I plead guilty that in the Ist Part, I put the cart before the horse by directly approaching the subject proper. I mean, I must have started by congratulating our Editor for the superb manner in which he covered the court proceedings on 16th. We also owe our gratitude to Mr.Murty for the series of messages sent to the Blog from Delhi, encompassing the court-room happenings. His summing-up, after the hearing was over, deserves special mention.
Since sending my earlier Post I happened to see the correction regarding our first writ filed at Jaipur H.C. by Mr.Lakshminarayanan. I stand corrected, though, in essence, the aspect of discrimination and disparity between the pre-1997 and post –1997 remain unaltered. The 20% Enigma is a real one and not the result of a flight of imagination. I have no doubt in my mind that if at all our case is taken up on 30th of this month, LIC is going to repeat and maintain that the amounts deposited by them in the Registries of the respective HCs are the correct one, according to their method of calculation. To support their claim, they may also quote the arrears paid to the members of the Federation, which was meekly accepted by them. Then, it is for the Hyderabad group to bring to the notice of the Bench the fallacies in their arguments and establish the correctness of their calculations. In so far as no worthwhile hearing has taken place with regard to our core issues, don’t they think that the 20% conundrum will hijack both the Up-gradation and the DR issue in its totality? It will be time again for the Jaipur and Hyderabad camps to indulge in their favourite game of blaming each other for the delay.
Let me now try to answer some of the questions raised by Mr.M.S.Murty in his Post to PC dt. 19-3-2016. They are as follows:
Question: Assuming that SC dismisses all LIC appeals and the SLPs by UOI and consequently the Jaipur judgment is upheld, how does anybody visualise LICs compliance on up-gradation. And correct DR formula for pre-1997 retirees?
My Answer: I still believe that we have not completely lost our respect for the judiciary. Any Order emanating from the Apex Court should be and will be implemented by LIC, may be,perhaps, by creating temporary hurdles in the process. Neither LIC nor the GOI cannot openly challenge or defy the Order. Are we trying to say that we have no faith in the SC ? Once the final verdict is out, who knows that both GOI and LIC may sense the situation and implement the SC Order as early as possible.
Question: What compels LIC to act differently from what it is doing now?
My Answer: We are responsible, to a large extent, for the way both GOI and LIC are behaving now? When the 7th May Order was fraught with ambiguity, what prevented our case managers from seeking a clarification from the SC as to whether the 20% arrears referred to DR or it included Updated pension arrears also, and whether the 20% arrears of DR would satisfy the methodology adopted by Mr. Mahadevan in calculating it? This created the mayhem subsequently witnessed by us in the ridiculous pursuit of the 20% arrears of the dues to the pensioners, as per the impugned H.C. Order.
Question: How will the benefit go to all AIRIEF members not to talk of other 40,000 pensioners? Do they invoke Delhi Order? At what stage?
My Answer: How is the above poser a justification for raising the inaccuracy factor involved in the calculation of 20% arrears?. The Delhi Order, if I have correctly understood, pertains only to all the members of the Federation, as evidenced by the Federation to the fullest satisfaction of LIC. That is perhaps the reason why the ‘in rem’ of Delhi Order got confined to the Federation members and not all pensioners. If it be so, how can AIRIEF invoke the Delhi Order? (If I am factually wrong, I am amenable to correction).
Once bitten, twice shy. From our experience in the past it is natural for Mr. Murty to have raised the above doubts. But how on earth it justifies anybody deviating from our core issues and accord overwhelming importance to the accuracy of 20% calculation of the arrears? How it will be “..suicidal for the fraternity of LIC pensioners to isolate the 20% IR as paid by LIC from the 100% due to them...” Mr.Mahadevan, is on course in taking up the cause of the family pensioners. We have a case here and in the interest of the surviving members of the pensioners, we have a moral duty to take it up with LIC and see that their benefits are on par with what is paid to the RBI family pensioners or even better. This is altogether a different issue and NOW is not the time to take it up, bringing in the 20% ENIGMA? Why mix Oranges with Apples?
On the other hand, what really matters right now is, SECURE SUFFICIENT TIME FOR THE HEARING, WHEN THE COURT REGISTRY SAYS OUR CASE IS NO 1 ENSURE THAT IT IS REALLY NO.1 AND NOT 1 AFTER ALL THE MISC.CASES ARE TAKEN UP. HIRE THE SERVICES OF SUCH EFFICIENT COUNSEL WHO ALSO HAS A CERTAIN RAPPORT WITH THOSE WHO MATTER IN THE SC AND LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST ACCORD PRIORITY TO UP-GRADATION, WHICH ONLY CAN BRING SUCCOUR TO ALL THE PENSIONERS.
The community of LIC pensioners, today is a hapless lot. They don’t enjoy the support of the Govt. nor even the Institution for which they gave their sweat and blood for 30/40 years. They are already suffering from mounting medical expenses and multifarious age-related problems. It is almost two decades since we started the legal battle. Even after the case has reached its last stages, final verdict from the Apex Court is eluding them. Whatever a few of them received as arrears is definitely not what they should have. It is out of desperation, perhaps, they had to take the ignominious decision of accepting it. It does not serve any purpose our shedding crocodile tears as and when one of them bid good-bye to this world. We have a duty to set aside our personal egos and a craving for fulfilling our pet whims and fancies and do everything in our power to see that they get justice – justice without any further delay, a delay created and nurtured by us.