The recent order by the Apex Court reminds me of the SNAKE AND LADDER game whereby we have to start afresh to fight for our cause of 100% DR neutralization and updation of pension .The aura of the confidence created by the orders of the THREE HIGH COURTS has been taken away by the Apex Court .How ever the Hon. Judge encourages the septuagenarians to fight another round of litigation in the Delhi High Court on the issue of the Constitutional validity of para 3A of Annexure IV to Rule 37 , and the issue of updation of pension to the Post Aug.97 retirees and other matters.CAN WE FIGHT AND FIGHT TO WIN .
The court accepted the submissions of Assistant Solicitor General that the Single Judge and the Division Bench committed illegality in deciding the issue of Law.(para13).The Hon. Judge stated “the thrust of the matter is whether approval of Govt. is necessary. Sri Nidesh Gupta drew our attention to Rule 55. (para14).On scanning the rule the court observed “ we are absolutely clear that it does not confer power on the Chairman to issue instructions that can travel beyond the Rules. The Board is not authorised to take the decision on matters which are in the domain of the rule making Authority. A perusal of Sec48 makes it crystal clear that conferment of benefit either pension or ancillary thereto has to be conferred by the Rules and such rules are to be tabled before the parliament. It is our considered opinion that when there are no rules no benefit can be granted on the basis of Resolution .This being the legal position the H.C could not have held to the contrary on the basis of the concession given by the counsel for GOI” (para15).. Having stated so in all possibility we could have proceeded to record the conclusion, but a significant one the controversy does not see the sunset with such immediacy.(para16). Thank God and the Hon. Judge. Again by para 23 it was held “regard being had to the piquant situation we are inclined to set aside the orders passed by the three H.Cs and transfer the Writ Petitions from Rajasthan ,Pun &Haryana to H.C of Delhi to decide the Constitutional validity of para 3A of the appendix IV to the rules as argued by Sri Panchu and also deal with the cases of the pensioners who have retired after cut off date to consider the contentions raised by Mr. Guptha and other contentions to be raised .“We may clarify we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case except that the resolution could not become operative unless it was conferred the status of a rule as provided under Sec.48”. So far so good we obtained fresh lease to fight the case of pre and post Aug.97 pensioners.
The S.C at the very out set observed” the present picture is not a happy one L.IC at one point of time was enthusiastic to confer certain benefits on the respondent employees may be without appreciating the legal nuances .Its action instilled a CONCRETE HOPE in thousands of employees.(para2).Again in (para26) the court dealt with the HOPE.“ the respondents harbored hope. This is not unfounded in as much as the revisions in pension were earlier made by issue of certain circulars issued by chairman in exercise of powers conferred under the rule55. Whether the hope was reasonable or not need not be commented upon, but the fact remains that certain respondents are septuagenarians and they have to fight another round of litigation in the H.C. We feel the pain while remanding the matter but we have no option as the pleadings are not adequate as it should have been while assaulting constitutional validity of a provision. It is settled law that he who assails the constitutional validity of statutory provision of a rule has to specially assert the grounds for such challenge.
The purpose of saying all this is as the Counsel agonizingly contend that the amount of pension is very paltry and it is difficult to sustain in the present day . The L.I.C SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRACIOUS ENOUGH TO RECOGNISE THE SERVICES RENDERED BY THEM AND THE G.O.I SHOULD HAVE COME WITH AN AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE WHEN THE RESOLUTION WAS PASSED BY THE L.I.C. We have already adjudicated the said facet but we are remanding the matter to the High Court on a different count.” The I.R @40%to all similarly placed pensioners is subject to final out come of the case at Delhi H.C.
Thus the S.C blew hot and cold, held that without the creation of rules by the rule creator ,the G.O.I , benefits can not be given to the pensioners.The board resolution is not valid because of non approval by G.O.I. The orders of the three H.C are set aside. If we recollect justice Singhvi dismissed the SLP of L.I.C and the orders of the 3 H.Cs not stayed . Now these orders set aside.Where do we stand now.How to fight more so when the rules are very clear . What is the power of the corporation to amend rules 36,37,39 as per G.O 353(E) Dt.22-6-2000. What is the scope and operation of rule 55A-power to relax.Who has to implement Rule 56 which confers to the pensioners the benefits available to the central govt. employees.The note of the ED(p) as recorded by the S.C mentioned in para (8) explains the hardship faced by the pensioners and the management and suggested remedies. The L.IC should have amended the rules of D/R as per the notification dt.22-6-2000.Yet L.I.C passed the resolution and sought approval of G.O.I.The G.O.I should have acted as perrule55A. Similarly rule 56 should have been implemented by L.I.C on its own as the rule does not envisage clearance by G.O.I.Rule 36, and 55B provide for updation of pension.It is a fact that the L.I.C has been utilizing the amending power as provided in the G.O dt.22-6-2000.L.I.C also invoked rule 56 in 2012 to pay family pension when a pensioner was missing as per the Central Govt. rules.Sec. 48 can not take away the constitutional rights , property rights and the human rights of the pensioners.The L.I.C &G.O.I have to follow the rules . So it is time to high light the points and ask for the review of the matter by S.C.Can we expect justice at Delhi H.C when L.I.C brings to the notice of the H.C the comments and discussion of the points dealt by the S.C in their order dt.31-3-2016.
V.S. PRAKASARAO VISAKHAPATNAM.