with prayers for implementation of the LIC Board Resolution dt 24/11/2001 in full and securing for both pre & post August 1997 retirees upgradation of pension with each wage revision provided to in-service employees.

While our Association was affiliated to the Federation, I had suggested to the General Secretary to share the addresses, contact numbers and email IDs of the EC members with other EC members so that there can be useful lateral communication among the EC members. Otherwise EC members were able to meet and interact with each other only during the yearly EC meetings or the biennial General Council meetings.Mr GNS was a believer in snail mail communication and made no secret of his allergy to email communication branding it as ‘email activism’. (May be he is lately using the email communications selectively to communicate to the members of the Federation).The result was that the Federation had a very weak communication process mostly regulated by the General Secretary only. This was another factor which was a matter of concern for our Association because many a time Federation news was received from sources other than the General Secretary sooner than from him.

Mr Sridharan has accused me of scuttling payment to pre- August 1997 retiree members of the Federation. My purpose in questioning the approach of Mr Sridharan was only to drive home the point that LIC was intending to pay the interim relief far short of their entitlement and by calling for a list of members by their letter dt 6/7/2015 laying down illegal criteria for eligibility of interim relief even while the Delhi HC had ordered benefits payable in rem to all similarly placed pensioners, LIC had in fact laid a trap to weaken the pensioners’ case in the Supreme Court. The amount paid to about 1200 pensioners was dismally short of 20% of the amount due under the impugned judgment ordered by the Apex Court. If it was not a pittance, was it a bonanza? It is quite another matter that the pensioners who got the IR (with no supporting calculations) are rightly satisfied that they got something instead of nothing and happily contributed Rs 4 lks to the Legal Fund. But by acquiescing in the action of LIC in not only paying a legally inadequate amount and that too to only about 5% of the eligible pensioners, has not the Class I Retirees’ Federation displayed a narrow focus compromising on the interests of the fraternity of pensioners at large ? What have the family pensioners of deceased members got besides presumably the arrears due to the deceased pensioners after a cruel recovery of family pension if at all? The Federation owes a factual explanation to its members and family pensioners of its deceased members on payment of interim relief on the family pension arrears received by any of them. If no family pensioner has got it, even those who are spouses of the deceased members of the Federation will not forgive the Federation, not to speak of the collective group of family pensioners of LIC at large.

It is now for the members of the all the affiliated units of the Federation to objectively come to an assessment on whatever has been alleged by their General Secretary.

I am circulating this response to all in my mailing list as I consider all the above facts important to be in the knowledge of every pensioner and family pensioner to the extent possible to enable them to judge things in the proper perspective.


(STATEMENT ISSUED BY CH MAHADEVAN)