Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dear Editor,

It is both amusing and agonising to find that the scene has shifted from Sec 48 to 20% of the amount due to the pensioners as per the Interim Order of the SC dt 7-5-2015. Shri.Asthana says that unless you know what 100% is, you will never know what 20% is. Mr.Mahadevan argues that as per his calculation 100 divided by 5 is not 20 but only 1.3%. The ordinary onlooker-pensioners are bewildered and utterly confused. They are under the impression, perhaps, that the basics of arithmetic is going through an evolution - it is changing.

We filed two petitions, 6667/1997 for parity in DR between pre-1997 and post-1997 pensioners and 654/2007 for up-gradation of pension as and when the pay scales are revised for the in-service employee in the Jaipur H.C. In 2010, we also got a favourable judgment from Jaipur H.C. upholding our contention. We filed those writ petitions with the sole purpose of eliminating the glaring disparity in pension between the past and present pensioners and ensure a dignified living condition for the otherwise beleaguered pensioners. At that point of time, we never had the intention of wresting from the relevant court an order which was perfect in all respects; one which gave no room for any anomalies. That being so, I don’t understand the logic behind the Hyderabad group getting stuck up in the quagmire of the multifarious facets of calculations involved in the accuracy and correctness of the 20% arrears as ordered by the SC by their IR dt 7-5-2015. We criticised Mr.Sridharan, left ,right and center for only spearheading the DR issue and sidelining the up-gradation issue. He had his own reasons for doing it. Being the General Secretary of the Federation championing the cause of the Class-I Pensioners, we felt, he can't be only taking up the cause of a section of the members but all of them. In raising the issue of the correctness of 20% arrears deposited by LIC, we have, in fact, narrowed down the number of the beneficiaries. There is no clear indication anywhere in Mr.Murty's write-ups, that when they rake up this issue, the 20% arrears they are talking about includes the arrears of updated pension too. Otherwise, wouldn't it mean that he is also batting for Mr.Sridharan? If it is so, are they not leaving the entire 45000 pensioners in the lurch, and the post-1997 pensioners in particular.

From what Mr.Asthana has written, it looks like he doesn't want to get entangled in the 20% enigma and instead vote for 100% settlement of DR. It doesn't seem that he also expects the arrears to include the updated pension too. Both Mr.Asthana and Mr. Murty, when the SC Interim Order dt 7-5-2015 was delivered averred that the Order meant both DR as well as Up-graded pension arrears. A number of them, particularly Mr.Tyagi was very right in directing their ire against the Case Managers as they were shocked to find that they, the Case Managers, have lost direction and are paving the ground for prolonging the case to the positive detriment of our “Up-gradation Issue”. When Mr.Asthana filed a contempt petition in Jaipur H.C against LIC and when he raised the maintainability issue at a later stage in the SC, the other two, rightly so, bombarded him for unnecessarily stretching the case. By enticing the SC now to dwell on the micro-details of the methodology of calculation of arrears, are they not exactly doing it. It is still a mystery as to whether the Bench has any idea as to what this calculation is all about, especially on a previous occasion, when they made it amply clear that they are not concerned with the “computational facet” of the arrears .Everyone of us is aware that in any settlement there are bound to be anomalies and they can be treated as a separate issue and dealt with later on. Are we so sure that even if the SC rules in our favour with regard to the Up-gradation of pension, it will be on stage to stage basis as contemplated by us. The fact of the matter is that both in respect of DR and Up-gradation, even if we get a verdict in our favour, its implementation will throw up points of disagreement and dispute, more so when the implementing authority is LIC. So, is it not wise on our part to shelve the 20% –100% ENIGMA for the time being, focuss on securing a verdict from the SC, favouring in principle our claim and sort out the less important issues like the accuracy of calculations subsequently, if necessary, through legal means. This only can be an acceptable approach as far as the entire community of pensioners are concerned.


(To be continued)